Subject: Train travel
Hi, Ziners,

In Sept. 2001 we used a monthly Swiss Rail pass to travel from our home base in Locarno. Bought it upon arrival at Zurich airport (cheaper than from Canada). Even though Locarno was not exactly central, it worked for us. Furthest we went in on a day trip was from top to bottom and back (Locarno-Basel-Locarno).

One of the best rides was through the Centivalli to Domodossola - scenery was spectacular. Also used it on the trams and lakes (although not Lake Magiorre, as it extends into Italy). It may have been my imagination but I thought that the conductors who checked our passes became even more friendly when they saw they were for a month.

No one has mentioned train travel in New Zealand (unless I missed it.) In Dec-Jan of1998-99 we used a rail pass to travel the north island for 6 weeks. What amazed me was how, even in a large city like Auckland, you go to the train station 15-20 minutes ahead of time, stand in line with a few people, hand luggage directly to an attendant who would toss it into the luggage car, be assigned a seat, and board the train. No fuss-no muss.

The schedule meant that you could not travel for long distances but that meant we got to see and enjoy more. With a cell phone and a lodging guide from the NZ automobile association, we would call ahead the night before or even the day of travel to book accommodation. Upon arrival, many places would pick us up when we called from the train station.

It was a very relaxing way to travel and couldn't be simpler. Cheers, Pat