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Need to reserve train in advance?

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Singapore, Singapore
posts: 213
reviews: 13
Need to reserve train in advance?

I will be travelling from Lauterbrunnen to Zermatt on 17th June. We were wondering if it is necessary to purchase tickets in advance or can we just purchase them on the day itself?

Would this route be full in Mid June?

And we are also doing Zermatt to Milan on 19th June. Would it be ok if we bought tickets when we arrive in Zermatt on the 17th itself? (i understand we need seat reservations for the Italian portion of the leg; any one knows which leg it is exactly and how to do reservations if we purchase on the spot?)

We kind of don't want to book online coz we have spare CHF that we want to use up...and we don't want to be restricted by that particular train timing that we must meet...

Edited: 4:14 am, May 19, 2012
bern
posts: 3,488
1. Re: Need to reserve train in advance?

<can we just purchase them on the day itself?> Yes, nobody here buys tickets in advance. Buying the ticket the day of travelling keeps your program more flexible for example in terms of weather. If you are going anyway you can try if you get one of the discounted tickets you can only buy in the internet. Take care that you have the right rail pass (for most people the Half Fare Card is the best option)

<Would this route be full in Mid June?> If the weather is very good the train can be pretty full. But it's never in a way that you cannot enter the train and it's rare that you cannot find two seats together.

<Zermatt to Milan> You can buy the ticket and reservation at any train station in Switzerland or through the internet. I would buy it at the first train station in Switzerland. The bordering station in Iselle, best is you get the reservation from the place where you enter the train (Brig or Visp). People at the ticket office can help you to get the right ticket and reservation.

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,255
reviews: 113
2. Re: Need to reserve train in advance?

It isn't really just one route! You will need to change quite a few times, but changing trains here is very easy and you should always be able to get a seat.

Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken Ost

Interlaken Ost to Spiez

Spiez to Visp

Visp to Zermatt

In fact you cannot reserve seats on any of these trains.

For your trip from Zermatt to Milano - these trains are quite often full and it is really best to get your ticket as soon as you get to switzerland. You don't want to use the internet (but how do you know in advance that you will have CHF to spare at the end of your travels?) But if you were to book on the Trenitalia site you can get cheaper fares than on the SBB site or at the counter here in Switzerland.

Best to take that ticket from Brig. Iselle is technically the frontier and swiss passes are valid to Domodossola (these trains do not stop at Iselle. They all stop at Domo). You are going to need that seat reservation from Brig anyway!

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 213
reviews: 13
3. Re: Need to reserve train in advance?

thanks Mube and Hambagahle

I guess for Lauterbrunnen - Zermatt we will just buy them on the spot with our Swiss Half Fare cards.

For Zermatt to Milan, I checked that there's only 1 change at Brig. So the half fare card is valid for tickets from Zermatt to Brig right? And from Brig to Milano Centrale there's no discount but seat reservation is compulsory too right? Prices online for this whole route (including half fare is only CHF 51 - i assume reservation price is incuded also?) Will i be able to enjoy this same fare when I book at the ticket counter in Switzerland?

Tthe Brig - Milano route on Trentialia (34.40 Euro) doesn't seem worth it at all as the Zermatt - Brig costs 18 CHF...

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,255
reviews: 113
4. Re: Need to reserve train in advance?

Are you looking at only the half price fares on the SBB site? Because Zermatt to Milan at 51frs seems very low to me... Your half fare card is only valid to Iselle but you will need a ticket and reservation Brig to Milano.

€34.40 for a ticket Brig to Milano sounds cheap to me too, and if this is from the Trenitalia site I would take it! €34.40 is about 41CHF so add the 18chf to that and the total is just under 60frs... a great deal!

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 213
reviews: 13
5. Re: Need to reserve train in advance?

Hambagahle, yup, I will be purchasing the half fare card upon arrival in Swiss, and the SBB site quotes me CHF 51 (youth fare) for the entire journey from Zermatt to Milano Centrale (which I assume includes reservation for the Brig-Milan leg)

The usual price without half fare according to the website is CHF 76 so i believe the half fare discount is applied only for the Swiss portion of the journey..

I do hope this CHF 51 fare is available for purchase at the train stations in Swiss!

bern
posts: 3,488
6. Re: Need to reserve train in advance?

I checked it www.sbb.ch/en and I got as well 51 CHF for a one way trip with Half Fare Card. They indicate as well that the price includes reservation fee (or other obligatory fees) and even ask where you want to sit.

I guess it's the normal ticket (with a fix price), but I'm really not sure. If you are already sure which train you want to take I would get it from the internet. You can collect the ticket you bought in the internet at any train station in Switzerland, like that you don't have to pay shipping charges.

Edited: 5:13 am, May 20, 2012
7. Re: Need to reserve train in advance?

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