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. Can I board the train if I forgot my rail pass but have my seat reservation?
A. While you can board the train, the conductor will make you purchase a full fare ticket on-board, and you may be fined. It’s best to keep your rail pass in a safe place with all of your travel documents to avoid this situation!
Q. Can I get off the train and get back on later using my train ticket?
A. In most cases, this is not possible. Train tickets that include a reservation are only valid for a single ride on the train for which the reservation was issued. While stepping off the train is possible if the train makes intermediary stops, you wouldn’t be allowed to resume your trip by boarding another train with the same ticket. Your train ticket is only valid on the train printed on it.
Open train tickets may be the exception. They can allow you to hop off and back on another train on a given route to continue your itinerary, as long as that new train doesn’t require or offer reservations. Special conditions do apply for breaks on regional trains, so it’s a good idea to confirm locally.
If you’re traveling with an open ticket and a reservation for your original train, you forfeit that reservation for the remaining part of your journey when you hop off. You may hop back on another train that doesn’t require a reservation, but you’d essentially be traveling with an open train ticket only and not have a reserved seat. Again, special conditions do apply for breaks on regional trains, so it is a good idea to confirm locally.
Q. How can I tell whether or not I have a reserved seat on board?
A. To tell if you have a reservation, first see if you received one or two travel documents for your trip. If you received two travel documents, you probably received an open train ticket and a reservation. The reservation portion will show a train number, car number and seat number assigned to you personally.
If you received only one document, see if it also indicates a seat number and car number. If so, your train ticket includes a reservation.
Q. Can I purchase a rail pass when I'm in Europe?
A. In general, rail passes can only be purchased prior to your arrival in Europe and cannot be purchased locally. If you’re already in Europe and would like to purchase a rail pass, we may be able to assist you, please call us at 1-800-622-8600.
With international shipping, we can send your rail pass to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland. The fee for orders sent to Europe is $40 USD or $45 CAD and delivery takes 3 to 7 Business days.
Q. I’ve already booked my rail pass, but think I’d like a different one. Can I exchange it? It’s totally unused.
A. Unused and unvalidated rail passes can be exchanged for an alternate rail pass of equal or greater value. A 7% administration fee, any price difference, and additional shipping fees would apply. Some promotional rail passes are non-exchangeable; please read the terms and conditions for these passes for more details.
Please send us a message through the Contact Us page to begin the exchange process. To exchange a rail pass, we must receive your original unused and unvalidated rail pass no later than 3 days prior to your departure to Europe, issue a new rail pass, and ship it to you.
If you bought the Rail Protection Plan™ when you placed your rail pass order, you are eligible to receive the full value of your original pass as a credit and use it towards any future Rail Europe purchase within 2 years, with no fee or penalty incurred.
Q. If my train tickets have been lost or stolen, how do I request reimbursement through the Rail Protection Plan™?
A. Here’s what you need to do if your train ticket, rail pass, reservation, city pass or tour was lost or stolen and you plan to request receive a reimbursement through the Rail Protection Plan™.
You must file a police report within 24 hours of the incident.
You may purchase a replacement rail pass, train ticket, reservation, city pass or tour in order to continue with your travel plans.
Upon return home, you must submit the traveller request form to Rail Europe within 30 days, along with a copy of the police report, replacement rail pass, train ticket, reservation, city pass, or tour purchased abroad, and your roundtrip airline tickets from home to Europe. A brief explanation of the situation is also necessary to better evaluate the traveller request form.
If you purchased the Rail Protection Plan™ when you booked your train ticket/rail pass/reservation/city pass/tour, you received full documentation on what to do in the event of loss or theft. Please refer to this information for full details.
Q. Can I use my rail pass on any train within its area of coverage?
A. In general, yes, but there are some exceptions and a few rules to keep in mind.
First, be mindful that some trains (such as high speed, scenic, and night trains) require rail pass holders to purchase reservations at an additional cost.
For international train journeys, be sure that your rail pass covers the country of departure, country of arrival, and any countries through which your train will travel.
Lastly, some private rail lines in certain countries don’t offer reservations for rail pass holders and don’t accept rail passes. In these cases, you can purchase a train ticket locally for the desired journey.
Q. What credit cards does Rail Europe accept online?
A. You can use an American Express, Diner’s Club, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa card on our website.
Q. Why should I purchase my train tickets before I leave for Europe instead of while there?
A. While you can purchase train tickets locally, it has been our experience that the earlier you book the more likely you are to get the best fares. The longer you wait, the more likely the cheaper fares will be sold out. By booking early, you can avoid a higher ticket price.
Buying in advance also can save you a lot of time. You won’t have to wait in line at the train station. And considering how precious your vacation time is, why not spend it relaxing instead of worrying about your next train ticket?
Q. Can I choose whether my tickets or rail passes are delivered as paper documents or electronically?
A. All available delivery options for how your train tickets, rail passes, and/or reservations can be issued will be presented to you during checkout.