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Is the Eurail Global pass good for any part of the Glacier Express or Golden Pass?

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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 27, 2015 14:07
    Thank you for your question, Chris.

    A Eurail Global Pass (or any multiple country 'Eurail' pass that includes Switzerland) covers the entire length of the GoldenPass scenic route. However, a Eurail Global Pass (or any multiple country 'Eurail' pass that includes Switzerland) only covers the stretch of the Glacier Express between Disentis and St Moritz; it would not cover the stretch of the Glacier Express between Zermatt and Disentis.

    Booking the Glacier Express (for travel with a Eurail Global Pass)

    If you'll be traveling with a Eurail Global Pass, you would have to purchase a special ticket called the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' in order to be covered for any stretch of the Glacier Express between Zermatt and Disentis. There are various options of the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare', which you would choose from according to your needs. For instance, if you were traveling the full length of the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz, you would purchase the 'Zermatt-Disentis' option of this ticket. If you only needed to travel as far as Visp (from Zermatt) in order to make a connection to elsewhere in Switzerland (not located along the Glacier Express route), you would purchase the 'Zermatt-Visp' option of this ticket.

    You would purchase the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/glacier-express-eurail-passholder-fare/index.html.

    The various options of the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' are displayed as follows:



    In addition to the Eurail Global Pass and/or the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' ticket, the Glacier Express trains themselves would also require reservations. You would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating that you'll be traveling with the 'Eurail Global Pass'. With that said, you wouldn't purchase reservations if were you were traveling just a small portion of this route (i.e. between Zermatt and Visp), as you would just take one of the non-reservable regional trains, as opposed to an actual Glacier Express train. You would only purchase reservations if traveling a longer stretch of the Glacier Express, such as the full length of the route between Zermatt and St Moritz.

    Generally, the Glacier Express can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    Booking the GoldenPass (for travel with a Eurail Global Pass)

    The full length of the GoldenPass scenic route runs between Lucerne and Montreux and involves changing trains in Interlaken and Zweisimmen along the way.

    With a rail pass, it is only recommended that reservations be purchased for the trains between Zweisimmen and Montreux. Reservations are not necessary on the trains between Lucerne and Interlaken and the trains between Interlaken and Zweisimmen, so a rail pass is all you would need to board.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations for a train from Zweisimmen to Montreux by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the cities, and indicating the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with when you're prompted (i.e. the Eurail Global Pass).

    For planning purposes, you can just check schedules for the remaining part of the GoldenPass by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and doing a separate search for each segment (i.e. one search for trains between Lucerne and Interlaken and then another search for trains between Interlaken and Zweisimmen), this time not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of pass when you're prompted.

    Generally, the GoldenPass trains can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) December 28, 2016 19:32
      Update:

      Starting in 2017, a Eurail Select Pass that includes Switzerland or a Eurail Global Pass will begin covering ticket costs for the stretch of railway on the Glacier Express line between Disentis/Visp and Zermatt. Therefore, the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' ticket would no longer be necessary to cover this segment.

      Seat reservations would still be necessary for the actual Glacier Express between Zermatt and St Moritz (to go along with a Eurail Select Pass).
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  • Thanks, Jeff. So, if we only wanted to do the Golden Pass from Interlaken to Zweissman with our pass, and not go as far as Montreux (with no reservation), we could just get off at Zweissman and then head back to Interlaken where we are staying in the same day?

    We appreciate your input, Jeff!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 29, 2015 21:20
    You're welcome, Chris. Yes, with the Eurail Global Pass, you can just hop on a train from Interlaken to Zweisimmen and then another one from Zweisimmen back to Interlaken. There is no need to reserve the trains between Interlaken and Zweisimmen, so the rail pass is all you would need.

    Have a great trip! Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.
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  • I’m anxious and frustrated
    As I try to purchase my reservations for our August trip to Europe, I am told that I must buy my reservation from Hamburg to Salzburg before June 3, but yet my reservations from Salzburg to Disentis, Disentis to Interlaken, Interlaken to Montreux, Montreux to Bourges, and Bourges to Bayeux are not yet available. I also see that there's a heavy delivery charge and it's best to buy your multiple reservations all at once. Now how is that possible if I have to meet the June 3 deadline, yet the rest aren't available? Am I going to have to purchase them each separately to make deadlines, and as a result, pay multiple shipping charges? It doesn't seem right. Please help me to understand this process. I do have a Global first class rail pass, and I also want to buy a fare holder pass from Disentis to Zermatt and Zermatt to Brig so we can continue on to Interlaken after doing a part of the Glacier Express..
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 05, 2015 16:42
    Hi Chris.

    I'm not sure where you would've seen that, but there are no deadlines to purchase reservations. Generally, trains in this part of Europe can be booked once within 90 days of an intended departure date (including trains that comprise of a connection from Hamburg to Salzburg). To avoid being charged any unnecessary shipping fees, it would be recommended to purchase all your reservations within the same order. While it is generally the case that trains in this part of Europe can be booked once within 90 days of a departure, they are operated by different rail networks, and it is therefore possible that they can become available to book at different times.

    Hamburg to Salzburg

    A connection from Hamburg to Salzburg takes about 8 to 9 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Munich along the way. Trains from Hamburg to Munich are high-speed 'InterCity Express' trains, and trains from Munich to Salzburg are 'EuroCity' trains, high-speed 'Railjet' trains or 'Meridian' trains. In addition to the rail pass, reservations would be highly recommended on the 'InterCity Express' trains from Hamburg to Munich, and the 'EuroCity' and 'Railjet' trains from Munich to Salzburg.

    You would book the reservations just by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations', entering the route, and indicating that you'll be traveling with the Eurail Global Pass. For a trip from Hamburg to Salzburg, I would recommend piecing together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment (i.e. one search for trains from Hamburg to Munich and another search for connecting trains from Munich to Salzburg).

    The 'Meridian' trains from Munich to Salzburg don't accept reservations. Therefore, the rail pass is all you would need to board, should you opt to take one of these trains for this segment. When you pull up the results of a schedule search from Munich to Salzburg on our site, the 'Meridian' trains can be identified by their train number. The 'Meridian' trains from Munich to Salzburg have 5 digit train numbers that begin with a '7'.

    Salzburg to Disentis

    A connection from Salzburg to Disentis takes just over 6 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Sargans and then once in Chur. Of the trains that comprise of this connection, reservations would only be recommended on the trains from Salzburg to Sargans, which are 'Railjet' trains. To purchase these reservations, you would just do a search for trains from Salzburg to Sargans under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage (while indicating that you'll be traveling with the Eurail Global Pass.

    You would not purchase reservations for the trains from Sargans to Chur and Chur to Disentis, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. For planning purposes, you can just view schedules for the segment from Sargans to Disentis (via Chur) by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and entering the cities, this time not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass.

    Disentis to Interlaken

    If you wish to travel along the Glacier Express scenic route on the way from Disentis to Interlaken, the connection would take just under 5 hours in duration and involves 3 train changes along the way; once in Andermatt, once in Brig, and then once in Spiez. The segment from Disentis to Brig (via Andermatt) would be on the Glacier Express route and would not be covered with a Eurail Global Pass. Therefore, to be covered, you would need to purchase the 'Disentis-Brig' option of the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' ticket that I explained about in my reply to your first post above.From Disentis to Andermatt and Andermatt to Brig, you would just take the regional trains that operate along the Glacier Express, so the 'Disentis-Brig' option of the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' ticket is all you would need to board.

    Your Eurail Global Pass would then be valid to cover you again from Brig to Spiez and Spiez to Interlaken. Reservations are not necessary at all on the trains from Brig to Spiez and Spiez to Interlaken, so the Eurail Global Pass is all you would need to board.

    Schedules for the regional trains from Disentis to Andermatt and Andermatt to Brig are not able to be viewed on our website, but they both depart once every hour throughout the day (taking about 1 hour from Disentis to Andermatt and 2 hours from Andermatt to Brig).

    For planning purposes, you can just view schedules for the segment from Brig to Interlaken (via Spiez) by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and entering the cities, this time not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass.

    Interlaken to Montreux

    A connection from Interlaken to Montreux along the GoldenPass scenic route would just involve changing trains once in Zweisimmen along the way. There is no need to purchase reservations on the segment from Interlaken to Zweisimmen; however, reservations are highly recommended on the GoldenPass trains from Zweisimmen to Montreux.

    You would refer back to 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' in order to purchase reservations just for the segment from Zweisimmen to Montreux.

    For planning purposes, you can just view schedules for the segment from Interlaken to Zweisimmen by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules'.

    Montreux to Bourges

    A connection from Montreux to Bourges would take about 6.5 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes en route; in either Lausanne or Geneva and then in Paris.

    Trains from Montreux to Lausanne or Montreux Geneva don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    In contrast, the direct trains from Lausanne or Geneva to Paris are high-speed 'TGV Lyria' trains, which require reservations. With a Eurail Global Pass, you would be eligible to purchase reservations on a TGV Lyria from Lausanne to Paris or Geneva to Paris at a rate called the 'Passholder 2'.

    The trains from Paris to Bourges are 'Intercités' trains, on which reservations would be recommended in addition to the rail pass.

    For planning purposes, you can just view schedules for the non-reservable segment from Montreux to Lausanne or Montreux to Geneva by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules'.

    You would verify that you're being quoted the 'Passholder 2' rate for a train from Lausanne to Paris or Geneva to Paris by taking the following steps:

    1.) Click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, enter the route, and indicate that you'll be traveling with a Eurail Global Pass.

    2.) Locate one of the direct 'TGV Lyria' trains from Lausanne or Geneva to Paris and then click the 'View' button for the fare listed under your preferred class of service (for this route, that would be 'Premier' for 1st class and 'Economy' for 2nd class).

    3.) When you click 'View', a box will expand out underneath with the 'Ticket Flexibility' options. The 'Passholder 2' rate would generally be found under the 'Semi Flexible' option under 'Ticket Flexibility'. To verify, you would click 'Read More' for the 'Semi Flexible' option and the fare should be labeled as 'TGV Lyria Passholder 2'.

    4.) Be sure the Passholder 2 option is checked and click 'Select' to proceed and add it to your 'Itinerary' (shopping cart).

    You would then refer back to 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' again to purchase reservations for an 'Intercités' train from Paris to Bourges, indicating that you'll be traveling with the Eurail Global Pass when prompted.

    When you pull up the results of your searches, you will see that trains from Lausanne or Geneva to Paris arrive into the Gare de Lyon station, while the trains from Paris to Bourges depart from the Austerlitz station. It would be about an 10 to 15 minute walk to get from Gare de Lyon to Austerlitz. You would just cross the bridge over the Seine River, and it wouldn't be long before you'd be there. There is also a bus directly between these stations that would only take about 5 minutes.

    Even though these stations are close to one another, a RER/Métro connection would involve changing once along the way and would still take about 10 to 15 minutes. You would first take line 14 of the Métro to Bibliotheque Francois Mitterand, where you would switch to line C of the RER to Austerlitz.

    Bourges to Bayeux

    A connection from Bourges to Bayeux would involve taking some combination of 'Intercités' trains or regional 'TER' trains up through either Paris or Tours and then Caen. Reservations would be recommended on any 'Intercités' train along this route. In contrast, 'TER' trains don't even accept reservations, so the rail pass would be all you'd need to board on any of these.

    For the trip from Bourges to Bayeux, I would just recommend breaking up your search in either Paris or Tours when you go to book the reservations under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our site.
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  • I’m thankful
    You are awesome, Jeff. I have more confidence in making reservations now and not running into mistakes that can't be corrected due to the non-refundable fares. Thanks so much!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 05, 2015 21:32
    You're welcome, Chris. Have a great trip.
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