Getting there by train: useful websites - Swiss Railways

Published on:  | Last updated: 5 November 2018

If you’re thinking about travelling in or through Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Railways website ( de/fr/it/en) has lots of useful inform­ation: it’s probably the most helpful rail company website I’ve come across. The bike home page is:

Screenshot from the bike section of the Swiss Railways website

Screenshot from the bike section of the Swiss Railways website

There are also a couple of useful downloads (links are to the English versions, they are available in other languages): Bicycle and train  is a pretty compre­hensive guide with a map of ‘self-loading locations’.

The online timetable uses the same software as the Deutshe Bahn website. However there are some differ­ences to bear in mind:

  • the SBB don’t show the bike logo against services that have bike-carriage facil­ities: the service is assumed to have bike-carriage facil­ities unless the website shows a bike logo that has been crossed out;
  • if the search results show a bike pictogram in a box it means that reser­va­tions are compulsory
  • sometimes you see both picto­grams  - this means that the service takes bikes, but you need a reser­vation, and you can’t load it yourself (no I don’t know how that works exactly).
Legend from the online timetable showing bike pictograms and their significance

Legend from the online timetable showing bike picto­grams and their significance

International services

Like the website, the online timetable has an advanced search facility that lets you search only for trains that carry bikes. However, note the words ‘Switzerland-only’, this feature will exclude inter­na­tional trains with with bike carriage facil­ities because these can’t be used for journeys within Switzerland.

Buying tickets

I’m planning to travel through Switzerland on my way to Italy this year. I booked my ticket and bike place with the call centre in the UK and rang the Swiss Travel Centre - only to find that the booking window for Swiss Railways tickets is two months. To make things even more confusing, so far as I can tell you can only book tickets online one month ahead. the good news is that you can buy bike tickets online. (I’ll update this when I’ve booked my tickets.

Get in touch

Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.

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