Subject: RE: Train travel in Switzerland
Swiss trains are not compartmented, although international trains operating through Switzerland often are. 2nd class is quite adequate, though it will be more crowded on busy trips. Luggage placement will be less of a problem in 1st, though it's usually not a big problem. Net? If the money makes a big difference, 2nd is fine. If the cost differerence is no big deal you'll enjoy the added space, less crowding, and 'privacy' and have a slightly softer seat.>

> 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.

Yes, based on the way they set prices some time ago, with the decline of the CHF it's a better deal to buy in Switzerland. There are 30 some odd stations from which the passes may be purchased.

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

Not needed, and not possible on most internal services. Possible, and sometimes useful, on heavy international trains passing through, and mandatory on certain scenic trains (e.g. Glacier Express, Crystal Panorama, etc.)

> 4. Anyone know how much weekly or monthly boat passes
> cost on Lake Maggiore? I don't.

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

Haven't, but it gets decent comments. You'll find others noted in http://www.twenj.com/swisshtlzrh.htm

> 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?

Some published connections run as little as 2 minutes! All are doable as the Swiss trains run on time ... not almost on time, ON TIME! :-) Presuming you don't have three heavy bags each you'll have no big problem. Don't, however, count on the connection being on the other side of the same platform ... that's often not the case. We did a 3 minute connection (in Interlaken Ost) on our first rail experience in Switzerland. I worried about that for the preceding two weeks, but it came off just fine. In fact we had at least 45 seconds to spare! And the train won't depart with you just three steps from the entry ... they run on time, but won't run you down. :-)

Ed

Traveling with Ed &Julie: http://TWEnJ.com