Does the Swiss Travel Pass include the scenic trains? Are reservations needed for these trips?

If I have a Swiss travel pass, does this include the scenic train rides, and do I need a reservation for these trips? If so, how do I make those reservations?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 06, 2017 18:11
    Hi Joanne,

    Yes, the Swiss Travel Pass does cover ticket costs for the trains designated as scenic trains. In certain cases, reservations would be required as a supplement.

    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 'Swiss Travel Pass').
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    • Jeff (Official Rep) July 06, 2017 19:59
      Gotthard (Gotthard Panorama Express)

      At the start of 2017, the ‘William Tell Express’ scenic route became known as the ‘Gotthard Panorama Express’ scenic route.

      This scenic route consists of the steamboat over Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Flüelen and then trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Lugano.

      From April 14th to July 2nd of 2017, the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains out of Flüelen only operate on weekends and also will not run all the way to Lugano. Therefore, during this time frame, the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains out of Flüelen will only take you as far as Bellinzona. In Bellinzona, you would switch to another train that would take you the short distance to Lugano.

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

      To take one of the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains (with the panoramic windows), reservations are required. For this route, the reservation that we issue is inclusive of both the steamboat (from Lucerne to Flüelen) and the connecting 'Gotthard Panorama Express' train from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Lugano.

      To purchase reservations for the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' journey on our website, you would type 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' (instead of just 'Lucerne') in the field for the departure city, with 'Bellinzona' or 'Lugano' in the opposite field. Therefore, your search would be from either 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' to 'Bellinzona' or 'Lucerne-Boat Gotthard' to 'Lugano'. By doing this, our website will know to issue the reservation that will cover you on the steamboat from Lucerne to Flüelen and the panoramic 'Gotthard Panorama Express' train from Flüelen to either Bellinzona or Lugano. Also, when you go to purchase these reservations, be sure to indicate the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Swiss Travel Pass').

      If you will be traveling on a day when the actual 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains do not run (i.e. a weekday between April 14th and July 2nd, 2017), you can still follow the same route and enjoy the same scenery; however, the trains that go over these rail lines will not have panoramic windows. On days when the 'Gotthard Panorama Express' do not operate, you would instead have to take a connection from Flüelen to Bellinzona that is comprised of regional trains. From Flüelen to Lugano, such connections would involve changing trains in Erstfeld and Bellinzona along the way. Therefore, after your boat arrives in Flüelen, you would take a short regional train from Flüelen to Erstfeld, another regional train from Erstfeld to Bellinzona, and then another regional train from Bellinzona to Lugano.

      The regional trains do not accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you'd need to board. Schedules for these regional trains are not able to be viewed on our website, but the connections will depart once every hour throughout the day, and the trip takes just under 2 hours. The direct 'Gotthard Panorama Express' trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona also take just under 2 hours. The boat ride on Lake Lucerne takes about 2.5 hours.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) July 06, 2017 20:10
      Chocolate Train

      For the Chocolate Train excursion, reservations are required as a supplement to the rail pass.

      The Chocolate Train excursion is a roundtrip between Montreux and Broc, starting in Montreux. On the way from Montreux to Broc, the train will make a stop in Gruyères. When you get off the train in Gruyères, you'll be taken by bus to the actual village there. The trip includes free admission to the cheese factory there in the village. After a couple hours in Gruyères, the bus would take you to Broc, where you'd visit the Cailler-Nestlé Chocolate Factory. After a couple of hours at the factory in Broc, you would then take the train back down Montreux.

      When booking passholder reservations for the Chocolate Train on our website, you would enter 'Montreux' and 'Broc' as your city-pair. Therefore, you would just search from 'Montreux' to 'Broc', and then even though the reservation is issued as a 'one-way', it will be valid to cover the entire roundtrip excursion, including the bus from the train station in Gruyères to the village and the bus from Gruyères to Broc, as well as admission to the cheese factory in Gruyères and the chocolate factory in Broc.
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