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Riding Swiss Rails Affordably - The Cheaper Glacier Express

Riding Swiss Rails Affordably - The Cheaper Glacier Express

Old May 31, 20, 11:09 am
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Riding Swiss Rails Affordably - The Cheaper Glacier Express

Taking the rails in Switzerland can get expensive very quickly. For a proper visit of at least a week, consider a Swiss Travel Pass, which includes trains, local public transport, and a number of attractions.

However, not all trains are covered by the pass. The Glacier Express between Zermatt and St. Mortiz, a popular sightseeing trip across the Swiss Alps, is one of them. The fare is free, but an additional seat reservation fee is required. You will be assigned a specific seat for the duration of the journey, with an option to add a meal as you will be on the train for much of the day.

If you don't mind changing trains, even with luggage, then you should consider taking the local trains instead, which travel on the same set of tracks so your views are exactly the same. These local trains are timed to connect to each other, so you won't have excessively long waits anywhere. They are also rarely full, so you will be away from the tourist crowds and can get to move around both sides of the train to enjoy the scenery. Some trains also have windows that can be drawn down so your camera won't need to battle an annoying glare.

My trip started bright and early in Zermatt. To search the schedules, input Zermatt to St. Moritz via Andermatt. The total journey time would be about 8 hours. This is a full day of sightseeing!

Part 1 : Zermatt - Andermatt











































More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/ch-glacier.htm
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Old May 31, 20, 4:27 pm
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Taking the rails in Switzerland can get expensive very quickly. For a proper visit of at least a week, consider a Swiss Travel Pass, which includes trains, local public transport, and a number of attractions...

If you don't mind changing trains, even with luggage, then you should consider taking the local trains instead, which travel on the same set of tracks so your views are exactly the same...
So all those local trains are included with a Swiss Travel Pass without any supplements?
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Old Jun 1, 20, 7:46 am
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Originally Posted by sfvoyage View Post
So all those local trains are included with a Swiss Travel Pass without any supplements?
Correct. No supplements whatsoever.
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Old Jun 1, 20, 11:18 am
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What are the dining options for the local trains?
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Old Jun 2, 20, 6:38 am
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Originally Posted by xooz View Post
What are the dining options for the local trains?
Ah .. pack your own sandwich for the journey. The connection times are a bit short and some of the stations are sparsely-equipped with barely anything to sell during your layover.
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Old Jun 3, 20, 5:29 am
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The Glacier Express is - in my eyes - a tourist trap.
The local trains (as depicted in this report) are taking the same route. One can hop on and hop off anytime. Usually, after one hour the next train comes.
Moreover, if you catch a local train with older rolling stock, you may even be able to open the windows - that is not possible on the Glacier Express.
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Old Jun 3, 20, 2:14 pm
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Tourist trap: Yes and No.

When I did these trips (many moons ago), the Swiss rail pass / Euro-domino was enough to board the train, so the whole could be pretty affordable for foreigners, even in First Class. Bring your own drinks, food, etc and it won't break the bank (apart from Switzerland being an expensive country for about everything).

Buy separate Glacier express tickets and it becomes expensive. Buy drinks and food on board, and you have to rob your bank.

On the other hand, it's a pretty challenging time table to do the whole stretch in 1 day on "local" non-Glacier often non-express trains. The connections, the additional stops, etc, it goes far above the "regular" 8 hours, not to forget all "worries" about making the connections, jumping platforms, different railway companies to deal with, separate reservations, arriving late at your destination, howling around your luggage and the like. Still, nice though.

Ah, and when you want to do the Glacier Express: Switzerland does have some more just as beautiful stretches, like Montreux - Interlaken, Domodossola - Locarno - Bellinzona, Lugano - Luzern, Sankt Mortiz - Tirano and several local old train stretches like Brig - Chur.

And when you are in Europe anyway, Austria does have some similar stretches like the Arlberg and Semmering.
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Old Jun 9, 20, 11:41 am
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Part 2 : Andermatt - Reichenau-Tamins

Plan to arrive at Andermatt at around the lunch hour if you want to reach St. Moritz by sunset, but do your research beforehand on the exact sunset time. The next part is quite interesting. The train will rise steeply across a number of bends and you will then be on top of the world.









































More on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/ch-glacier2.htm
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Old Jun 18, 20, 10:51 am
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Thanks for posting these hkskyline, the photos are beautiful and are making me want to do a Swiss railways trip even more.
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Old Jun 19, 20, 2:49 am
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A train ride across the Alps is always wonderful. I did a shorter version of the journey from Chur to St. Moritz and St. Moritz to Tirano. Both of them was the most scenic rail journey I did, though it was part of a ski trip so I did it in winter, with a different scenery. It was so good, I did a repeat of the St. Moritz to Tirano journey by car in summer while with family.
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