Alps Transportation

  • The Glacier Express arrives at Disentis
    The Glacier Express arrives at Disentis
    by travelfrosch
  • Oberalp Pass
    Oberalp Pass
    by travelfrosch
  • Transportation
    by Manara

Most Recent Transportation in Alps

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    The Centovalli Railway

    by travelfrosch Updated Mar 13, 2014

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    The Centovalli Railway

    A scenic way to get to or from Ticino is the Centovalli Railway. This private railway runs from Locarno to Domodossola, Italy. In Domodossola, there are connections to Brig through the Simplon Tunnel to the north, or to Stresa/Milan to the south.

    While the scenery on the Centovalli isn't jaw-dropping by Swiss standards, it's pleasant enough. It's also the quickest way to get from Ticino to Valais or the Bernese Oberland. It's also handy that Swisspass is valid for the entire trip from Locarno to Brig, including the Italian sections. For others, 1-way fare is CHF 42 second class. Round-trip Locarno to Domodossola in the same day costs CHF 35 second class.

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    Golden Pass 3: Zweisimmen to Montreux

    by travelfrosch Updated Mar 13, 2014

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    Enroute to Gstaad
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    The final leg of the journey (or first if coming from Montreux, but then you must read this tip backwards ;) takes you from German Switzerland to French Switzerland. You depart Zweisimmen through magnificent scenery towards the Jet-Set hangout of Gstaad. Past Gstaad, you pass though rugged terrain and many tunnels until you arrive in Châteaux d’Oex, where everything is suddenly in French. From Châteaux d’Oex, you slowly work your way downward until you see Lake Geneva in front of you. Your descent continues through several suburban back yards (literally!) until you arrive at Montreux station, where you can change for main-line trains to Geneva or Brig. The entire journey is covered by both Swisspass and Eurail Pass, but seat reservations (optional) are not included.

    On this section, the top-quality trains have magnificent panorama cars, giving you tremendous views of the mountains. If you splash out for a 1st Class "VIP seat" (CHF 70 1-way Zweisimmen-Montreux including CHF 15 seat reservation), you can get a "driver's eye view" through a forward-facing plexiglass bubble. However, if you want to take pictures, you're actually better off taking one of the older, local trains with windows that open. The fancy panorama cars, while spectacularly scenic, are not conducive to photography.

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    Golden Pass 2: Interlaken to Zweisimmen

    by travelfrosch Updated Mar 13, 2014

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    The Simmental
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    The second leg of the Golden Pass continues from Interlaken, along Lake Thun, to Spiez. Sometimes, you will need to make an additional connection in Spiez to continue to Zweisimmen. Also in Spiez, you can change for trains to Bern, Visp, and Brig, giving you easy connections to destinations such as Kandersteg and Zermatt. From Spiez, you continue along the Simmental, enjoying pleasant pastures and streams with the ever-present Alps in the background. The entire journey is covered by Swisspass and Eurailpass.

    One final tip: if you want to take pictures, you're actually better off taking one of the older, local trains with windows that open. The modern trains, while sleek and comfortable, are not conducive to photography (unless you're vain and/or enjoy taking pictures of your own reflection).

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    Golden Pass 1: Lucerne to Interlaken

    by travelfrosch Updated Mar 13, 2014

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    Enroute to Interlaken
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    The "Golden Pass" scenic train from Lucerne to Montreux is actually three different trains on railways of three different gauges. The first section is the Zentralbahn railway from Lucerne to Interlaken via the Brünig Pass, Meiringen, and Brienz. The most scenic parts are between Meiringen and Brienz. Also, you can take a scenic detour to Engelberg and Mount Titlis, done either as a day-trip or a vacation stop. When you return, you'll change at Hergiswil for the train to Interlaken. The entire journey is covered by Swisspass and Eurailpass.

    One final tip: if you want to take pictures, you're actually better off taking one of the older, local trains with windows that open. The modern trains, while sleek and comfortable, are not conducive to photography (unless you're vain and/or enjoy taking pictures of your own reflection).

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  • Glacier Express

    by markhuggenberger Written Dec 25, 2011

    MY GLACIER EXPRESS EXPERIENCE:

    As a local I decided to do once this, tourist "attraction". Big mistake.

    Compulsory seat reservation is arround 36$ exept for during winter season it`s "only" 15$.
    But be aware: You can`t choose your seats by yourself. The system will choose them for you and it`s not possible to make any adjustments or cancelations, especially for online bookings through their website.

    It can happen that you book two 1st class roundtrips for more than 500$ and you get two aisle seats. Even if you book months in advance. It depends if the automatic system likes you or not.

    The meal package that they want to sell you very badly, (you might not get any food if you don`t book it in advance....blah...blah...blah) is a rip off. For 48$ per Person, you get:

    - a plain salad with some convenience dressing. Thats the starter.
    -a very simple main course - the only choice you have is at time of booking - with or without meat
    -a very small piece of cake for desert

    Beverages (Water, Coke even Coffee) are extra: 7$ and they even try to sell you liquor like 5 times after your meal for 9$ a shot. They take advantage of the foreigners and like to make it seem like everything is included in your meal till they bring your bill.

    The best would be if you BYO or you can buy a la carte in the train or even this very special set menu. It`s absolutly not required to buy your meal package in advance as they tell you.

    The train route is not bad but nothing great as well. A big drawback are the panoramic windows, because they are a absolute misconstruction. They glean very badly. In the window you can see the seats, the person seating next to you and about everything else. This is very disrupting especially on a scenic train & if you like to take fotos.

    The train has been extremly shortened during the last years, to maximise profits I guess, leaving only two 2nd and two 1st class carriages, which are now packed.
    Most travellers book for this trip 1st class so there is often more space in 2nd class.
    There is as in all swiss trains, no difference in service beetween the two classes. The only benefit is a bit nicer interior and more space (works not in the Glacier Express)

    In my opinion, the other scenic train in this region, the Bernina Express. Much nicer views, nonreflecting panoramic windows, fair prices and service. And you can select your prefered seat when booking online on their website.

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    The yellow friend

    by Manara Updated Aug 13, 2010

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    The trains are famous for going almost everywhere in Switzerland, but for the locations not included in that 'almost' one can always rely on the PostAuto.
    The yellow buses of the Swiss Post run on time and cover a network of routes that reaches every town or villge, provided there is road.
    An aspect that is very convenient for visitors (but also for the locals) is the integrated system that enables one to buy just one ticket for a route that includes the use of bus and train. Moreover, the bus stations are always located in a very convenient way with respect to the rail stations. For instance the bus station in Chur (the one I have used most frequently, during a holiday in Flims) is on top of the railway station.
    Another very convenient aspect of the PostAuto is that when these buses enter a town they make several stops, providing the same service as city-buses.

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    The Glacier Express

    by travelfrosch Updated Jun 9, 2010

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    The Glacier Express arrives at Disentis
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    One of the more famous scenic trains in Switzerland is the Glacier Express, running from Zermatt in the west to St Moritz in the east. The Glacier Express is also aptly named because it is about how fast the trains run (nearly 8 hours for the entire trip). But with all of the scenery around, you won't mind. You might want to consider packing a picnic lunch, however.

    The train route runs on a series of private railways; the entry points to this railway system from the main train lines are Brig, Visp, and Chur. You can also enter the system by changing at Göschenen (between Arth-Goldau and Bellinzona) for a local train to Andermatt.

    The highlights of the trip are the journey from Brig to Zermatt, and the section between Andermatt and Disentis as you cross the Oberalp Pass. While the route from Chur to St Moritz is among the most impressive from an engineering standpoint, the scenery is nothing special by lofty Swiss Alps standards. Therefore, unless you plan to visit the St Moritz or Pontresina area, or if you plan to continue on the Bernina Express, you won't miss that much scenery if you end your journey at Chur IMO.

    As of June 2010, 1-way base fare from Zermatt to St Moritz is CHF 133 2nd class, CHF 221 1st Class. 1-way Zermatt to Chur is CHF 107/CHF 178 respectively. In addition, you will be charged a "Glacier Express" supplement of CHF 33, or CHF 61-74 including lunch. Finally, seat reservations are compulsory on all Glacier Express trains. To avoid supplements and required reservations, you can take a series of local trains, though this will require you to make several transfers along the way.

    RAILPASS VALIDITY: If you have a Eurailpass, select pass, or multi-country pass, the Matterhorn-Gotthard Bahn (running the section from Zermatt to Disentis) will not honor your pass. Swisspass, Swiss Card (50% discount), and General Abonnement (GA) is valid on the entire route. Note, however, that you will still need to pay at least a CHF 30 surcharge and reserve your seat in advance, even with Swisspass or GA.

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    Extensive travel, narrow gauge

    by Manara Written Aug 19, 2009

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    Switzerland is known for its railway network. Always reliable and running on time, the trains arrive almost everywhere.
    In the most mountainous areas this network consists of narrow gauge railways. This means that the distance between rails is smaller than 1.435, which is the standad gauge in Europe. In the Swiss Alps such distance is 1 metre in most of those train routes that attract tourists.
    The reason is that a narrow gauge allows to build railroads with narrower curves than a standard railroad.
    This explains why, during a train trip to and around Switzerland, at least one change of train is necessary to reach Alpine destinations such as, for instance, Grindelwald.
    It also explains why one gets the impression, sometimes, that Alpine railways look a bit like toys: the railtracks and the trains are really narrower than the ones you are used to.

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