FIP trip to Switzerland

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the sniper

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Hello folks. This month I'm taking a short trip to Switzerland using FIP coupons, I'm going out via France and coming back via Germany. I've just got a few things I want to ask/confirm as I haven't done much FIP travelling.

1. This seems like a stupid question, but travelling out on the TGV with FIP Coupon and seat reservation, am I right to assume that you don't have to 'validate' your seat reservation ticket in the 'Compostez votre billet' machine, you can just get on?

2. Do you have to sit in the seat you've reserved or like here are you free to move around if other seats are free?

3. Coming back I intend to go from Basel to Brussels (changing at Frankfurt Airport) by DB ICE. If I travel from Basel Bad Bf, would I need to use my Swiss Coupon or just the DB one?

4. Just to confirm, I can travel on the cross border DB service between Frankfurt and Brussels using DB and SNCB coupons, without reservation, can't I? I can't find anything to say there's a global fare.

5. One of the days I'm there I'm thinking of hanging around somewhere where there's a lot of freight, would I be right in thinking that the Gotthard Pass and/or BLS route to Italy have a lot of freight, and can anyone recommend any scenic stations along these lines from which to 'spectate'?

6. Just to confirm, an SP Coupon is valid on the Rhaetian Railway route into Tirano, even though it's in Italy? I believe FIP jurisdiction is done on infrastructure rather than borders normally, but I'd like to confirm it rather than be caught out.

Thanks in advance for any answers. If anybody's got any suggestions for things to visit in Switzerland, like railway museums, I'd be appreciate seeing them.
 
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1E05

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The only answer I know is on ALL TGV trains you are required to take the particular seat and sit in it. This is because the seats do not display seat reservation info.
 

33056

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Hope the following helps:
3. Coming back I intend to go from Basel to Brussels (changing at Frankfurt Airport) by DB ICE. If I travel from Basel Bad Bf, would I need to use my Swiss Coupon or just the DB one?
Just need the DB one from Basel Bad.
4. Just to confirm, I can travel on the cross border DB service between Frankfurt and Brussels using DB and SNCB coupons, without reservation, can't I? I can't find anything to say there's a global fare.
Haven't been on that recently but this was what I was told last time I did travel on it:
"So long as you have an SNCB & DB coupon and InterRail valid in both countries all appropriately dated then you are fine for the cross-border ICE. Unlike the old days there are no supplements on ICEs with free coupons or InterRail."
I would get a seat reservation for preference as these trains can be busy and beware if you have any vital connections such as Eurostar off the Frankfurt / Brussels ICEs, it is not the most reliable of services and has had its fair share of farces.

5. One of the days I'm there I'm thinking of hanging around somewhere where there's a lot of freight, would I be right in thinking that the Gotthard Pass and/or BLS route to Italy have a lot of freight, and can anyone recommend any scenic stations along these lines from which to 'spectate'?
Gotthard is better than the Lötschberg route IMO, try Erstfeld and have a walk along the footpath to the south of the station along the start of the climb. Not so scenic but somewhere like Pratteln (near Basel) or Killwangen-Spreitenbach (near Zürich) see a lot of freight.

6. Just to confirm, an SP Coupon is valid on the Rhaetian Railway route into Tirano, even though it's in Italy? I believe FIP jurisdiction is done on infrastructure rather than borders normally, but I'd like to confirm it rather than be caught out.
Yes it is but there is a 5CHF supplement to travel in the "panorama" coaches where provided see here

If anybody's got any suggestions for things to visit in Switzerland, like railway museums, I'd be appreciate seeing them.
Verkehrshaus Luzern, there are a couple of nice preserved lines but they don't start running until later in the year.
 

the sniper

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I would get a seat reservation for preference as these trains can be busy and beware if you have any vital connections such as Eurostar off the Frankfurt / Brussels ICEs, it is not the most reliable of services and has had its fair share of farces.

I am going from the ICE to Eurostar, but I'm due to arrive into Brussels Midi at 17:35 and depart on E* at 19:52. I'd hoped that'd be enough of a gap?!

Thanks for all the info though chaps. Can anyone confirm the answer to the first question? It seems obvious but I don't want to end up with the French equivalent of a penalty fare! :lol:
 
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eastwestdivide

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...5. One of the days I'm there I'm thinking of hanging around somewhere where there's a lot of freight, would I be right in thinking that the Gotthard Pass and/or BLS route to Italy have a lot of freight, and can anyone recommend any scenic stations along these lines from which to 'spectate'?
...

Would recommend the Gotthard, as the base tunnel is not far off completion, so now's the time to experience the "over the top" route while it's busy.

There's a walking path well signposted down the hill from Göschenen to Wassen, or else the post bus for an easy ride. Wassen churchyard for triple the value, as the trains pass you three times as they weave to and fro to gain height up the valley.
My own efforts from 2013 here.
 

306024

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Thanks for all the info though chaps. Can anyone confirm the answer to the first question? It seems obvious but I don't want to end up with the French equivalent of a penalty fare! :lol:

I've never 'composted', as depending what 'box' you are dating you can't get the stamp in the right place. No problems (so far.....). As for the seat reservation, well it would do no harm.
 
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1. This seems like a stupid question, but travelling out on the TGV with FIP Coupon and seat reservation, am I right to assume that you don't have to 'validate' your seat reservation ticket in the 'Compostez votre billet' machine, you can just get on?

2. Do you have to sit in the seat you've reserved or like here are you free to move around if other seats are free?

The seat reservation / supplement obtained at the booking office is like a travel ticket with the 'Compostez votre billet' message on it, so yes. I've never reserved in advance in the UK, if you are doing that, so unsure what sort of ticket is issued here from the various agents. Unless the train is very empty it is best to sit in the allocated seat as the inspectors can get quite shirty and there may be passengers joining later on in the journey.
 
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Have done the trips you're making several times. My advice:

1. The reservation ticket does need to be composted before boarding the train. If you are travelling Paris-Geneva, note that one actually doesn't need coupons as it counts as a globally priced fare and is quite expensive, c. 50EUR in 2nd class. The cheaper option is to use the coupon to Bellegarde (all Geneva trains stop there), for which you will be charged a supplement of 1.50-12 EUR depending on peak/off peak and class of travel as this is only domestic travel, and then get a local train to Geneva (about 30 mins away, every hour to 90 minutes).
2. On Paris-Geneva, in practice you can swap seats on departure from Paris as there aren't any major cities between them.
3. Your DB coupon is fine, they won't check tickets until after Bad Bf.
4. The DB and SNCB/NMBS coupons are fine. I wouldn't bother with a reservation unless you are travelling around a holiday time.
5. I would add Fluelen to the list: there you get some nice lake scenery to admire between the freight trains!
6. SP coupons are fine to Tirano. In practice, you are only about a mile from the border with CH here!

Have a good trip!
 

30907

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There's a walking path well signposted down the hill from Göschenen to Wassen, or else the post bus for an easy ride. Wassen churchyard for triple the value, as the trains pass you three times as they weave to and fro to gain height up the valley.[/URL].

Never done it, but the BLS also has a "Wanderweg" on the South ramp (not easy walking, necessarily!). Blausee-Mitholz station is in the middle of the "zig-zag" on the north ramp, but you'd have to use a rail replacement bus to reach it as the local train was withdrawn years ago. Not sure, though, how much freight now uses the base tunnel instead of the old route.
 

the sniper

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Thanks for all the further info, it's all appreciated. I should have said that outbound I'm doing St. Pancras > Lille Europe > Lyon > Bellegarde and then onto an R or RE across the border into Switzerland. This is to avoid Paris and the global fare on the TGV Lyria. It's only cost me €10.40 this way. I've included a lot of padding in my itinerary to avoid getting stranded and give me a little bit of time to have a look around if all goes to plan.

As 306024 says, I doubt there's any harm 'validating' the seat reservation, but I can't understand why you'd have to? The idea seems to be that you're putting a date of use on an open ticket so it can't be used on more than one day, which makes sense. Given that my seat reservation, which coincidentally was issued by DB UK, appears to be on DB stock and has German text, features the date of travel, the train number, departure time and carriage/seat I've got to be in, what's the point of validating it? Are they refundable if they go un-validated? :|

Thanks for the locations too chaps. :)
 

Gordon

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.

TGV:

In practice you can sit in any seat if it is free, but best done when the train is less full, or your French is good enough to be able to apologise politely and move back to your allocated seat if someone does want to sit where you have parked yourself..

Lyon - Bellegarde - Geneva:
In practice you will not need to change trains at Bellegarde if travelling Lyon - Geneva

Here's what it used to look like!:http://gwizz.zenfolio.com/p342741989/h7d68a305#h7d68a305

Basel Bad Bf:

Is located on Swiss soil but counts as Germany once you are on the station and is a DB station. In Basel you can either travel round on the DB train from Basel SBB or take a city street tram.

Gotthard:

More photo links for Wassen. In September 2013 I stayed at Fluelen and walked from Göschenen to Wassen on the railway path.
My photo results here:
http://gwizz.piwigo.com/index?/category/123-wassen_and_goeschenen_6_sept_2013

http://gwizz.piwigo.com/index?/category/122-fluelen_and_erstfeld_6_sept_2013


Lötschberg

Freight still goes over the top, but a lot of freight goes through the base tunnel, so to see all Lötschberg - Simplon route freight you need to be either side of the base tunnel entrances, ie north of Frutigen or at Brig. Brig station is a good place to watch passenger and Simplon freight trains.

Some of my Lötschberg - Simplon pictures here:
http://gwizz.zenfolio.com/p896875799
http://gwizz.zenfolio.com/p435362145



Other Swiss locations:

A typically Swiss place to go is Kiesen. It is a village on the plateau between Bern and Spiez. The station has a frequent local service, and there is a path on both sides of the line north of the station. It is a lovely place to spend a while on a nice day. There is a restaurant close to the station with outside seating where you can sit and watch trains.

http://gwizz.zenfolio.com/kiesenjun12



As has been suggested, you have missed the boat as regards all the traffic using the original mountain Lötschberg route, so you may as well concentrate on the Gotthard mountain section whilst one still can.

Killwangen Spreitenbach (west of Zurich on the line to Olten) is a mega hotspot, with freight and passenger galore. It is rare at Killwangen for there to be more than 60 seconds without a train of some sort passing

My most recent photos:
http://gwizz.piwigo.com/index?/category/104-killwangen_spreitenbach_limmattal_2_jul_2013
http://gwizz.piwigo.com/index?/category/117-killwangen_spreitenbach

Tirano:

Tirano is in Italy, but the railway is Swiss. In practice it is highly unlikely your ticket will be checked on the short final section into Tirano anyway.



.
 
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158801

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Sorry to high-jack the thread but (still related to travelling to Switzerland) if I travel on a TGV that is going from Paris to Basel I cannot use International Coupons.

But, if I alight at Mulhouse (a wholly domestic French journey) can I use SNCF International Coupons or is this still classed as a Globally Priced train ?
 

Gordon

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Sorry to high-jack the thread but (still related to travelling to Switzerland) if I travel on a TGV that is going from Paris to Basel I cannot use International Coupons.


Why not use a Zurich bound TGV and book to Zurich to get the discount?
 

158801

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D.BAhn have told me that SNCF will not allow any FIP travel or Intl Coupons between Paris and Basel - so it's the regular public rate.

Are you saying that they will allow it to Zurich - which is the same train and further than Basel and still an International journey ?

Back to the original question - will the coupons be valid to Mulhouse ?
 

SpacePhoenix

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Verkehrshaus Luzern, there are a couple of nice preserved lines but they don't start running until later in the year.

That is definitely a great place to visit, and it's a nice walk along the lake. Went there a few years ago, bus from by the train station and walked back along the lakeside.

There was a boat tour and rail trip up a mountain (Mount Rigi I think) that also made a good day out. I think it was the boat to the rack railway, one rack railway up, another down then a normal train back to Luzerne.

Another place to visit near to Luzerne is the glass blowing place in Hergiswil
 

Haywain

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D.BAhn have told me that SNCF will not allow any FIP travel or Intl Coupons between Paris and Basel - so it's the regular public rate.

Are you saying that they will allow it to Zurich - which is the same train and further than Basel and still an International journey ?

Back to the original question - will the coupons be valid to Mulhouse ?

From my experience last summer there is no problem for the internal French journey to Mulhouse where FIP coupons are accepted, but you will then need to get a regional service between there and Basel to avoid the global fare.
 
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With ref to 158 801's query, there certainly is an FIP global fare for Paris-Basel (£50 in 2nd class) so suggest contacting DB again. The full range of Lyria fares are here:

http://uk.voyages-sncf.eu/sites/rb.... Paris-Switzerland Day Trains 01 - Public.pdf

The confusion may be that Basel SNCF counts as France for tariff purposes ie. all domestic fares/railcards are valid to the 'French' station (Voies 31-35) whereas Basel SBB counts as Switzerland, ie. different fares. But the only trains that now go from France to Basel SBB are Lyrias (no sleepers or S-Bahn trains any more).

The SNCF coupon is valid to Mulhouse with just the reservation cost payable (1.5 to 13 EUR), last year I did manage to get an FIP fare for Mulhouse-Basel leg on its own from the ticket office in Dijon (I think it was 3 EUR), composted the ticket in Dijon, and stayed on the Lyria through to Basel SBB. Although noone checked the ticket.

Note that the Lyria then operates to Zurich/Bern and becomes open to all passengers with SBB tickets, ie. is not then 'reservation obligatoire'.

And everyone thinks the GB fares system is complicated....
 

Gordon

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D.BAhn have told me that SNCF will not allow any FIP travel or Intl Coupons between Paris and Basel - so it's the regular public rate.

To be fair, Paris - Basel is now TGV Lyria, not pure SNCF, which may complicate matters.

ps Sorry I'm not an FIP expert as such, but just trying to offer suggestions based on the extent of my knowledge
 

Mr_FIP

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Sorry to high-jack the thread but (still related to travelling to Switzerland) if I travel on a TGV that is going from Paris to Basel I cannot use International Coupons.

But, if I alight at Mulhouse (a wholly domestic French journey) can I use SNCF International Coupons or is this still classed as a Globally Priced train ?

Correct if you travel from Paris to Basel with TGV you are making an 'international journey' and SNCF coupons are not valid, you will have to purchase a FIP Global Fare.

HOWEVER, if you travel on the same TGV from Paris Lyon but alight at Mulhouse then you will be making a french internal journey so FIP coupons are valid. And the supplement and reservation is about 1.50euro.

So what I do from/to Paris is change trains at Mulhouse. The local service from Mulhouse to Paris is quite regular.

If the times don't work very well then why not consider travelling with TGV from Paris Est to Strasbourg and then catch a TER200 service to Basel.

On the Paris route to Germany the same applies: Travel with TGV from Paris to stuttgart - an 'international journey' and FIP coupons are not valid. But travel from Paris only as far as Strasbourg on the same TGV train and you can use FIP Coupons plus reservation and supplement.

I recommend if you request a reservation and suppliement with DB on a TGV from Paris to Mulhouse on a train that is going on to Basel/Zurich you should remind when you request the reservation that you are only making a French internal journey otherwise they may decide you need a FIP global. ---- they tried this with me once.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
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Tirano:

Tirano is in Italy, but the railway is Swiss. In practice it is highly unlikely your ticket will be checked on the short final section into Tirano anyway.

.

FYI, The 'SP' FIP Coupon is valid on the whole of the RhB including on the Lugarno <-> Tirano bus . . . . . for the bus you have to make a reservation and pay the supplement.

And just like the 'SP' coupon is valid on the full length of the 'FART' from Lucarno to Dommodosola despite the line running in both Switzerland and Italy.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
4. Just to confirm, I can travel on the cross border DB service between Frankfurt and Brussels using DB and SNCB coupons, without reservation, can't I? I can't find anything to say there's a global fare.

Yes you can - just date DB-AG and SNCB.

I travel with 1st class FIP and I have always found these services to be heavily loaded to the point with 99% of seats reserved. So what must 2nd class be like?

So I would always recommend a reservation.

Remember if you book in the quiet coach you get seats behind the driver. Usually the 1st class is at the 'Frankfurt end' of these ICEs
 
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