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by train to and from Basel/Switzerland

How to travel by trains in Switzerland

An introduction to train travel in Switzerland, Swiss trains, buying rail tickets in Switzerland and using rail passes in Switzerland inc The Swiss Pass,

Arrived here from the Start Your Journey Page?

1 - Next click the trains link to the left.

2 - Next click the tickets link to the left.

3 - (optional) - next click the name of the city that you will be travelling to/from (if its listed)

4 - If you've clicked a city go back to the tickets link, you should now know all you need to know before making a booking.

Further informations for Swiss trains, tickets/rail passes and scenic routes is available on the links to the left.

National Rail Operator

State Rail Operator = SBB

Train Travel on public holidays

Public Holidays = Mar 19th/29th; Apr 1st; May 1st/9th/19th/20th/30th; Aug 1st/15th; Nov 1st; Dec 8th/25th/26th.

On public holidays many train services will not operate, particularly services that usually only operate on specific days of the week such as Mon-Fri

If you're planning to travel by train on a public holiday double check in advance that you're train service will be available.
When buying a ticket online for for a journey you may be offered an alternative train service due to the special timetable that MAY be operating.

Train Travel in Switzerland summary

Travelling by train is undoubtedly the best method of seeing Switzerland

Tunnels through the mountains ensure that rail travel is frequently faster than travelling by road and many of the most picturesque Alpine resorts can only be reached by rail.
Trains operate at least every other on all key routes (the most popular routes have hourly trains) and the Swiss reputation for punctuality is no myth.

Connecting trains service are often timetabled to allow only three minutes for passengers to change from one train to another and Switzerland is one country where such connections can be virtually guaranteed.

The majority of trains depart to a clock face timetable meaning that they leave stations at the same minutes past each hour and this time timetable operates every day of the week.

A high percentage of trains also inevitably pass through spectacular scenery (though a notable exception is the principle route form Zurich-Bern-Lausanne-Geneva).

It’s therefore not necessary to reserve seats on trains that operate solely within Switzerland and no supplements (higher fares/compulsory) are charged for internal journeys within the country, including domestic travel on premium international services that operated into Switzerland from France, Germany and Italy including TGV, ICE and EC trains.

As a result passengers can adopt a ‘where shall we go today’ approach.

Routes/Trains not operated by SBB

The key difference between Switzerland and other countries in Europe is the high percentage of rail routes/services that are operated by companies other than main state operator, SBB.

This includes virtually all services to high altitude Alpine resorts which are served by a multitude of different companies - see the TOURIST TRAINS link to the left.

The principle independent operator is BLS which operates the local services around Bern and Interlaken, as while as the line from Spiez to Zweisimmen.
SBB tickets are valid on trains operated by BLS as are Eurail and Inter Rail passes.
All BLS trains are listed on departure sheets at stations where both BLS and SBB trains operate.