With a Eurail Select Pass, can we just get on the William Tell Express ferry at no extra cost? Where do you catch the train after boat arrives?

We have Eurail Select 6 day Pass for Switzerland Italy Austria Hungary and reserved on William Tell Train from Lucerne to Bellizona. 9.44am 3118 car 11. We wanted to go on the ferry down the Lake and then [ it says seemlessly] get on the train. Do we just show the Pass to get on the ferry [no cost?] then meet the train at the foot of the lake? What ferry do we catch? The reservation e-site did not seem to offer the option of the ferry.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 01, 2015 20:18
    Thank you for your question, Gordon.

    The William Tell scenic route consists of a boat across Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Flüelen and a train from Flüelen to either Bellinzona or Locarno. If you wish, you can get off in Bellinzona and switch to a train that will take you to Lugano. Technically, reservations aren't required on any part of this journey. Therefore, the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    You would only purchase reservations if you'd like to have the "William Tell experience", which includes a "welcome package" on the boat from Lucerne to Flüelen and a seat in an observation coach (with panoramic views) on the connecting train from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Locarno. The "welcome package" consists of a William Tell souvenir, a meal voucher, a refreshment voucher, and a travel guide. The meal voucher is worth CHF 19 (locally) otherwise.

    The reservations we issue for the "William Tell experience" are inclusive of the boat from Lucerne to Flüelen and the connecting train from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Locarno. Without these reservations, you would not be able to sit in the observation coach on the train from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Locarno. To purchase these reservations, you would click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage and enter 'Lucerne-Boat Wmtell' (instead of just 'Lucerne') as your departure city and either 'Bellinzona' or 'Locarno' as your arrival city. The results of your search would only show a departure time from Lucerne and an arrival time into Bellinzona or Locarno; however, this would actually account for both the boat and the train that connects from it. When you pull up the results of your search, the departure 'station' in Lucerne would be labeled 'Luzern Sgv Wm Tell'.

    If you just do a search from 'Lucerne' (instead of 'Lucerne-Boat Wmtell') to Bellinzona or Locarno, it would only display schedules for the direct trains that go straight from Lucerne to Bellinzona or Lucerne to Locarno, and you would not be issued reservations for the boat.

    If you wish to take the branch of this route that heads to Lugano, you can check schedules for the non-reservable trains from Bellinzona to Lugano by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and entering the cities. Since you wouldn't be purchasing actual reservations for this segment, you would not indicate that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass when you're prompted. You can also check schedules for the trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Flüelen to Locarno by following this same procedure.

    Conveniently, the trains from Flüelen to Bellinzona or Locarno depart right from where the boats arrive into from Lucerne.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 14, 2017 19:17

      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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