Will my Eurail Global Pass be valid for the scenic trains in Switzerland, such as the William Tell Express or the Golden Pass?

Will my global rail pass be accepted for Scenic trains in Switzerland like the William Tell or Golden Pass?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 11, 2013 18:03
    Hi Patti,

    A Eurail Global Pass Pass does cover the ticket costs for the William Tell Express and the GoldenPass scenic routes. Reservations would be an additional cost to the pass.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the cities, and indicating the rail pass you'll be traveling with, when prompted.

    Reservations are required on the William Tell Express. The William Tell route consists of a boat across Lake Lucerne between Lucerne and Fluelen, and a train between Fluelen and either Bellinzona or Locarno. When you do your search under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations', you would enter 'Lucerne-Boat Wmtell' for Lucerne and then either 'Bellinzona' or 'Locarno'. This would cover the reservations for the boat across Lake Lucerne and the train between Fluelen and Bellinzona or Locarno. If you want to end up in Lugano, you would just be able to use your rail pass to board a regional train from Bellinzona to there. Trains from Bellinzona to Lugano don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    The GoldenPass route runs between Lucerne and Montreux, and it involves changing trains twice en route; once in Interlaken and once in Zweisimmen. On the GoldenPass, it is really only advisable to have reservations on the segment between Zweisimmen and Montreux. Reservations aren't really necessary on the segment of this route that's between Lucerne and Interlaken and the segment between Interlaken and Zweisimmen.

    If you want to have reservations for the entire route of the GoldenPass, you would just break up your search once in Interlaken when you go to purchase the reservations. Therefore, you would do one search for the segment between Lucerne and Interlaken and another search for the segment between Interlaken and Montreux.

    Otherwise, you can just purchase reservations for the segment between Zweisimmen and Montreux, and then the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board the train between Lucerne and Interlaken and the train between Interlaken and Zweisimmen.

    For planning purposes, you can just check schedules for any GoldenPass segments you don't make reservations for by entering the cities after clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and not indicating that you'll be traveling with a rail pass.

    Generally, the William Tell Express and the GoldenPass can both be reserved within 90 days of an intended date of departure.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 14, 2017 19:40

      As of 2017, the ‘William Tell Express’ scenic route is now known as the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ scenic route.

      The actual route is still the same, following the rail line between Flüelen and Bellinzona/Lugano that goes through the old Gotthard Tunnel.

      Also still considered part of this experience is the steamboat on Lake Lucerne, connecting Lucerne and Flüelen.

      From April 14th to July 2nd of 2017, the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains only operate on weekends and will not run all the way to Lugano. Therefore, during this time frame, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' will only run between Flüelen and Bellinzona. In Bellinzona, passengers can connect to another train that will take them the short distance to Lugano.

      From July 3rd to October 22nd of 2017, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains run daily between Flüelen, Bellinzona, and Lugano.

      For taking in the scenery, 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains have panoramic windows in 1st class.

      For passengers traveling with a rail pass, the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ trains do require reservations, which would also be inclusive of the steamboat. When booking reservations for the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express', you would have to type 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' (instead of just 'Lucerne') in the field for the departure city or arrival city, with either ‘Bellinzona’ or ‘Lugano’ in the opposite field.

      If you'll be traveling on a day when the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains don’t run (i.e. a weekday between April 14th and July 2nd, 2017), you would instead take a series of regional trains that follows the same route. While you would still be following the same route and enjoying the same scenery, the regional trains do not have panoramic windows, like the actual ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ trains do. The regional trains on the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express' route are:


      The regional trains do not accept reservations. Therefore, any passenger traveling with a rail pass would only need to show the rail pass to board.

      Other notable changes with the new ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ route are:

      - Now offered in 2nd class but with no panoramic windows

      - Eurail Passes no longer cover the Lake Lucerne steamboat but do provide for a 50% discount (Swiss Travel Passes, on the other hand, are still valid to cover the Lake Lucerne steamboat in full)

      - A meal is no longer included on the steamboat
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  • I’m frustrated and worried.
    I also have a Global Pass and attempted to reserve seats on the 14:55 from Lucerne to Interlaken OST. Everything came up fine, found the train, added to cart, filled out my info and hit purchase. Immediately got a notice that there was a problem and someone would get back to me within 2 business days. After 2 days I couldn't stand it and called in myself. He was sure what the problem was but he couldn't get it to go through either. He checked with someone else and I was then told that reservations are only available for the trip to Montreux, not the Lucerne-Interlaken OST portion and I would just have to go without a reservation.

    This concerns me as (a) the Rail Europe site offers this to be reserved; (b) the DB Bahn site says "Please reserve" for this leg; and (c) it's the heart of summer (Aug 12), it's a scenic route, I don't want to not make this train, and there are 4 of us traveling and we'd like to sit together.

    So just today I attempted to make the reservation again. I again got the same "there's a problem" notice, and now I wait for a call.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) June 21, 2013 15:00
      Hi Richard,

      Generally, we are able to confirm reservations on some of the GoldenPass trains on that portion of the route (Lucerne to Interlaken); however, the rail network of Switzerland has not made it so that these trains are able to be reserved for dates in August. In any case, reservations are actually not necessary on these trains, and you would be able to board with no problems using only your rail pass.

      If you are advised that the reservation you requested for this train wasn't able to be confirmed when we contact you regarding your order (and you would prefer to have reservations), then please request that we keep your order in our system and attempt to confirm your request. We would then attempt to confirm your reservation requests on a daily basis up until a week prior to your departure to Europe, at which point we would contact you to advise. Rest assured, if your reservation requests for the train from Lucerne to Interlaken still aren't able to be confirmed by the time you depart for Europe, you will still be able to board the train using just your rail pass.
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