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About train journeis where seat reservation is not available

  • 22 September 2023
  • 12 replies
  • 166 views

Hi all,

 

I was wondering how it works when I want to travel on a train for which I cannot book a seat though I am entailed to travel with.

 

There is this EC from Bern to Domodossola which is covered by the Interrail pass but the Swiss railways do not allow for seat reservation. How does it work in such a case? Do I show up at the platform trying to board the train? What if the train is full? Is my trip guaranteed?

 

Thanks to anybody who would be able to answer.

 

Emanuele 

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Best answer by thibcabe 22 September 2023, 10:56

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Userlevel 7
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If there are no seat reservations available on the EC, you can take a Swiss train to Brig, then a regional train to Domodossola without reservation.

You can't board the EC without reservation.

Userlevel 7
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Also, the best place to search for reservations is the ÖBB website.

https://shop.oebbtickets.at/en/ticket

Add the Eurail discount where it says 1x adult, then search for ‘one way tickets and day tickets’.

The route is very busy at the moment because of problems in the Gottard tunnel and the closure of the high speed line between Italy and France. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Seat reservations are not mandatory on the EC until Domodossola, the border point. I believe you cannot make reservations for the "domestic" leg to Domodossola, at least that's what the SBB app tells me.

There is a generally a second unit coupled until Domodossola so board that one to find more seats. Check the departure boards or SBB app.

It's true that these trains are quite crowded but I've always found a seat (and never made a reservation).

Seat reservations are not really a thing within Switzerland. I've lived here all my life and never made one ! It works in a first come first served basis but there are always seats if you board at the front/rear ends, not in the middle.

If you want more advice please let us know travel date and time. These trains are busier at weekends but there is an extra train on Saturday morning.

And if you can afford the extra hour definitely take the scenic Old Lötschberg Railway (hourly RE via Kandersteg, every other hour with a guaranteed connection to Domo in Brig).

If there are no seat reservations available on the EC, you can take a Swiss train to Brig, then a regional train to Domodossola without reservation.

You can't board the EC without reservation.

I’m sorry, it’s an IC I am talking about. I am looking at the IC 6 of Thu, 16 nov 23, 15.34 hrs, from Bern to Domodossola, direct connection. When trying to book a seat only, the option is not allowed.

Seat reservations are not mandatory on the EC until Domodossola, the border point. I believe you cannot make reservations for the "domestic" leg to Domodossola, at least that's what the SBB app tells me.

There is a generally a second unit coupled until Domodossola so board that one to find more seats. Check the departure boards or SBB app.

It's true that these trains are quite crowded but I've always found a seat (and never made a reservation).

Seat reservations are not really a thing within Switzerland. I've lived here all my life and never made one ! It works in a first come first served basis but there are always seats if you board at the front/rear ends, not in the middle.

If you want more advice please let us know travel date and time. These trains are busier at weekends but there is an extra train on Saturday morning.

And if you can afford the extra hour definitely take the scenic Old Lötschberg Railway (hourly RE via Kandersteg, every other hour with a guaranteed connection to Domo in Brig).

I’m sorry, it’s an IC I am talking about. I am looking at the IC 6 of Thu, 16 nov 23, 15.34 hrs, from Bern to Domodossola, direct connection. When trying to book a seat only, the option is not allowed.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Seat reservations are not mandatory on the EC until Domodossola, the border point.

Ah, OK. The planner says it is, but it wouldn’t be the first time the planner was wrong!

Userlevel 7
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I’m sorry, it’s an IC I am talking about. I am looking at the IC 6 of Thu, 16 nov 23, 15.34 hrs, from Bern to Domodossola, direct connection. When trying to book a seat only, the option is not allowed.

This IC shows as no reservation necessary in the planner. You just get on and find a seat.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Seat reservations are indeed not needed and I guess Rail Planner is once again wrong. EC trains do not require reservations once they've crossed the border point -> Chiasso and Domodossola from Italy. The same applies to TGVs between Zurich and Basel or Geneva and Lausanne btw.

Even better then the IC6 will have loads of seats. :) Don't bother with seat reservations in Switzerland really.

Thank you both. I am new at this and I am trying to understand what are the important points. I can see how in Switzerland isn’t really a thing. It’s the same here in the Netherlands. I guess it somehow goes with the size of the country?! Anyway, I got to know what I wished so thanks!

Userlevel 7
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It varies quite a lot. In general, domestic and most international journeys within Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Benelux don’t need reservations. But there are always a couple of exceptions.

In Netherlands. You don’t need to, and can’t reserve for most trains.

If you take the Thalys (high-speed) then reservation is compulsory.

If you take the ICD (semi-high speed) then you need to pay a small supplement 

There’s a really good summary on the Seat61 website.

https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

If there are no seat reservations available on the EC, you can take a Swiss train to Brig, then a regional train to Domodossola without reservation.

You can't board the EC without reservation.

@ralderton  It is perfectly possible to travel with the EC within Switzerland and until Domodossola without seat reservation. Seat reservations are only mandatory from Domodossola when you continue in Italy. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

@ralderton  It is perfectly possible to travel with the EC within Switzerland and until Domodossola without seat reservation. Seat reservations are only mandatory from Domodossola when you continue in Italy. 

Hopefully someone from Eurail is reading can fix it, because it shows in the planner is compulsory on the EC.

Not sure who to tag for that?

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