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One Minute to Change Trains at Mittenwald?

I am looking at fares and schedules to go from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Bolzano. The schedule alternates between routing through Munich (6-hour journey, one change at Munich) or going via Mittenwald, Innsbruck, and Brenner (3 changes) in under 4 hours. I like the latter option, although it is slightly more expensive, BUT it allows only 1 minute to change trains at Mittenwald. Is this realistic? They have trains scheduled like that every 2 hours, so they must expect people to be able to do it. I could build in a buffer and book it with a 2-hour breather at Mittenwald, but then we would be up to the 6 hours for the trip via Munich. We are used to train changes as short as 3 - 4 minutes in Switzerland, but I've never tried a 1-minute connection before. Still, I am inclined to just book the option as given, with the 1-minute change time, and assume that if we miss the next train because our incoming one is late, they will still honor our tickets on the next train 2 hours later. Of course we will be ready to jump off with our luggage as soon as the train comes to a stop, and head to the other train, but we are no longer 100-meter dash sprinters.

Posted by
18830 posts

What time of year? My reading of the DB schedule shows one train, originating in Munich, stopping in Garmisch, continuing on to Mittenwald where it stops for 1 minute, then continues on to Innsbruck. This is the current weekday schedule. Trains runs every 2 hours from 8 to 18.

Posted by
15118 posts

Thanks, Sam. That train (Munich to Innsbruck with stops at G-P and Mittenwald) only runs until 7 April, then it changes to the routing I mentioned (with the one-minute change in Mittenwald) until 8 June. But it looks like the train still originates at Munich, and ends in Mittenwald, so the other train may be waiting on the tracks for all passengers to change---in which case it would not be a problem. We are not actually going until September, but I am just looking at prices and schedules now to be ready to buy when I can. Of course things could change when the new schedules come out after June 8, so my question may be moot! We've done this route before and never had to change at Mittenwald, so maybe it is related to construction and is temporary.

Posted by
18830 posts

Yes, when you click on the train number, it shows one train terminates at Mittenwald, and the other train originates in Mittenwald.

Posted by
18942 posts

On the Bahn website, I see a 1 minute change in Mittenwald from GaP to Innsbruck. The incoming train is on track 2, the outgoing one is one track 3. That should be a "cross-platform" change. As long as you are at the end of the car with your luggage and get right off when the train stops, you should have enough time to walk across the platform. The conductor is not going to release the train while people are still boarding. I put in GaP to Innsbruck and got the connection, so the Bahn must expect people to make it. If the train from GaP is late, they will hold the train to Innsbruck. Here (www.stationsdatenbank.bayern-takt.de/StationsdatenbankBEG/Steckbrief.html?lang=de&efz=8004043) is the station plan for Mittenwald. You can see that tracks 2 & 3 share a platform. OTOH, the pedestrian streets in Mittenwald are only a few blocks away. Depending on the time of day, you might want to schedule a two hour stopover in Mittenwald and have a meal or look around.

Posted by
15118 posts

Thanks, Lee. If they are still scheduling it this way in September, I think I will just go ahead and book it with the 1-minute change time, since we would like to get to Bolzano ASAP to meet up with others. After reading your comments and Sam's, I am confident that they will wait for everyone to make the transfer. We'll be ready to hop off the train as soon as it stops!

Posted by
18942 posts

I don't know why they do it that way. It's a German train from GaP to Mittenwald, and then that train turns around and goes back to GaP, and an Austrian train comes up from Innsbruck, picks up the passengers, and goes back to Innsbruck. But it's not always that way (i.e., change trains in Mittenwald). In 2009, I took one train from Seefeld, Austria, through Mittenwald, all the way to GaP.

Posted by
15118 posts

Yes, I have taken a train from Innsbruck to G-P with no changes too. And it looks like they are still doing that now, and until april 7. After that, it looks like all trains have that transfer from one train to another at Mittenwald. Maybe it will change back, maybe it won't! But at least now I am prepared to deal with it.

Posted by
2 posts

This thread is very heartening, as we have the one minute stop in a couple of days. I didn't notice this until after I'd already paid for the tickets. EEEEK! However, seeing that the platform is shared by both trains (and my husband is quick!) I feel better about making the next train. We are traveling with kids, though... do you think it would do any good at all to let the conductor know about our one minute pickle? I know the trains are well-scheduled and they run a tight ship...

Posted by
12040 posts

Often in these circumstances at peripheral stations, the second train waits for the first to arrive. Unless there's a major delay, the second one probably won't leave until everyone from the first has transferred.

Posted by
505 posts

The other thing I would add as a suggestion is to a middle second class car. If you are in first class or the last car of second class, you might have to "cross the platform" diagonally and have to walk several cars down to get to the right car. It is a little nit-picky thing, but if you position yourself more in the middle then you have a better chance of just having to walk accross the platform to get on the next train. We just returned from a trip with a rail pass that had us in "1st class" and it seemed like every time we had to switch trains the 1st class cars of the new train were on the opposite end of the train we were arriving on. It took us longer than one minute to switch trains in that situation. However, as other people have suggested, if you are just going straight accross you could do that in 10 seconds. Good luck!!

Posted by
18942 posts

Starting Saturday, August 3 (until Aug 25), they will be doing work on the tracks somewhere between Garmish-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck, and there will be no trains. Instead, there will be substitute buses (SEV). Some of the SEV go from GaP to Innsbruck with a stop in Mittenwald. Others require a change of buses in Mittenwald. Check with the German Rail (Bahn) website.

Posted by
2 posts

Follow up to previous post: we made the 1 minute connection with no trouble at all. :) I asked the lady who checks the ticket about the connection (broken English/broken German = communication!) and she assured me the other train does wait for passengers to switch. Sure enough, my husband was the first off the train and stood in the doorway of the other train while the kids and I trotted across the very small platform. No problems at all. There was probably...2? 3? minutes before the train actually departed. Thank you all for your help! I hope my experience can help folks in the future. :) (If you're trying to avoid stress and anxiety, I'd recommend the 2 hour lay-over. If you're adventurous and are on a time-crunch, the one minute is do-able.)

Posted by
18942 posts

"I'd recommend the 2 hour lay-over." Although the train to Innsbruck runs only every two hours, the train from Garmisch-Partenkirchen runs hourly, so by taking the train from GaP an hour earlier, you would only have to wait an hour in Mittenwald, but I'd prefer to spend the whole two hours. I'm probably going to do something similar this fall. I have a trip planned from Pfronten, on the Auserfernbahn just up the line from Reutte, to Oberammergau. That's only a little over a 2 hr trip (1½ hr by train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 40 min more by bus to Oberammergau, so I have time to spend on the way. Having already gone up the Zugspitze once, and living in Colorado, I'm not interested in doing that again. However, in 2009 I spent a night in Mittenwald. It's a pleasant little town with a pedestrian street with shops and restaurants. Although I wouldn't make it a destination again, since I'm in the area ... I'll stop there for a leisurely lunch and a lookaround. In Lola's case, given the choice between a trip via Munich, 6+ hours on the train except for a 10 min change in Munich, and about the same time overall with 4 hours on the train and an additional 2 hour stop in Mittenwald, I know what I would do. Sometimes, getting there is half the fun.

Posted by
15118 posts

Thanks for posting your experience, Amy. As it turns out, our plans changed such that we will be meeting our daughter in Munich and departing for Bolzano the next day. I bought tickets 92 days in advance and got them for €29 which was great!