Bikes on Swiss trains

tgotb
tgotb Posts: 4,714
edited September 2013 in Commuting chat
Anyone have any experience of taking bikes on local trains in Switzerland? The idea would be to do one-way rides from a base with decent rail connections (maybe somewhere like Andermatt) and then get the train back at the end of the day, so booking in advance would be sub-optimal...
Pannier, 120rpm.

Comments

  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,547
    I can email a customer in Switzerland and ask the question for you.
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Awesome, thanks :-)
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    http://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-ti ... ckets.html

    Most trains have place for bikes. They're often banned on commuter trains due to space but if you check the timetable it is clear.
  • qwertzy
    qwertzy Posts: 5
    Single day passes are 18.- swiss francs for a bike. Some trains at peak hours (generally intercity or ICN) require pre-booking at 5.-.

    If the single half price ticket for your journey is less than 18 chf then you can get that instead.

    This is a link to the info: http://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/c ... -trip.html

    Have fun, that's a fantastic area. You can get a train to the other side of the oberalp-pass to the Rhine valley which

    is beautiful too.
  • qwertzy
    qwertzy Posts: 5
    schweiz wrote:
    http://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/tickets-for-switzerland/bike-tickets.html

    Most trains have place for bikes. They're often banned on commuter trains due to space but if you check the timetable it is clear.


    :D beat me to it
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    The carriage for bikes has a dozen or so hooks so unless you're really unlucky, there will be space for your bike. You do have to hang your bike up by the wheel though so maybe don't bring deep section carbon rims.
  • TommyEss
    TommyEss Posts: 1,855
    Local trains are fine outside of commuter hours - the fast intercity trains often require you to reserve a space - ask at the station ticket office - they're very helpful. Don't get caught without a ticket or a bike ticket (heavy fines) and make sure you're there in good time - they leave on time every* time!


    *Last time I was on the SBB, I remember looking at the platform clock, and as the second hand hit the top of the hour, I felt a slight lurch, by 2 seconds past, we were moving!
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    if you want to use the train, take a look here too ... http://www.stc.co.uk/index.html
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    TommyEss wrote:
    Local trains are fine outside of commuter hours - the fast intercity trains often require you to reserve a space - ask at the station ticket office - they're very helpful. Don't get caught without a ticket or a bike ticket (heavy fines) and make sure you're there in good time - they leave on time every* time!


    *Last time I was on the SBB, I remember looking at the platform clock, and as the second hand hit the top of the hour, I felt a slight lurch, by 2 seconds past, we were moving!

    Last time I caught the train into Luzern, they apologised on arrival for being 2-3 minutes late for a service that originated some 100 km away and went over a 1000m high mountain pass in the snow!
  • il_principe
    il_principe Posts: 9,155
    Oh you've got me started on Swiss trains now. They are F*cking AWESOME. All the trains have loads of bike space, and I mean loads. Yep book on intercity, but local trains are fine, especially in the more rural areas. Imagine there is some great riding around Andermatt. Went to the Swiss Alps last August. Train from Geneva through the Alps to Interlaken, a few days on Lake Brienz and then up to Murren. There looks to be some great riding around there. The Tour de Suisse went through Brienz and Meiringen this year. I imagine that the ride from Meiringen to Andermatt would be great.
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    It's a big playground...

    From Andermatt....

    Susten - Grimsel - Furka

    Gotthard - Lukmanier - Oberalp

    Furka - Grimsel - Nufenen - Gotthard

    Susten - Brünig - My House - Brünig - Grimsel - Furka

    Susten - Grimsel – Nufenen – Lukmanier – Oberalp

    or jump on a train to Sierre - Val de Anniviers, Crans Montana and more
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,547
    Looks like it has been very well answered already but got this back from my customer:
    Now: it’s very easy taking bicycles in trains. No extra pre-booking necessary. Each train station have a ticket corner. There is a button to buy for the ticket himself and a extra button “ticket bicycle”. The languages on the screen he can move from German to English language also. We are international! Most locally trains have one railway carriage for bicycles.
    If he’s way comes near to us, he is welcome to visit us.
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    schweiz wrote:
    Susten - Grimsel – Nufenen – Lukmanier – Oberalp
    :shock:

    Thanks for all the info everyone, sounds like it should all work well. There are indeed some great roads in that area, I particularly like the idea of doing some of those loops, with the safety net of being able to bale out and get the train back if it all goes wrong...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • il_principe
    il_principe Posts: 9,155
    Also if you have a smartphone then get the SBB App. You can buy tickets online and store them on the phone. The ticket person then just scans your phone screen with his magic device and your done. It's easy to use and hassle free. Dunno why more train serivces don't use it. Last time I took the train for work I had about 8 different tickets to sort through...

    http://www.sbb.ch/en/timetable/mobile-timetables/mobile-apps.html
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    Also if you have a smartphone then get the SBB App. You can buy tickets online and store them on the phone. The ticket person then just scans your phone screen with his magic device and your done. It's easy to use and hassle free. Dunno why more train serivces don't use it. Last time I took the train for work I had about 8 different tickets to sort through...

    http://www.sbb.ch/en/timetable/mobile-timetables/mobile-apps.html

    But if you want to buy tickets 'on the go' then you'll need wi-fi or a data roaming plan to use the app. If you do buy a ticket using the app, you have to have separate photo ID (or a valid SBB Travel Card) and you have to have bought the ticket before the departure time of the train. The advantage is that you can buy tickets from anywhere to anywhere using all modes of transport on one ticket rather than buying separate train, bus and ship tickets and it seems to work out cheaper.

    as for the big tour I suggested, here is the inspiration....

    http://www.alpenbrevet.ch/index.cfm?pageID=85
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Just back from this trip, many thanks for all the advice! Only had to take my bike on the train once, and that was very straightforward (glad I knew to buy the extra 1/2 ticket!) Looks like the Post buses take bikes too, which adds to the possibilities.

    Favourite climbs were the Nufenen (from Valais) the Lukmanier (from Disentis) and the West side of the Oberalp (it starts right in the town, and I spent a very pleasant evening doing reps of it after after a day's skiing in Saas Fee). Andermatt was a great base, but if I stayed there again I might go slightly earlier in the year; the area is a bit of a weather trap (which I guess is why the skiing is so good) and there were times when it was hosing down with rain in Andermatt, but fine and sunny in both Valais and Ticino.

    If I'd done my research properly I'd have realised most of the Gotthard pass is cobbled; descending it in the wet, in no visibility and with numb hands, was rather interesting. There is an alternate tarmac route, but it's quite busy at weekends, and I didn't fancy it in the fog.

    I passed three guys in Clif Bar kit on the long drag up from Biasca to Airolo; they jumped on my wheel, and we ended up riding all the way up to Airolo together. Turned out it was the three head honchos of Clif Bar, doing a credit card tour along the length of the Alps. Thoroughly nice guys, and when they asked whether I'd heard of their products they were delighted when I reached into my pocket and pulled out one of their bars :-) Apart from that, almost everyone else I saw was riding fairly loaded-up flat bar touring bikes, and going relatively slowly.

    Roads were fairly empty, and drivers considerate; the only car to cut me up was a British Ferrari, which I've a nagging suspicion has also cut me up on the Embankment. Although the car park at the top of the Nufenen was full of British petrolheads, with a strong smell of burning clutch, I didn't really notice them on the road.

    Thoroughly recommend the area for cycling, I'll definitely go back there again!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • TGOTB wrote:
    Just back from this trip, many thanks for all the advice! Only had to take my bike on the train once, and that was very straightforward (glad I knew to buy the extra 1/2 ticket!) Looks like the Post buses take bikes too, which adds to the possibilities.
    Do you have to buy a 1/2 stamp for that? :)
    Cycling in (most of) Europe is so hassle-free compared to the UK. :cry:
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Wunnunda wrote:
    TGOTB wrote:
    Just back from this trip, many thanks for all the advice! Only had to take my bike on the train once, and that was very straightforward (glad I knew to buy the extra 1/2 ticket!) Looks like the Post buses take bikes too, which adds to the possibilities.
    Do you have to buy a 1/2 stamp for that? :)
    Cycling in (most of) Europe is so hassle-free compared to the UK. :cry:

    You have to pay extra, I don't recall how much. I did notice that a lot of the Post buses actually have bike racks on the back; even when they don't, their website says they'll take bikes if there's space. I get the impression that (unlike trains) you can buy tickets on the bus.

    Some of the driving's a bit scary, especially cars with British and Ticino plates, but they seem to give cyclists plenty of space; they're more a danger to themselves. Crossing the Furka was far scarier in a car than on a bike!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    TGOTB wrote:
    Favourite climbs were the Nufenen (from Valais) the Lukmanier (from Disentis) and the West side of the Oberalp (it starts right in the town, and I spent a very pleasant evening doing reps of it after after a day's skiing in Saas Fee).

    I usually ride most of those the other way i.e the Lukmanier from Biasca and the Oberalp from Disentis. I rode the Nufenen from Airolo this year for the first time. It was the third and final pass of the day after the Furka (from Ullrichen - I really like that climb) and Gotthard (from Andermatt - nice and easy). I f****** hated it but the fact the sun was beating down didn't help! It's a toss up between that and the Susten from from Wassen which I hate most although I think the Susten wins.

    I must admit I do like the Nufenen from Ullrichen, VS.

    Did you do the Grimsel?
    TGOTB wrote:
    If I'd done my research properly I'd have realised most of the Gotthard pass is cobbled; descending it in the wet, in no visibility and with numb hands, was rather interesting. There is an alternate tarmac route, but it's quite busy at weekends, and I didn't fancy it in the fog.

    The main road is not too bad, even with traffic. You're usually going as fast as the rest of them anyway but I understand your concerns in the fog. You never completely escape the cobbles on the descent into Airolo though as you have to turn off before the main road turns into and Autostrasse/Autobahn.
    TGOTB wrote:
    Thoroughly recommend the area for cycling, I'll definitely go back there again!

    Say hello next time!
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Didn't have time for the Grimsel, unfortunately. Furka/Grimsel/Susten will be top of my list for next time; from what you say it sounds like that should definitely be done clockwise?

    Few bits of the descent from Lukmanier were slightly unpleasant; where the road is constructed from concrete slabs with what felt like massive holes between. Couldn't decide whether to slow right down and heat the brakes up, hit them hard, or try to bunny-hop them, so I ended up doing a fairly pathetic combination of the three. Aside from that its a great descent, you get to cover a lot of distance in very little time...

    Great via ferrata above the Schöllenen gorge if you're into that sort of thing, and the Gotthard fortress is pretty amazing.

    I'll definitely give you a shout next time!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • schweiz
    schweiz Posts: 1,644
    TGOTB wrote:
    Didn't have time for the Grimsel, unfortunately. Furka/Grimsel/Susten will be top of my list for next time; from what you say it sounds like that should definitely be done clockwise?

    I think the more 'traditional' way is anti-clockwise so start in Innertkirchen/Meiringen and Grimsel-Furka-Susten (which is the Alpenbrevet Silver route) or start in Wassen Susten-Grimsel-Furka. You could start in Ullrichen and do Furka-Susten-Grimsel although that would be a few hundred more metres of climbing. Saying that, I prefer the Susten from Innertkirchen and the climb up the Grimsel from Gletsch is a lot shorter. Another good route is to start in Andermatt, descend to Wassen, do the Susten with fresh legs, then the Grimsel, then the Nufenen, then finish on the Tremola cobbles of the Gotthard or if you're feeling it, stay on the tarmac to the top.
    TGOTB wrote:
    Few bits of the descent from Lukmanier were slightly unpleasant; where the road is constructed from concrete slabs with what felt like massive holes between. Couldn't decide whether to slow right down and heat the brakes up, hit them hard, or try to bunny-hop them, so I ended up doing a fairly pathetic combination of the three. Aside from that its a great descent, you get to cover a lot of distance in very little time...

    Yeah, the top of the Furka into Andermatt is similar. Relax, unweight the saddle and ride over them quickly is my advice.