Does a Eurail Select Pass cover the Bernina Express & Glacier Express routes? Aug-Sep 2017

Does a multi-country Eurail Select Pass that includes Italy & Switzerland cover the fare for transport on the full route of Bernina Express & Glacier Express? That is, do you only need your Eurail pass and reservations and no additional ticket purchase necessary?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 28, 2017 21:13
    Hi Patricia,

    Yes, rest assured, any rail pass that includes Switzerland does cover the full routes of the Bernina Express and Glacier Express. Reservations are required on the scenic trains themselves.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Two Country Select Pass').

    Bernina Express

    The Bernina Express scenic route consists of a train from either St Moritz or Chur to Tirano and then a bus from Tirano to Lugano (or vice-versa). The bus segment, however, only runs from April 14th to October 29th, 2017.

    As a supplement to a rail pass, reservations are required on the Bernina Express trains from St Moritz or Chur to Tirano and the bus from Tirano to Lugano.

    When booking reservations for the full route, you would just have to break up your search in Tirano. Therefore, you would do one search from St Moritz to Tirano or Chur to Tirano and then another search from Tirano to Lugano to access the bus.

    While the actual Bernina Express trains do require reservations, there are also regional trains that follow the same route, which do not even accept reservations. Therefore, on the regional trains, the rail pass is all you would need to board. However, the actual Bernina Express trains are much nicer and have panoramic windows for taking in all the scenery. The regional trains do not have panoramic windows.

    There are regional trains that run direct all the way from St Moritz to Tirano on the Bernina Express route. The direct regional trains from St Moritz to Tirano take about the same amount of time as the actual Bernina trains, about 2 to 2.5 hours.

    Otherwise, if starting from Chur and taking regional trains, you would do one of the following combinations:

    -Chur to St Moritz,
    St Moritz to Tirano

    -Chur to Samedan,
    Samedan to Pontresina,
    Pontresina to Tirano

    The options via St Moritz would take about 5 hours in duration, while the options via Samedan and Pontresina would take about 4 to 4.5 hours in duration.

    The actual Bernina train direct from Chur to Tirano takes just over 4 hours.

    On our site, you can view regional train schedules on every one of these segments, except for the the segment from Pontresina to Tirano. If you do a search from Pontresina to Tirano, only the actual Bernina Express trains will display. Regional trains will display for the segments from Chur to St Moritz, St Moritz to Tirano, Chur to Samedan, and Samedan to Pontresina. For your reference, the regional trains from Pontresina to Tirano do depart once every hour throughout the day and the ride only takes about 2 hours.

    Glacier Express

    The Glacier Express runs from Zermatt to St Moritz (or vice-versa) and does require reservations as a supplement to a rail pass. There are also regional trains that run this same route and do not take reservations. However, just like the Bernina Express--the Glacier Express trains have panoramic windows, while the regional trains do not.

    The Glacier Express trains also run direct all the way from Zermatt to St Moritz, while a connection comprised of the regional trains would require changing trains along the route. A connection of regional trains from Zermatt to St Moritz involves changing trains in either Visp or Brig, then Andermatt, then Disentis, and then either Reichenau or Chur.

    The direct Glacier Express trains take just over 8 hours in duration, while a connection comprised of regional trains would take about 8.5 hours if you take them straight through.
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