Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Due to the current global pandemic, Rail Europe is taking all precautionary measures to keep our employees and communities safe. Electronic passes (Swiss Travel Pass, Britrail England and Renfe) are still available for purchase. We have temporarily suspended the sale, printing and shipping of all paper travel documents (including EURAIL).
Swiss Half Fare Card
This card provides savings up to 50% off for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland
- 50% discount on most trains, buses and boats for one month
- Issued as a paper document
- Discounts off 1st and 2nd class travel
- Free Swiss Family Card: Children under 16 travel for free with a parent or legal guardian
WING SHAN Y
How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes can be booked for travel in one specific country or you can choose one of a few pre-selected country/region combinations. Extensive travel plans? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering train travel in 33 different countries - including Great Britain.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service selected, passenger type, and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. Are there discounts on train tickets?
A. Yes. Discounts are available for select train tickets. some rail carriers offer advance purchase discounts for those who like to book early. In addition, youth, child, and/or senior discounts are offered by some European rail carriers. When you begin your ticket search, be sure to enter in any applicable passenger data so that we can provide you with the best fares for your journey.
Q. I made a mistake when I ordered my rail pass. How can I correct it?
A. Once your rail pass has been printed, it is not possible to modify it. If you absolutely need to do it, you can pay a 15% penalty and a 7% processing fee to exchange it. If you catch the mistake and call us right away - prior to your rail pass being printed, we may be able to modify it for you. If you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you ordered your rail pass, you can exchange your original pass at full value and use it towards the new one, with no fee or penalty incurred. Read more about the Rail Protection Plan™ coverage and how to file a claim.
Q. What if I have a group of 10 or more purchasing rail passes?
A. Please contact our Groups Department who can arrange customized travel solutions perfect for your travellers.
Q. Can I book a rail pass and a seat reservation at the same time?
A. Absolutely, and we encourage it. Once you’ve added the pass you want to your booking, you will be prompted to make seat reservations for trains you wish to travel on. Alternatively, you can visit the homepage and search schedules, just be sure to check the "I have a rail pass" box.
We always recommend buying your reservations before you depart for Europe because high speed and night trains often have a limited number of seats set aside for rail pass holders, and these seats tend to sell out. So the earlier you secure your reservation, the better.
Q. What happens if I board a train with my rail pass but forgot to purchase a reservation?
A. We suggest advising the conductor as soon as possible of the situation and purchase the required reservation. If you’re traveling on a train that requires a reservation you could be fined.
Q. What types of sleeping compartments or accommodations are available on overnight trains?
A. There are Second class, First class, and on some overnight trains, Premier class accommodations.
In Second class, you can relax in a reclining seat, a ‘couchette’ that is a shared compartment with up to 6 beds, or a compartment with 3 to 4 beds.
In First class, you’ll share a more relaxing locking compartment with one or two beds and a wash basin in the compartment.
Lastly, on some trains, you can book a Premier class ticket for a great night of sleep with private, lockable accommodations for one or two, a private shower and toilet, and includes breakfast and on some trans, dinner.
Sleeping accommodations vary by train type and by route. Be sure to read the product details for the overnight train you’re interested in to see what that train offers in each class of service.
Q. How do I use the bonuses that come with rail passes?
A. Rail Pass travel bonuses must be redeemed locally.
There are two types of bonuses. Free bonuses (such as a free airport transfer) require the use of a travel day on your pass. If all travel days have been used on your rail pass you will not be able to take advantage of any more free bonuses. Discount bonuses do not require you to use a travel day, but do require that your pass still be within its validity period. In other words, even if you’ve used up all your days on a pass, you can still claim discounted bonuses as long as the pass validity period has not expired.
The exception to this rule is the Swiss Travel Pass. Although a discounted bonus doesn’t require you to use a travel day on your Swiss Travel Pass, the pass must still be valid and you must not have used up all your travel days.
Q. What do I do with my luggage?
A. Once on board you’ll need to find a place to put your bag(s). Small and medium sized bags typically fit on racks located above the seats. Larger suitcases and items can be stored in racks found near the train door entrance.
In addition, you’re responsible for your luggage. The railways assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft of baggage carried on board.
If you’re traveling on Eurostar, Thalys or a TGV, you’re limited to two large items per traveller (maximum 85cm in any one dimension), plus one small item of hand luggage. On most high speed trains there’s room for luggage above the seats and for larger items at the end of each coach.
Be advised that when traveling on Eurostar, Thalys or any French train, you must properly label your bag(s) with your first and last name. In general, it is a good idea to keep luggage tags on your baggage for easy identification.
Q. Where can I see the exchange and refund conditions of my train ticket?
A. When browsing fares on our website, you can read a brief description of each fare flexibility level, and then see the full exchange and refund conditions for each fare.
Once you have booked a train ticket with us, its exchange and refund rules will be indicated in your Rail Europe booking confirmation email, as well as printed with your train ticket and/or on the ticket jacket in the case of paper tickets. Please note that train tickets must be received for exchange or refund within the allowed time frame mentioned in the exchange and refund conditions.
Q. What’s the difference between a seat reservation and a train ticket?
A. A train ticket is a travel document that allows you to board a train for a journey, but does not necessarily guarantee an accommodation (seat/sleeper) assigned to you on board. A reservation guarantees you a specific accommodation on a specific train.
In many cases, train tickets are issued as combined ticket and reservation: you receive one travel document that indicates the specific train and seat assignment. This is the case for most high speed trains such as Eurostar, Thalys and TGV, as well as for night trains.
In some other cases, you may receive a train ticket and a separate travel document for your reservation.
By itself, a reservation can never be used to board a train. It must be used in conjunction with an open train ticket, as we’ve just described, or with a rail pass.