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.
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 31 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. Who should I contact to book travel for a group of 10 or more people?
A. For groups of 10 or more traveling together please fill out our Group Department form for assistance. If you know what you’re looking for, you can also request a quote online from our Group Department.
Q. How can I find the cheapest train tickets?
A. There are two ways you can ensure you get the best price. The most effective way is to book your train ticket(s) in advance. Many rail carriers operating high speed trains or night trains make a limited number of cheaper seats available for advance purchase. Once those seats have been sold or the purchase window has passed, prices go up. That’s why we recommend booking 60 to 90 days prior to the train departure, especially if you plan on traveling during peak season (summer and holidays).
The other way to ensure you get the best rate is to correctly indicate the composition and number of your traveling party when requesting your fares and schedules. This will allow us to determine eligibility for some reduced fares such as child, youth or senior fares when offered by the rail carrier.
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 much luggage can I take on the train?
A. Technically, you’re not restricted in terms of luggage. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to carry your bags through the train station and onto the train. 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 such can be stored in luggage racks found near the train door entrance.
Be aware that you are responsible for your luggage. The railways assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft of baggage carried on board.
When traveling on a Eurostar, Thalys, or TGV train, you are limited to two large items per traveller (one large item per child on Eurostar trains), maximum 85cm (33 inches) in any one dimension, plus one small item of hand luggage.
Your bag(s) must be properly labeled with your first and last name. In general, it’s a good idea to keep luggage tags on your baggage for easy identification.
Q. Where can I find specific information regarding the services offered on the train I'll be taking?
A. We try to provide you with as many details about your train trip as possible. When you’re searching for train fares and schedules, click on the train numbers listed on the results page. Choose the class of service you prefer to sit in and you’ll be able to see all onboard services offered.
Q. What should I do if a strike has been announced in the country I’m traveling to?
A. Typically, a strike only affects a few trains along certain routes. If a strike is called within a country, you may continue your travels if there are train services operating. If your train is affected by a strike, railway officials typically provide accommodations for either alternate train, or in some cases, bus transportation.
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a strike, and alternate transportation has not been offered or if you decline the alternate transportation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used Due to strike” before the original train departure time. Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.
This process will allow you to submit that train ticket/reservation for a refund. Please be sure that all refund requests are received by our Customer Relations department within 30-days of the train departure date.
Q. Are the train tickets you send me the actual tickets, or do I need to exchange them at the station?
A. If you selected the paper delivery option, then yes – the travel documents you receive from us in the mail are your actual train tickets. Do not lose them, because we cannot replace them.
Only the original paper ticket will be accepted onboard the train. No other document such as a print out of the email invoice can be used in lieu of the original paper train ticket.
Q. What should I do If I've already bought my rail pass, and now want to add another country?
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. Depending on how much you plan to travel in the additional country, it may be more cost effective to purchase regular train tickets for those trips.
The only exception is if you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you ordered your rail pass. In this case, 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. How do I create a Rail Europe account?
A. You can simply click the ’Login’ button found on the top right-hand side of our homepage and select ’create an account’ to register on our site. If you are booking with us, you will also be presented with the option to register during checkout.
Q. I understand that some of the train platforms in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy now have gates. How do I get to my train?
A. Many train stations in the Netherlands and the Brussels Airport Station in Belgium now have platforms with entry/exit gates. To enter or exit from the train’s platform, you will need to pass through these gates that are controlled with a bar code reader.
Most paper tickets and e-tickets and all Eurail Pass covers have a square barcode which can be scanned at the entry/exit point of the platform. Just hold the bar code on your travel document to the scanner on the illuminated area on the gate and pass through the gate.
Some of the high traffic train stations in Italy, such as Milan Centrale, Roma Termini and Firenze Santa Maria Novella stations now have entry/exit gates. Access through these gates are exclusively reserved for traveller’s holding a ticket. It is suggested that you have your paper or electronic tickets ready to present upon arriving at these security gates.