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Switzerland

by train to and from Zurich and Switzerland

An Introduction

How to travel to and from Zurich by train, use Zurich hb station, location, public transport connections, trains to and from Zurich Airport.

The therebytrain.com guide to travelling to and from Zurich by train and using Zurich (hb)station.


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Wikipedia guide to Zurich

Train Departure Information

Departure Summary:
Click HEREe for therebytrain.com's unique at a glance summary of train times from Zurich to other major tourist destinations, including trains to Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Rome and Vienna.
Departure times valid until December 8th 2012

Alternatively details of All train departures from Zurich hb are available HERE on the D-Bahn timetable.
Click here for the therebytrain.com guide to using the D-Bahn timetable.

Trains TO Zurich

Click the cities below for summaries of trains to Zurich from these popular destinations:

We'll be adding more cities to the above list when the new pan-European railway timetables change in mid-December

Exploring Switzerland by train from Zurich.

Having a holiday in Zurich may not be a first choice of destination in Switzerland, it is of course Switzerland's largest city and therefore full of dining opportunities and cultural attractions.
However, many travellers choose to pass through, using its huge Zurich hb station to change trains.

Zurich
St. Peter church

However, because it is such a major railway junction it makes for an excellent base for exploring Switzerland by train, check into a Zurich hotel and you won't have to constantly re-pack as you do on a touring holiday.
Virtually any hotel in the city is either within walking distance of the main Zurich hb station, or on a tram route that operates to the station.

You can head for the Zurich hb station and buy tickets, there's no need to book online in advance to obtain a discount and there's also no need to reserve in advance on any train from Zurich

These destinations in Switzerland are all easily accessible by trains from Zurich so make for great day trips by train from the city.(those marked* have direct links to a Swiss Tourist Railway

Arth-Goldau*, Basel, Gossen*; Lucerne*, Pfaffikon*, Romanshorm (on Lake Contance), St Gallen and Winterthur

Exploring the Swiss Tourist Railways From Zurich

The rail connections from Zurich also make the city a good base for exploring most of Switzerland by train.
If you're considering using a Swiss Pass, or InterRail pass to explore Switzerland by - or are travelling through the country using a Eurail or InterRail 'Global Pass', but want to mimimize the number of times you have to change overnight accommodation, Zurich is an ideal location to spend a couple of nights (staying in Zurich can also be a cheaper option than the picture/post card cities of Switzerland).

These itineraries below will take you across the most spectacular railway routes of Switzerland from Zurich on Swiss Mountain Railways, there is no need to reserve in advance for any of the trains,and connections between trains are virtually guaranteed by the Swiss timetable.
Each one of them is a contender for the 'Most Incredible Day Trip by Train on the planet', and if you spend time in Zurich you can experience all four of these truly incredible journeys.
You can also use a Eurail, InterRail or Swiss Pass to travel on Virtually all of these trains (InterRail passes cannot be used on on of the lines).

The MGB/ZB Golden Pass lines from Zurich:

  • Train 1 - 09:32 IC train from Zurich hb to Lausanne
  • Train 2 - 12:03 IR train from Lausanne to Montreux
  • Train 3 - 13:45 'Golden Pass Classic' train from Montreux to Zweisimmen (conveys restaurant car)
  • Train 4 - 15:38 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train from Zweisimmen to Interlaken OST (conveys observation cars)
  • Train 5 - 17:04 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train from Interlaken OST to Lucerne/Luzern (conveys observation cars)
  • Train 6 - 19:35 train from Lucerne/Luzern to Zurich hb - arrives Zurich at 18:23

The Rhb Albula Railway line from Zurich:

  • Train 1 - 10:12 IR train from Basel (SBB) to Chur
  • Train 2 - 11:58 Rhb train from Chur to Samedan (The Albula Line)
  • Train 3 - 14:08 Rhb train from Samedan to Scuol Tarasp
  • Train 4 - 15:40 Rhb train from Scuol-Tarasp to Landquart
  • Train 5 - 17:19 IC train from Landquart to Zurich hb, arrives Zurich at 18:23

The MGB/Rhb lines from Zurich (central part of route of The Glacier Express) AND the Lotschberg Pass:

  • Train 1 - 10:12 IR train from Basel (SBB) to Chur
  • Train 2 - 11:56 Rhb train from Chur to Disentis/Muster
  • Train 3 - 14:14 MGB* train from Disentis/Muster to Amdermatt
  • Train 4 - 15:37 MGB* train from Andermatt to Brig
  • Train 5 - 17:36** local/RE train from Brig to Bern (three minute connection at Brig)
  • Train 6 - 19:32 IC train from Bern to Zurich (hb), arrives Zurich at 20:28 (conveys restaurant car)
  • *= Swiss Pases are valid on MGB trains, InterRail 'Youth Pass' holders can obtain a 50% discount, InterRail Adult Pass holders do not qualify for a discount on these trains.
  • **= If at the time of year that you're travelling darkness is descending on arrival at Brig, or if you're happy to skip the journey through the Lostchberg gorge, take the 17:49 IC train from Brig to Zurich, that arrives in Zurich at 19:58

The Centovalli Express line, The Gotthard Route and the Simplon-Lotschberg line from Zurich

  • Train 1 - 10:02 IC train from Zurich to Brig
  • Train 2 - 12:44 local train from Brig to Domodossola
  • Train 3 - 13:25 F.A.R.T train from Domodossola to Lorcano (also conveys observation cars that are accessible on payment of a supplement.
  • Train 4 - 16:45 IR train from Locarno to Zurich hb, arrives Zurich at 19:51

Passports are needed for this routing as you will cross the Italian, border. Swiss Passes are are valid on the Italian trains from Domodossola.

Train Service Summary

Regular (usually hourly) services link Zurich with other destinations in Switzerland including Basel, Bern, Brig, Chur, Geneva, Geneva Airport, Locarno, Lugano and Lucerne.
To reach Interlaken connections are available via Bern or Lucerne.

The following international daytime rail services also serve Zurich hb:

  • Lyria (TGV) trains to/from Paris Gare De Lyon via Dijon newly re-routed service
  • ICE trains to/from Hamburg via Mannheim, Frankfurt (Main) and Hannover
  • IC trains to/from Stuttgart
  • EC/IC trains to/from Hamburg via Mannheim, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne/Koln and Bremen
  • EC trains to/from Munich/Munchen
  • As of summer 2012 the EC trains to/from Brussels via Strasbourg and Luxembourg now terminate in Basel, connect at Basel for travel between Zurich and these destinations
  • EC trains to/from Milan formerly operated by Cisalpino
  • RJ Trains to/from Vienna/Wien via Innsbruck and Salzburg

Overnight trains operate to/from a range of destinations including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Dresden, Prague/Praha and Vienna/Wien

Using Zurich hb station

The primary station in Zurich is usually referred to on timetables as 'Zurich hb'.

The area of the station platforms/tracks 3-18 that is used by long distance trains from/to other destinations in Switzerland and international services is a terminus.
Therefore passengers changing trains or exiting the station from these platforms remain on one level.
The station is therefore comparatively easy to negotiate with very efficient information displays letting passengers know which train is leaving from each platform and when.
Regular users can make connections between long distance services in 5 minutes, but first time passengers should allow at least 10 minutes to connect between trains.
If you have a tight connection it’s a good idea to move to the front of the train before it arrives at the station.

The main concourse at Zurich hb is also directly above one of the city’s main shopping malls and the only to be open 7 days per week. Passengers with time on their hands between connections can therefore engage in some retail therapy instead of waiting on the station concourse.

Changing Trains For Zurich Airport/Flughafen

If you're final destination is Zurich Airport and you need to change trains at Zurich hb, there is no need to descend to the lower level S-Bahn (local train platforms). Very regular trains operate from the terminal platforms to Zurich Airport, so rail passengers changing trains to reach the airport don’t have to negotiate stairs or escalators.
The journey time by train to the airport is only 12-15mins.

City Centre Access/Public Transport

Reaching the city centre

Some of the local S-Bahn trains to/from Zurich hb station use platforms on a lower level. The quickest route to the city centre is to take the S-Bahn trains one stop from these platforms to 'Stadelhofen', but the heart of the city on the shore of Lake Zurich can be reached on foot in less than 15mins.

Click here for a public transport map for Zurich.
Zurich HB station is the stop marked 'Bahnhofquai Hb', which is on the thinner black line in the middle of the map, where the thinner black line is horizontal
Bahnhofquai Hb tram stop is served by lines 4, 11, 13 and 14.