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Train Stations in Switzerland

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  • Train Stations in Switzerland

    Wonder if anyone can advise or know about train station hours in Switzerland and waiting facilities during the night. I am going to be in Switzerland during Jan/Feb 2006 and some of the days, our train will be pulling into the stations ie Zurich Geneva Chur St Moritz or Bern at about 1am in the morning with pro-long wait till about 5am Is it safe at the stations and are there waiting ares/rooms and is it normal for people to wait in the stations like sirports Please let me know soon as. Also, any tips on doing the Golden Pass, Bernina Express. Glacier Express or any of the scenic trip - which is a must asw I have only got about 2-3 days in Switzerland What about Mt Zermatt Please advise Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Train Stations in Switzerland

    Don't know about Chur and certainly not St. Moritz, but the stations in the bigger cities have the waiting rooms open for ticket holders. But it's a very unpleasant experience - you may not like the company (drunks who missed their last train, down-and-outs who may not have seen a shower in a long time, etc.), and it may be a brutally overheated and stuffy room, and so on. You fall asleep but you shouldn't because you need to keep an eye on things - forget it, you'll feel miserable the entire next day and you won't get your money's worth on the trip.

    Depending on how strict or fed-up the security guys are, they may or may not patrol frequently, and there's not much they can do if people behave themselves while they're there, as long as folks have a ticket they're entitled to stay. It doesn't compare to a night at an airport, not even close.

    You must have a very squirrely schedule to get stranded for a connection in that many towns at that hour - surely another working of schedules can avoid having to do this?

    Feel free to post your plans here, we'll be glad to help you figure out better connections. Even a night sitting up on a train is far preferable to a night at the station.

    Last edited by ongmont; 12-01-2005, 09:56 AM.


    • #3
      Re: Train Stations in Switzerland

      Thank You so much for the prompt response - that is exactly what I need to know Good to know about the waiting room and the other extras - suspected that would be the case and really appreciate the confirmation.
      I am going to be on a 15 day eurail pass and would appreciate any tips on savings re-reservations and sleepers. I am going from Zurich to Vienna/Budapest/Berlin/Stockholm/Helsinki/Oslo/Bergen I think we should be
      OK on just the seats as we did the entire Europe on bus - Eurolines 2-3 years ago Any comments - do not mind paying for couchettes but the other private 2-3 sleepers appear to be quite pricey any comments - are they worth it will look at the 4-6 bunks when we need a good lie-down
      Any tips on when and how we should reserve those. We are travelling mind Jan - beginning Feb know it is not the best of times - cold/winter etc but we do not have any choice Any tips/comments on what we should do/stay etc We will be flying to Lisbon/Madrid and Prague before and after the pass days Do reply or post any comments and I can share some of my tips too
      As we will be on the train quite a fair bit - any tips in that area ie. what do we need to get some hot water (electric flask or ?? or readily available on the train) Are the seats comfy enough to catch a nap and rest thru the night - we are not big in size - if that might help Please advise Thanks


      • #4
        Re: Train Stations in Switzerland

        You kidzzz are krayzeee! But I'm sure you know that, right!?! You'll be spending about 140 hours or so on trains, and that's only what you told us so far...

        Sure you can sleep on 2nd-class seats if you don't have very long legs and if you're young and flexible. Most of Europe's train systems are computerized to the point that you can reserve couchettes many days ahead (and you should!) from a ticket office in a train station in a different country. Couchettes are not very expensive, and being able to lie down and stretch out makes a huge difference, even if you wake up many times throughout the night.

        Getting hot water on trains is really tricky. But these days, some trains have a/c sockets where people plug in their laptops etc. Maybe you'll find electricity outlets in some of the toilets? You might want to buy an immersion heater in a camping shop or electrical supplies shop, the kind of coil that you sink down into a (heat-proof) mug or cup, plug it in, and after a good while it actually brings the water to a boil. Get a two-prong one if you can, but it has to be a European 240-Volt one. If you stop in the city of Zürich or some such place, you shouldn't have trouble finding one. Make a note: In Switzerland and Germany and Austria, it's called Tauchsieder. Then if you have a thermos that keeps water hot, you'll be set for a while.

        Maybe they sell thermos bottles with a built-in heating system that you can plug in and boil more than one cup's worth at a time?

        Have you thought of staying the night in a hostel once in a while, for a bed and a hot shower etc.? It's usually cheaper if you're already a member - use google to reserach hostelling if you have not done so. If you spend every night on a train, you don't get to see much of the countryside, so I think you should mix up sleeping on the train with sleeping in a city here and there.

        Before you leave home, buy the new kinds of travel towels and washcloths that soak up a lot of liquid and dry really quickly, they take up very little space when rolled up. Eagle Creek makes them, Magellans has them, and other online travel places, I'm sure (use Google, of course).

        I guess you know about the kinds of belts that have a zippered compartment but don't look like anything special? Changes in Latitudes has great ones, - email them if you don't see them on the website, they have them in the store. You can fold up cash bills and a xerox of your passport and DL and tickets etc. and slide it all into a belt, nobody will ever know.

        On overnight trains where you're not using couchettes you should at least reserve seats in advance - window seats so you can lean against the window. But make sure you have a coat or something to put your head against, the windows get very cold! Once you've reserved a seat, you get a piece of paper with the train number, the carriage (waggon) number, and the seat number.

        Do you know that you have to validate the Eurail Pass at a ticket office before you can use it the first time? Not at a window, find the office where they sell things like long-distance tickets, commuter passes etc. You need to show the passes, your passports, the passes get logged and stamped, and only then can you hop on trains and use them. This could take a while if you have to wait.

        See if your local library has the Thomas Cook railway timetables so you can do more research on your train trip. On the internet, is probably the best for the trips you're taking - although it's the site of the German railways, it also lists trips in Scandinavia etc.

        Train stations in may towns are places where drunks and other undesirables hang around. There's only so much the cops can do in a free society, so you don't want to spend too much time there at times when there is nowhere else to go. If you plan it well, you should be either on a train or in a hostel, not in a train station in the middle of the night.

        Any other questions that google won't answer, just ask.



        • #5
          Re: Train Stations in Switzerland

          I agree wih everything O has said. Train stations in any European city are not fun to hang out at in the middle of the night. In fact, a lot of down-and-outers use them as their bedrooms - at the Prague train stations you have to step over all the bodies to get to the ticket booth.

          As O said, you can reserve seats/couchettes/sleepers from any European town for wherever you want to go. We found it handy to write down on a piece if paper the town we wanted to depart from and the town we wanted to go to, on what date, for how many people, what class, etc and hand it to the ticket-man. This makes it easier for everyone rather than trying to say it all which gets confusing.

          The sleeper carriages are fantatsic even though a bit pricey. Depends on your budget but you're guaranteed a good sleep on nice, clean sheets with your own wash-basin and curtains (some of them even deliver breakfast to you!).

          In regards to your other queries, yes, you MUST MUST try and do a section of the Glacier Express! Its an unforgettable experience. The carriages are really comfy and warm and the scenery is unbelieveable. We went from Geneva to Chur (about 6 hours I think) in January so there was snow everywhere and it was just gorgeous.

          Bye for now,