Subject: Train travel in Switzerland
My husand and I are vacationing in Locarno for the month of September and are planning to buy a Swiss Rail saver pass for unlimited travel for a month. We have used a rail pass on a recent 6-week trip to NZ but never in Europe. Can anyone please confirm or comment on the following:

1. I've read that the only difference between 1st and 2nd class on the Swiss rail system is more room in 1st class. Would 1st class be less crowded? Are there any reason why one may want to go 1st class (as opposed to 2nd class) on this system?

2. Is it true that you can buy the Swiss Saver Pass at any large railway station with only a passport required? If so, it seems a better deal to me if the price is in Swiss francs. Price listed at SBB Travel Online for a single ticket is 646 CHF (about $550 CAN) whereas my travel agent (Edmonton, Canada) is selling it for $690 CAN.

3. Is there any need to book seat reservations on Swiss Rail? Seems to me I read somewhere that they were not needed.

4. Anyone know how much weekly or monthly boat passes cost on Lake Maggiore?

5. Has anyone stayed at the Hotel Limmathof opposite the train station in Zurich? Any other recommended hotels or B&Bs within walking distance?

6. To travel from Zurich to Locarno often requires a train transfer in Bellinzona with about 5 minutes listed between arrival and departure. How do-able is this for two tired people suffering from jet lag, carrying luggage around, and new to the Swiss rail system?

Many thanks. Cheers, Pat