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Arlberg Railway

Hello!

My husband and I are planning to take the Arlberg Railway from Zurich to Salzburg. I bought expensive tickets that will get us on any train the day we arrive or the next day, in case our flight gets delayed or there are other issues. Is this necessary?Would I be okay cancelling the expensive tickets and just buying tickets when we arrive—which would be much cheaper? Do I really need reservations? Thank you in advance for your help.

Posted by
15638 posts

How much dd you pay? The walk-up price is 125 CHF pp Zurich airport to Salzburg using the Railjet from Zurich Hbf.

Posted by
24 posts

I paid $241.00 for two flexible tickets. Now, that doesn’t seem bad at all. At the time of booking, it was roughly $35.00 per standard ticket for a total of $70.00. I bought the flexible tickets. Thanks for your reply!

Posted by
15638 posts

Sounds right, Long distance trains operate like airlines these days. Buy a nonrefundable ticket far in advance and you get a big discount, but if you miss your train, the ticket is worthless and you'll have to buy another full fare ticket to get where you are going. So no point trying to refund the ticket, as it will be the same as the walk-up price.

BTW, if your ticket is from Zurich Hbf, you'll still need to buy tickets from the airport to the Hbf. 6.80 CHF each and there are trains about every 5 minutes.

Posted by
791 posts

Scenic, I hope you report back on your trip. This Railway route has been on my list for awhile. When do you travel? I was hoping to do this in winter.

Posted by
24 posts

Sam—our ticket has us leaving from Zurich Flughafen to Zurich HB. From there it goes to Salzburg. Is Zurich Flughafen near the airport? It is my husband and my first trip outside the US, so planning has been fun but a little challenging at times. Lol. Can’t wait!

Posted by
5214 posts

"Flughafen" means airport in German - a handy thing to know. This airport is conveniently in the airport. Follow the signs in the airport and walk to it.

Posted by
15638 posts

As far as seat reservations, hard to say, They are only 3 EUR pp when you buy at www.oebb.at. When you arrive and know which train you will be on, you can check the projected loading at www.sbb.ch/en.

Keep in mind that the train will change directions at Buchs SG, the last station in Switzerland. Zurich to Buchs, be on the left hand side of the train for views of the Zuerichsee and the beautiful Walensee. After Buchs, you will be on the right hand side of the train. Look out the window. You're in Liechtenstein. Cross that one off your bucket list. The right hand side is the best for the view of the mountains as the train climbs to the Arlberg Pass.

If one of you is squeamish about traveling "backwards", get seats facing each other over a table. Then you can switch when the train changes directions.

PS, you can take the first available train from Zurich Flughafen to Zurich Hbf. The Railjet to Salzburg leaves every 2 hours. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes at the Hbf to kill time waiting for your train to Salzburg (unless of course the timing ends up being quick).

Posted by
25 posts

Hi scenicwanderer! We have taken the same trip several times, once ending in Salzburg and twice on to Vienna. It is a very scenic trip!! Even on a cloudy day, it's wonderful. Have your camera ready. I have gotten such good pictures (if the windows are clean) that we enlarged some and have them framed in our home. There is nothing like the Swiss countryside-just beautiful! We have always taken the Railjet trains (purchasing our tickets in advance from the OBB website) and upgraded to Business class with seat reservations. It's our little splurge when taking this particular trip.

The train station is below the airport in Zurich. You shouldn't have any issues if you watch for the signage after you clear customs.

Hope you have an awesome 1st trip! Report back after you get home please to let everyone know how how your trip was!

Lynette

Posted by
24 posts

Thank you, Lynette. Do you know if it is possible to upgrade after I’ve already purchase tickets? I’ll definitely report back.

Posted by
15638 posts

Probably, but it will cost you another 91 CHF per person. 2nd class is perfectly comfortable. I only get 1st class if I can get a deal paying maybe 10 or 15 CHF more with advance purchase tickets. General rule, you pay 60% to 75% more for 1st class full fare tickets.

Posted by
25 posts

Hi again scenic-I believe you can upgrade after the fact. We have always purchased our tickets far enough ahead to get the "Sparschiene" (discount) tickets that OBB offers, so we get a great deal and then don't feel guilty about upgrading to business. And the upgrade cost is honestly not that much more for getting a quiet, more private trip. To each his own though. It's one of the splurges we give ourselves for a longer train ride-we don't travel in 1st class (or business) all the time (I wish)!! Enjoy your planning!

Lynette