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train ticket booking - information

Hi! i'm trying to book a 1way ticket from Milan to Zurich HB using http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html (Switzerland)and the time and date i wanted has this message. EC 12 (Milano Centrale - Zürich HB) Travel advice: (EC 12) Passengers to Lugano, Bellinzona, Arth-Goldau, Zug and Zürich HB are kindly requested to use the ICN 10012, departure from Chiasso at 07:45. Further information WHAT DOES IT MEAN? should we go to CHIASSO? does anyone know where is Chiasso? thank you so much!

Posted by
2799 posts

Not sure but I think it means they break the trip at Chiasso and you get on the other train there instead of going thru on the same train. Are you sure you want to book that ticket on SBB? will you be in Switzerland sometime earlier to pick it up? the options for that ticket are pick up at counter, or have it mailed to you (costs). there is no print at home option for that ticket. Better to buy on Trenitalia.

Posted by
46 posts

Sasha, but it says there is no connection or change train. thats why i didnt get what that message mean. SBB (Switzerland) is cheaper than Trenitalia. SBB for 2 tickets CHF 54 + 8(shipping) = 62 CHF Trenitalia 71Euro/each x 2 = 142.00 Euro a big difference.

Posted by
3159 posts

Nanette , Allow me to add as best I can : Chiasso is a bit northwest of Como , a few minutes by rail . The routing for this trip takes you through the Gotthard pass to Zurich . I think Sasha is right about a connection . There is construction work going on at the pass , and this may be a temporary connection . Sbb seems to be clear about a connection at Chiasso . A pertinent question , however about booking on Trenitalia ; When is your trip ? If it is far enough in the future , you may be able to purchase deeply discounted tickets ,if the timing is right . Trip date would help alot .

Posted by
46 posts

steven, so, we have to catch the train at Chiasso? or from Milano Centrale stop over to Chiasso then head to zurich? sorry im still confused. we will be leaving Milan on 05/19/13.

Posted by
3159 posts

Nannette , As Sasha said . You will board the EC12 from Milan as per its stated schedule . At Chiasso you'll hop off and board the other train . The price on trenitalia is as you said . However are you taking into account that the posted fare on SBB is half price assuming you have a half fare card ? It's odd , but that is how SBB does this . If that's the case you have to double the price . While it would be slightly less than Trenitalia , it wouldn't be significantly so .

Posted by
12578 posts

There has been interrupted service on that line since the landslide near the Gotthard Pass. Chiasso is the station at the border (on the Swiss side), so I think you change from an Italian train to a Swiss train they call ICN10012 at that spot. According to the informationon the SBB site, you board EC 12 as usual in Milan (at Milano Centrale) but then transfer to the other train at Chiasso. Knowing the Swiss, it will all be very smooth. No worries. As far as the ticket goes, you got a nice Special Offer price buying in advance on SBB. I saved 496 CHF a couple of summers ago by buying our round-trip tickets from Zurich to Milan and back for our family of 4. But I was able to pick them up in Switzerland since our journey started there. If you don't mind paying to have them mailed to you, then you're fine with the Swiss site. But for others reading, I will just point out that the discount fares are offered on Trenitalia also. On the "fare" page, you use the drop-down menu and choose Smart1. If there are discount tickets at that level available, it will show a green button and the price, which is 22 euro instead of 71. They are indeed available for 19 May on that train. With an Italian ticket you can just pick it up at the station.

Posted by
12578 posts

Note to Steven-you are correct about SBB posting the "half-price" fares on the main page. But that is only for tickets within Switzerland. If you are taking a cross-border train, and hit "purchase" it will take you to the international ticket shop. For travel between major destinations like Zurich-Milan, Basel-Paris, etc., they will often show a Special Offer price in addition to the regular one, if you look well in advance (2 or 3 months). The Special Offer price from Milan to Zurich is indeed 27 CHF (instead of 88 or so). When we did it in 2010, I paid 26 CHF for each of 8 tickets, regularly priced at 88 CHF. So the savings added up to 62 CHF per ticket, or 496 total. It is a great deal if you find one. The savings paid for our night at La Scala in Milan!

Posted by
3159 posts

Nannette , You have just gotten two responses from one of the sharpest people on this board ( Lola ) . It's a good example of why I come here ; to learn !!

Posted by
46 posts

THANK YOU SO MUCH LOLA. may i ask where did you stay in Milan? :)

Posted by
798 posts

Hi Nannette, Assuming you are looking at the 7:10 train, it's not going to happen, as this train would arrive in Chiasso 4 minutes after the ICN 10012 leaves for Zurich! I'm guessing they may hold it for a few minutes but it will be a tight change. For a more relaxing trip, I would suggest you either take the 8:10 train for Zurich or an earlier train to Chiasso so you have more time to make the 7:45 connection in Chiasso. Jim

Posted by
12578 posts

I have emailed SBB to ask about this. Since they are selling tickets for a through train on one ticket, I assume the Chiasso train waits for the incoming passengers from Milan. Otherwise there would be no one on the train! Also, the expanded schedule shows the train arriving in Zurich. I will let you know what they say. This is a situation that has been going on for some time, and I cannot find mention of it in the " traffic interruptions" section, so they must not view it as an actual disruption.

Posted by
46 posts

Lola, i just checked Trenitalia and u are right, if i choose SMART on the "fare" page, per ticket is only 22Euro. but what is SMART? what's the diff between the others? well, obviously the price but if i choose the SMART is it 100% sure we will board the train on the date and time we picked? do we need to show them something besides the ticket? sorry, its my first time traveling to Milan and by train. confusing... thanks!

Posted by
12578 posts

Yes, it is confusing! The SMART fares on Trenitalia are their non-refundable discounted fares for cross-border trains (into Switzerland). There are SMART1 and SMART2 at different prices. They are limited and do sell out. They include seat reservations and are the equivalent of the Super Economy (non-refundable) fares for domestic travel on Trenitalia. The ticket is good only for the train you purchased. I haven't used them myself but many people here have. You could start another thread asking specifically about that. As I understand it, you get a printable ticket with a barcode that the conductor scans.

Posted by
3159 posts

Nannette ,Allow me to add to Lola's fine advice . If you decide to purchase from Trenitalia , a few points that will assure this goes smoothly ; before actually purchasing the tickets , go to the website and REGISTER ! problems arising from attempting to purchase without doing so are legion . Once you have registered , you will get an e-mail with a temporary password . You must IMMEDIATELY login and reset it to a permanent one . You can then go ahead with the purchase . You will then receive a confirmation e-mail with a series of numbers called a PNR code . the number is your ticket. Simply show the printout ( or even just the PNR , I used the printout ) to the conductor and that's it ! On our trip this past fall to Italy and Switzerland ,I bought all my " Frecce " tickets in this manner and saved $300 USD instead of buying them on the travel day . As Lola explains , the SMART ticket is the cross border version of the super economy fare . Her sage advise about this is now safely added to my traveler's tool bag for future use . Also the printout will provide the Train , coach ( carrozza ) and seat ( posti ) numbers which will allow you to board the train correctly . You will then at the station find which track ( binario ) that number train departs ( partenze ) from and your'e all set . Traveling this way is a piece of cake . P.S. The train you transfer to at Chiasso is , in fact , a sevice temporarily in place for the duration of construction work at the Gotthard Pass.

Posted by
3159 posts

Nannette , One other comment which I hope will be helpful . The techniques of rail travel in Europe seem more confusing than they actually are . What I found to be extremely helpful when I began my figurative and literal journeys in Europe was to spend substantial time on two websites : " The Man in Seat 61 " and " Ron in Rome " . Both of these sites are frequently reccommended by posters here . They are the basic textbooks for rail skills in Europe . Don't try reading them front to back in one gulp . That's like cramming before a school test . In reasonable bites , so one can assimilate the information , they provide an overview that enables you to understand the detailed information you receive , in context . Additionally , they are a good deal of fun if you are an independently minded traveler .

Posted by
46 posts

thank you all so much for your help. especially to Lola :) i have booked my Milan-Zurich 5/19/13 at 7:10am on Trenitalia for 22Euro each. on the email-confirmation i received, i just have to print the ticket at the Milan Central station. also, booked my Zurich to Salzburg to Vienna on OBB (Austria). all i need now is Vienna to Budapest. thank you again! :D

Posted by
12578 posts

OK, I heard back from SBB. Jurgen said since you are going to Zurich, you do not change trains at Chiasso. The ICN 10012 is a " relief train" that handles overflow because the EC 12 is crowded. the relief train makes all the stops from Chiasso to Zurich, so is the commuter train. The EC 12, which you will board at Milano Centrale, stops at Chiasso and then does not stop again until Zurich. So if Zurich is your destination, you stay on the EC12. If you were going to one of the intermediate stops, like Zug, or Arth-Goldau, you would switch to the other train. Enjoy the trip. It is a scenically ride, unless the clouds are too low to see the mountains. See if you can tell when you are in one of the spiral tunnels they use to gain elevation.

Posted by
12578 posts

I just saw your question about where to stayin Milan. We stayed at an expensive place, Alle Meraveglie, as we wanted to be within walking distance of La Scala. We made up for the room price by having a simple but yummy picnic dinner ( total cost 23 euro for four) on the roof terrace outside our room. If I were to stay in Milan again I would look into Hotel Berna, near the train station, or Spadari al Duomo, near, you guessed it, the Duomo.

Posted by
46 posts

Lola, while searching for hotel in Milan, i came a cross hotel Berna but as i was reading the review, the hotel was OK but the area they said was not safe. is it true? thanks so much...

Posted by
26448 posts

Well, I'm not Lola, but I have stayed at the Berna and loved it, and its breakfast. I can't imagine anything unsafe about the neighborhood. You walk past the taxi rank. You walk down the street. You walk across the street watching out for the trams. You walk down the road to the left and you're there. There is a tunnel under the main road crossing which leads into the station or you could do as we have done and walk on the surface. Utilizing normal security precautions we saw no issues there at all. Pull up the route on Google Earth and have a look at the buildings and area if it worries you...

Posted by
6953 posts

Now wow, this is impressive!! Lola wrote SBB on your behalf and got an answer for you, to add to her already extensive knowledge that she had shared. and sTeven and Nigel too! this is why this is a great place!!!

Posted by
12578 posts

( Blushing). Every time I help someone else, I learn something. That is one of many reasons I enjoy posting here.

Posted by
3159 posts

I have the same sentiments as Lola and Nigel .

Posted by
46 posts

im new to this site and im very grateful to all the helpful members here. especially to Lola, she went out her way just to helped me ;)