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Connection Times

Hi, I'm travelling from Montreux, Switzerland to Munich. There is a connection in Brig with a nine minute time limit. I don't know how this station is laid out but I would think those in power would not schedule something like this without the possibilty of making the connection right? Also if anyone knows a better/quicker way for this journey please pass it on. It seems there are only three trains available for me on this day (August 21) with the last one arriving in Munich at 22:45.
Thanks

Posted by
12577 posts

Nine minutes is enough at Brig, but that is going the wrong way . You must be looking at RailEurope for schedules? Use the Swiss rail site SBB.ch ( or rail.ch) instead. You will see many options for that day, more than one each hour, starting in early morning. Going via Bern or Zürich instead of Brig will be faster. And Lee will likely explain how you can get discount tickets from Bahn.de for all or part of the way.

Posted by
110 posts

I plan on buying my ticket at the Montreux station. Will I be able to see all the options available?

Posted by
18064 posts

If you buy the ticket in Montreux, from the SBB counter, they will probably try to route you the long way, through Brig, since that is what I see on the SBB website for all the connections they offer. The German Rail website, on the other hand, shows faster routing through Lusanne. The very fastest routing, however, is the one shown by RailEurope, via Mulhouse and Strasbourg, and TGV from Strasbourg to Munich. RE only show one connection, leaving Montreux around 3 PM, getting to Munich after 9 PM. According to the SBB website, full fare, what you would pay if you wait until you're in Mountreux, would be 180 CHF, $212. Lola might know how to get a better fare with advance purchase from Swiss Rail. That fastest route from RailEurope is $147, according to them. Of course, you would purchase the ticket in advance from RE, and there are big penalties for not using it. As long as you are advance purchasing a ticket, get a "Savings fare" Europa-Spezial ticket from the Bahn. Those tickets start at €39, but the lowest prices for that route have already sold out and the Europa-Spezial offer is now €89 ($129). The Bahn emails you a .PDF file which you print as your ticket. If you return/exchange the ticket before the first day of validity, the penalty is only €15.

Posted by
110 posts

Lee, The RE train that leaves at 3:00 with one connection sounds like the one I would want. However if you go to the link I pasted below it does not show up in the schedule. Did I do something incorrect when entering my info?
Bob http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/schedules.htm?itemId=-1&cobrand=public&fn=fsScRequest&isAtocRequest=0&c=USD&rows=1&v=S&roundtrip=0&from0=Montreux&to0=Munich&deptDate0=08%2F21%2F2011&time0=anytime&nA=3&nY=0&nC=0&nS=1&noLock=1

Posted by
5266 posts

Raileurope is a commercial enterprise and shows train connections that are useful for Raileurope's ticket and pass sales; it generally disregards the other options. Use the DB site for good information.

Posted by
6898 posts

On the www.rail.ch website (Swiss), there are three initial entry lines. If you put Montreux in the From: window, Munich in the To: window and Lausanne in the Via: window, the system will route you via Lausanne, Zurich and Innsbruck. No Brig.

Posted by
12577 posts

I just put in Montreux and Munich, without any "via" and it showed the connections through Lausanne and Bern or Morges and Zurich, each taking a little over 7 hours to reach Munich. No Brig, which is out of the way. The Swiss rail site probably has a bias toward keeping you in Switzerland longer. You can find other routes (through France or entering Germany sooner) by cross-checking on Bahn.de, or use various entires under "via" to find others. Enter Romanshorn and you'll see the option that includes a boat journey across Lake Constance. The only discounts I can think of on SBB would be the city tickets at 60% off, which are between Swiss cities. There might be such a fare from Montreux to Bern or Zurich, or maybe not since there is a change on the way. I did not take the time to look for them. also, since 21 August is a Sunday, there might be applicable discounts for weekend travel, but again I did not check.

Posted by
110 posts

Thanks everyone. It appears a bit more complicated than I thought it would/should be.
Lola, what site did you use for your query? I'll try that one to see what I get.

Posted by
110 posts

I have to be doing something wrong. I used Montreux as a start and Munich as my destination and pulled up some ridiculous schedules with six and seven connections. This was on the SBB rail site.

Posted by
12577 posts

I used rail.ch which is the SBB site in English. I entered Montreux and "Munich" not the German spelling. Date 21.08.11 ( your travel date) and an early morning time. The routes that came up were all 2 or 3 changes with the exception of the 7:54 departure which has 5. The best one for morning times looks like the 10:19 which has 3 changes (Lausanne, Bern, Zurich) but takes the least time, 7 hours 9 minutes. I wonder if the results are computer specific? I am on a Mac.

Posted by
110 posts

Lola, I'll have to try the sire you used. I'm using a Mac as well.
Bob

Posted by
18064 posts

Argh. After posting that bit about finding the 6 hr direct trains from Munich to Prague, I went back to look for them, and.... they're gone! I even went to the Bahnhof schedules for Schwandorf and Furth i Wald and they don't show trains coming through the stations at those times. The brochure for the Prag-Spezial still shows those trains on the schedule, but it looks like they have been discontinued. This is a tragedy, because they used to be the low cost option for getting to Prague. Buy a Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket (like a Bayern-Ticket but including part of the Czech Rep) for €34. Two people could travel to Pilsen for €17 each, then in Pilsen purchase Czech Rail tickets to Prague for €6 ea. Munich to Prague for €23 - no advance purchase, tickets at that price never sold out. Too much competition, I guess, for the Nürnberg to Praque bus, the cost of which, with the ICE to Nürnberg, starts at €29 pP with advance purchase, €91 std fare, and only saved an hour. Today, advance purchase tickets for Monday are selling for €69. But, we've gotten kind of far afield. I think I'll start a new thread on the subject.

Posted by
16 posts

Not enough time if your first train is late which yes, does happen sometimes even though you hear trains are ALWAYS on time!
We had 7 minutes to connect in Toulouse to go to Paris but our prior train was 6 minutes late and we missed it..

Posted by
18064 posts

The platform (PC or MAC) should make no difference as to the schedule displayed. Neither should the browser. A different browser might interpret codes differently, so the display might look a little different, and not all browsers run on all platforms, but that's it. This whole exercise has me wondering about the consistency of schedule displayed on websites. Right after the original post, I went to SBB using "Montreux", "Munich" and "Aug 21", but not sure of time, and every connection for which I looked at the detail, the routing was through Brig. Today I can't find any routing thru Brig on SBB. Then, suspecting Bob was using RailEurope ("only three trains available"), I tried RE, and they only displayed the one connection leaving Montreux at 3 PM and going via Mulhouse and Strasbourg (probably also Lusanne) and then Strasbourg to Munich via TGV. Today, I no longer see the TGV connection, but can see the three trains Bob referenced. The RailEurope inconsistency doesn't surprise me. We know they only sell tickets for a limited number of trains. Possibly, some seats on the TGV became available to RE. Since it is a lot faster connection they featured it at the expense of the other three connections. When the TGV tickets sold out and they went back to the three connections. But what about SBB? Isn't this about the time the railroads upload new schedules. We've seen how, in Italy, at certain times of the year, it doesn't seem possible to get from Verona to Venice. Perhaps, at the time, due to uploading of schedules, the route via Brig was the only one available to the SBB scheduler.

Posted by
12577 posts

But Lee, at 6:13 am (PDT) the same day that you checked this on SBB, I went on SBB and saw no connections through Brig unless I forced it by putting Brig in the "via" space. That was using a morning departure time from Montreux so maybe you used a later one? I'm sure it has nothing to do with loading in the schedules, as that was finished a couple of weeks ago, except for some routes in Italy. But I have noticed the SBB website has been a bit quirky ever since they re-designed it. Once it showed the Romanshorn boat connection, but after I clicked for details that disappeared until I again forced it to appear using Romanshorn in the "via" window. Very mysterious.

Posted by
18064 posts

The rail websites must have a complex algorithm for choosing which connections to display out of all of the possible combinations of trains. Who knows what the criteria are. Do they favor certain routes because there is lots of space available on the train and they want to sell tickets? Do they optimize connection times, or do they pick the first ones that satisfy the criteria? In gereral, I don't think I've seen these inconsistencies in German Rail. However, there are two direct regional connections from Munich to Praque and one with only one change in Schwandorf. They all take 6 hrs and go through Furth im Wald. Sometimes they all appear when I search; sometimes only some appear. Sometimes I have to put in "only local transport" to make them appear; sometimes they won't appear if I do click that. But they always appear if I put in a stopover in "Furth i Wald".

Posted by
110 posts

I just did a query on RE and came up with three schedules. Each having two connections. One leaving Montreux at 9:32 with a 16 minute transfer time in Winterhur. Then Winterhur to Munich arriving at 5:28. I can't pull up the fares due to a "hiccup" in their site for some reason. I also did a query for trains to Zurich then another separate query from Zurich to Munich. I would purchase one ticket on Montreux then once in Zurich purchase a ticket to Munich arriving much later at 10:45. Does that sound doable or would it be best to do the entire trip in one shot? I think I'll opt for the first choice if I can find the cost of the fare.

Posted by
110 posts

Lee, I'm just a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities here. I'll check he German Rail site as you suggested. The rates and times are very much doable. Thanks very much,
Bob

Posted by
110 posts

Lee, I just did a query on the DB site and found exactly what you posted. I'll most likely do that. Thanks again for the help.
Bob

Posted by
18064 posts

Why do you continue to look at RailEurope? They don't show all the possible connections (except what you can buy from them) and they don't have good prices. I just looked up Brig to Munich on RailEurope (they show fares for that trip - as low as $222). German Rail shows five connections leaving Brig between 10:49 and 12:49 for between $165 and $202. These are full fares, not discounted fares. A lot of the connections from Montreux go through Lusanne. RailEurope shows connections from Lusanne to Munich for $196-$284. German Rail shows connections all the way from Montreux to Munich for €135 ($193). Again, full fare. And, if you are willing to purchase in advance online, which is what you have to do with RailEurope anyway, German Rail will sell you a Europa-Spezial ticket from €89 ($127) for leaving Montreux at 8:19, arriving Munich 4:31 PM. Or, for €109 ($156) you can leave Montreux at 11:24, arrive Munich at 7:14 PM. And, with German Rail, you can print your ticket online for free. RailEurope charges an additional $18 for delivery. So, use the German Rail website. You can probably get similar fares from sbb.ch, but I'm not familiar enough with it to advise you. I'll let someone else do that.

Posted by
110 posts

Hi, Getting ready to book my train on the DB site but have another question. Some of the listings do not show a price. It shows "Unknown Tariff Abroad" and will not list the fare. Any ideas why they don't show a price? There are a couple of trains I'd prefer to book if only I knew the cost. I went so far on the DB site where it will allow me to book the trip and pay for it but not tell me how much I'm paying. Whats up with that? Thanks again,
Bob

Posted by
18064 posts

German Rail has access to a data base with the schedule for virtually every train in Europe, but they only seem to know fares for trains for which they sell tickets online. For destinations outside Germany, these are generally trains that start or end in Germany. For trains with both termini outside Germany, it is the country the trains are in that sells the tickets. There are a few exceptions; Germany seems to have an agreement with Switzerland that allows each country to sell tickets for a train completely outside the country if it connects to a train from the country - but only in a few cases. Thus, you can purchase a ticket online from German Rail for Munich to Lauterbrunnen, even though the part in Switzerland is Zurich to Bern to Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen. However, ticket counters in Europe seem to be able to sell tickets for anywhere. If you click "Purchase" for a ticket with "Unknown tariff abroad", it probably goes through the Bahn ticket office, with human intervention, and they email you the fare. I don't know if you have noticed, but the Bahn does not compete online with the transit districts ( Verkehrverbünde). So you can't buy a ticket online, or see the fare, for a regional train from Frankfurt Flughafen to Bacharach. To see the fare, go to www.rmv.de. But, if the connection includes an IC from the airport to Bacharach, the Bahn will show the fare. As for the connections you want but aren't shown on the Bahn site, they probably have too many connections in Switzerland, but if you look on the Swiss Rail website, www.sbb.ch, you'll probably see a fare.

Posted by
18064 posts

Another outside Germany connection that the Bahn sells is on one of the ECs from Munich to Verona. Those trains go through the Alto Adige section of northern Italy (from Brennero to Verona) and the Bahn will sell tickets for segments of that train entirely in Italy, and as a stand alone ticket. Thus you could buy, online from the Bahn, a ticket from Bolzano to Trento, as long as it is on the EC. (Maybe it is because it is a German run train.)

Posted by
110 posts

I'll probably book the 8:19 am train with three connections. The only kicker is the connection times. Two of the three have only five and six minutes between them. The other is a forty mins interval I think? The platforms aren't that far apart so if they arrive on time it shouldn't be a problem. When booking though there are two prices. The cheaper one seems to commit me to a certain train and time. The other seems to have an open option. Does that mean if I miss my scheduled train I can get on the next one?