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Confusion on Bernina Express Reservation, from chur to tirano?


Dear fellow travelers,

As a student from Stuttgart, I'm excited to be embarking on my first backpacking adventure using a Eurail Pass. However, I could use some help with a bit of confusion about the reservation process for the Bernina Express.

I've added Chur to Tirano on my pass, and the Eurail website shows that I'm ready to board and can buy a seat reservation if I like, but it's not required. On the other hand, the Bernina Express website states that a seat reservation and public transport ticket are necessary for a fee, which can be purchased up to two months before the travel date. The tickets are not linked to the seat reservation and can be used independently.

Now, here's where it gets tricky. Reservations for the day are completely booked, and I'm not sure whether to try and book a reservation or enjoy the journey without one. I've attached pictures of the Eurail and Bernina Express websites for your reference.

As seasoned travelers, I'm hoping you can share your experiences and offer some helpful advice. Any tips would be much appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your help.

 

Eurail site

 

 

Bernina site

 

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Best answer by Al_G 5 May 2023, 20:35

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9 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Bernina Express consists of a set of panorama coaches which are all compulsory paid reservation.

These coaches are then hauled by a 3 car unit with 1st and 2nd class seating that has no reservations or extra charge. You are free to travel in this portion of the train with just your pass.

 

There are also many regular connections Chur - Tirano through the day that run on the same exact route, these also require no reservation or additional fee.

 So 1st and 2nd class seating unit windows are not like this!!

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

No, that is a 1st class panorama coach.

The unit hauling it is one of these

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.swissrailways.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fswissrailways.com_scenic_journeys_berninaexpress_summer_1.jpg&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=d03f2154fcf3019742457becf1258a46ff33f340a594c6fd598a464aefa207ee&ipo=images

such a pity!

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

If you want to make nice photos you better use the reservation free coaches or regional trains where you can pull down the windows. The reservation free coaches and regional trains are usually also less crowded. 

Hey, when i want to book the train from Chur to Tirano, it says that the carrier is PE 951 Panorama Express.

  • Is this the Bernina Express, or another train company? 
  • Does the Panorama Express has a guaranteed panorama view even if you have a second class ticket? If not, how can i have a place with ‘panorama view’ and what are the charges for such?
  • What is the extra supplement that needs to be paid at the station? What does that mean and how much is that?
  • I also have an option to go with a local train that stops in Samedan and Pontresina. Is it worth it as opposed to the bernina express?

Hope to hear from you guys. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Well everything is explained right above your post…

PE simply means Panorama Express → Bernina Express

You need to pay 26 CHF for a seat reservation on the panorama carriages (book well in advance). This is the “supplement”. Not worth the cost honestly as these carriages are always full… either :

  • travel on the reservation-free carriages at the front of the Bernina Express : nice carriages, pull-down windows, less crowded
  • take the hourly regional trains via Samedan and Pontresina : same carriages. In summer some trains between Pontresina and Tirano have open-air carriages (AW symbol on SBB app/sbb.ch)
Userlevel 3

Here are all trains with the open-air carriages listed: https://www.rhb.ch/de/erlebniswelt-bahn/erlebnisfahrten/offene-aussichtswagen

I can highly recommend them (as long as the weather is good of course). Don't expect high comfort (you get a wooden bench) but the view is spectacular.

Hey, when i want to book the train from Chur to Tirano, it says that the carrier is PE 951 Panorama Express.

  • Is this the Bernina Express, or another train company? 
  • Does the Panorama Express has a guaranteed panorama view even if you have a second class ticket? If not, how can i have a place with ‘panorama view’ and what are the charges for such?
  • What is the extra supplement that needs to be paid at the station? What does that mean and how much is that?
  • I also have an option to go with a local train that stops in Samedan and Pontresina. Is it worth it as opposed to the bernina express?

Hope to hear from you guys. 

Hi! please follow the previous conversation for the information on how panaroma (first class) compartments look like. If you have eurail pass and if you want to reserve for the first class or panaroma view comaprtments go to this link (Bernina Express - Shop (rhb.ch)) check the availability your suitable dates. Here are the prices and time table of panbaromic express trains for your reference

 

 

Once after checing the availability and selecting the seat of your preference, select eurail pass option under “reduction” section and pay the extra fee for first class. Here is the reference for you how does it look like!

Lastly, add the same train (same date, time and route as your first class reservation) on your eurail pass app.

Have a nice day

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