How to do Glacier Express route via local trains?

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5 posts
new member
Jun 12, 2019 - 11:02 PM

My 16 year old son and I are traveling from Zermatt to St. Mortiz later this month. We planned to take the Glacier Express, but there are no tickets left. It appears our alternative is taking local trains and changing in different cities along the way.

1) If we have a Swiss Travel Pass, do we need to make reservations for the local trains? Or, do we just go to the station in Zermatt and start heading towards St. Moritz?

2) Since this involves changing trains, is there enough time to get from train to train with luggage?

3) Lastly, if we will be in Zermatt the morning of June 25 and need to be in Zurich by the evening of June 27, are there alternative interesting train routes we could take? We were only going to St. Moritz because of the GEX.

Thanks, I appreciate any travel suggestions you have.

2200 posts
top member
Jun 12, 2019 - 11:25 PM in reply to Brodstravel

You will have a much more 'genuine' Swiss experience on local and regional trains - so in the view of many you have actually struck lucky!

Travelling the route of the Glacier Express is easy by regular regional trains. In the old days there was only one Glacier Express train a day that was any different to all the other trains on the line and tourists got on just fine!

Because the route is a narrow gauge line in the mountains, it is mainly single track, so it does not take much more time to achieve the Zermatt - St Moritz journey by regional trains than by Glacier Express.

The route is as follows (railway company name in bold):

Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB):

Zermatt - Visp (change) Visp - Andermatt (change) Andermatt - Disentis/Mustér

Rhätische Bahn (RhB)

Disentis/Mustér - Reichenau Tamins (change) Reichenau Tamins - St Moritz

So, as you can see you change trains four times, but they are all easy changes at small stations where it is easy to find out where the connecting train runs from. In some case you will stay on the same platform. In other cases there may be a short walk via ramps/subway acierexpress/gettingth ere

5 posts
new member
Jun 12, 2019 - 11:36 PM in reply to 1960man

Thanks, this is very helpful!

14094 posts
expert &
Jun 13, 2019 - 6:22 AM

Hi Brodstravel,

Everything is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. No need for tickets or reservations.

On your way to Zurich you could travel via Brig - Kandersteg - Spiez (Lötschberg route). Then Interlaken - Meiringen - Lucerne - Zurich (Golden Pass route). Much more scenic than the quickest trains to Zurich.

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