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Old 17.08.2006, 14:36
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Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

FACT SHEET #2 - TRANSPORT - SWISS RAILWAYS

Since the turn of the century Swiss took the railway concept and perfected it in form and function. It has the densest railway network in Europe (and most likely the world) with 122km of track per 1000 sq.km. (1)

Of that, over 3000km is owned and run by the Schweizerische Bundes Bahn (Swiss Government Railway, or SBB), with an additional 2000km run by private railways such as the BLS and RHB. Plus another 150km are mountain or cog railways.(1)Gaug es are a mixture, but primarily standard (SBB, BLS) or 1-metre (RHB, Appenzeller Bahn). The system is practically all electric, with the major rail systems having their own power stations and grid(as we found out the hard way on 22/6/2005 when all SBB trains ground to a halt). The SBB was made a government-own enterprise (SBB AG) in 1999.

Although owned and operated by several companies, the railway system is integrated and in nearly all cases cross-system journeys are covered under a single ticket.

Buying a ticket: Tickets can be bought at the ticket office if they are open, or using vending machines. The newer vending machines have english language option, and can be used to purchase most tickets variations.

NOTE: It is my experience that the SBB has the best English language competence of any Swiss organisation.

Travel Class - Swiss Railways are still a two class - 1st and 2nd. 1st is usually denoted by a yellow line running above the outside windows of the 1st class section. The difference between 1st and 2nd is usually not worth the extra, although it might sometimes be the only way you get a seat (see below- finding a seat).

Fare Grades - Full or half fare. Half fare is valid if you possess a valid half-tax card or Gleis 7. If you really use the railway system extensively, consider a GA (General Abonnement) which are expensive, but gives you unlimited travel.

Gleis 7 - Great for under 16-25. It is basically a half-tax, with free 2nd class rail travel after 7pm.

Reservations - Not usually required but sometimes recommended.

Dogs - Permitted on a leash and payment of additional fare

Bicycles - Permitted on payment of fare. Many trains have marked compartments with bicycle hooks. Some trains (namely the ICN) require a bicycle reservation, because the clown who designed them forgot to make room for cycles.

Smoking - no longer legally permitted on the SBB network.

Finding a seat - Swiss train travellers seem to be protective about their personal space. So much so that, at least outside ZH, they have perfected the art of singularly occupying 4 train seats (2 seats facing 2 seats). If you wish/need/must sit next to someone (row seating) or on the opposing bench (facing seating), it is polite to ask the encumbent traveller if the vacant seat is available.

Ticket Inspection - Express and long distance trains have almost certainly a conductor who will check your ticket. Local trains are self-enforcing - travel without a ticket at your own risk of an 80chf fine and will also register your personal details in a database. You will pay increased fines the more often you're caught riding without a valid ticket.


Trains are extremely frequent in most areas, with different timetables for Saturdays, Sundays and Public holidays.

The Swiss railway clock is practically an icon.


They seem to be amazingly accurate, and if you are one minute too late by this clock, you have usually missed your train. You can download a screensaver version from the SBB website.

Main SBB Link and Timetable: http://www.sbb.ch/en/index.htm

Some other private railway links (not exclusive, please post others).
BLS website: http://www.bls.ch/
RHB website: http://www.bls.ch/
Appenzellerbahn: http://www.appenzellerbahnen.ch/frameset.html


Train timetables (entire Switzerland and limited international train services)

Vital SBB Stats: http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/infrastrukt...r_ueberuns.htm

(1) swissinfo.org
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Last edited by litespeed; 17.08.2006 at 15:13.
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  #2  
Old 17.08.2006, 14:52
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

I think Litespeed is after some reputation points, think you've earned them today - great info

Cheers
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Old 17.08.2006, 15:01
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

And if you travel to and from work on the same stretch every day you can buy weekly, monthly or annual tickets for that stretch. Furthermore several of the major cities have formed there own tickets for unlimited use on "their" network.

Note also that there is little difference as far as tickets are concerned between train, tram, bus or ferry(with one or two exceptions). Ie your ticket is valid everywhere by all means.
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Old 17.08.2006, 15:06
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Some local networks (such as the Zürich ZVV) have a deal with Mobility such that you can get a year's subscription for CHF25 extra on a yearly ticket.

Given that Mobility is a few hundred per year, this may make sense.
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Old 17.08.2006, 15:07
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

and watch for crossing zones (or the lake) where you can unwittingly incur additional costs.
dave
Quote:
And if you travel to and from work on the same stretch every day you can buy weekly, monthly or annual tickets for that stretch. Furthermore several of the major cities have formed there own tickets for unlimited use on "their" network.

Note also that there is little difference as far as tickets are concerned between train, tram, bus or ferry(with one or two exceptions). Ie your ticket is valid everywhere by all means.
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Old 17.08.2006, 16:06
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Additional tips:

1. Be careful getting RETURN tickets form ticket machines if you are coming back on a different day. For journies up to 74km you can inadvertantly end up with a DAY-RETURN. I did this when travelling to Basel.

2. Note you only pay for your bike up for a journey up to a certain distance.

3. If you buy a Regenbogen for monthly rail travel in greater ZH. If you get a named one from the counter, it is cheaper than a transferable one from the ticket machine.

dave



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and watch for crossing zones (or the lake) where you can unwittingly incur additional costs.
dave
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  #7  
Old 17.08.2006, 16:16
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Quote:
I think Litespeed is after some reputation points, think you've earned them today - great info
Hehe...fist thing I thought when i saw the thread title.

Lightspeed: may i suggest you gather up the extra info others provide that you deem relevant and add them to your OP? That way your OP is more complete and people browsing the forum need not wade through subsequent uneven mix of information and flotsam.
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Old 17.08.2006, 16:18
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Quote:
Hehe...fist thing I thought when i saw the thread title.

Lightspeed: may i suggest you gather up the extra info others provide that you deem relevant and add them to your OP? That way your OP is more complete and people browsing the forum need not wade through subsequent uneven mix of information and flotsam.
we've discussed this matter in the "special handshake" forum...
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Old 17.08.2006, 18:45
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Quote:
Hehe...fist thing I thought when i saw the thread title.

Lightspeed: may i suggest you gather up the extra info others provide that you deem relevant and add them to your OP? That way your OP is more complete and people browsing the forum need not wade through subsequent uneven mix of information and flotsam.
Actually, when I started this rep points didn't occur to me. But all donations are greatfully accepted. Believe it or not it was Yokine's Swiss Mystery (Copyright Yokine Inc. 2006 All rights reserved) series which sparked the idea.

As Lob said, the most efficient way of consolidating such info is being discussed via 256-bit encryption.
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Old 17.08.2006, 20:11
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Quote:
Some local networks (such as the Zürich ZVV) have a deal with Mobility such that you can get a year's subscription for CHF25 extra on a yearly ticket.
What do you mean? You have to have a year abonnement and then you can add on mobility?
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Old 17.08.2006, 20:46
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Quote:
What do you mean? You have to have a year abonnement and then you can add on mobility?
Yes, it's damn good I say.

I have zones 10 and 21 so usually CHF 910 for a yearly abo.
With mobility, CHF 935

http://www.zvv.ch/mobility.asp
"Für mehr Informationen rund um das ZVV-Kombiabo für zusätzlich Fr. 25."

The difference is that per hour is an extra franc - say CHF 4 not CHF 3.
The km charge is the same.

Usual mobility charge is 190 or 290 per year, so worth considering.

All tips gratefully received
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Old 17.08.2006, 21:57
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Thanks for explaining. That is indeed good if you do not use it much. I guess it is worth 175 CHF or 175 hours.

I will see if my region has a similar thing .
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Old 18.08.2006, 00:31
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Quote:
You can download a screensaver version from the SBB website.
Ahh, yes, the beautiful clock - but only on a PC. They don't like Mac users at SBB

(Do I win 5.- CHF???)
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Old 18.08.2006, 08:46
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Quote:
Thanks for explaining. That is indeed good if you do not use it much. I guess it is worth 175 CHF or 175 hours.

I will see if my region has a similar thing .
You're welcome

http://www.mobility.ch/pages/index.c...ub=744&id=2080

"Combined rate for combined subscriptions"
ZVV, Mobilis, TNW and ZPP
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  #15  
Old 07.09.2007, 22:11
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

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Ahh, yes, the beautiful clock - but only on a PC. They don't like Mac users at SBB

(Do I win 5.- CHF???)
No longer true! There is a Mac widget of the clock. Complete with the second hand delay at 60 seconds.
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Old 10.09.2007, 06:42
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

The second hand takes ca. 58 seconds to complete a revolution. It then pauses until the clock receives an electrical signal from the master clock. This enables all SBB clocks to be synchronised, changing the minute at exactly the same moment.

Any screensaver, or the clock shown on the SBB website , is a simulation which actually uses the clock on your PC. Of course, this is not synchronised with the SBB time.
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Old 10.09.2007, 08:18
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

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The second hand takes ca. 58 seconds to complete a revolution. It then pauses until the clock receives an electrical signal from the master clock. This enables all SBB clocks to be synchronised, changing the minute at exactly the same moment.

Any screensaver, or the clock shown on the SBB website , is a simulation which actually uses the clock on your PC. Of course, this is not synchronised with the SBB time.
my life is now complete ...
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Old 10.09.2007, 08:32
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

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No longer true! There is a Mac widget of the clock. Complete with the second hand delay at 60 seconds.
and Mac versions of both screensavers
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Old 10.09.2007, 09:23
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

If you want to get REALLY nerdy then you can even have a screensaver where many different types of trains (including many Swiss trains) make their way across your screen (looks particularly cool if you have a multi-screen setup):
MM Railway Screensaver
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Old 10.09.2007, 10:02
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Re: Fact Sheet #2 - Swiss Railways

Should you want a freeware version of that screensaver with only Swiss trains then here's one which was created for their 150th anniversary in 1997*.

http://www.fsz.bme.hu/traffic/zip/sbb.zip

*Those armed with a calculator, spreadsheet or an abacus can now ascertain when the first Swiss train, called the Spanish Brötli Bahn, ran between Baden and Zürich. (another amazing vital statistic for this fact sheet )
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