Published on: 26 January 2015 | Last updated: 5 September 2016
If you’re thinking about travelling in or through Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Railways website (sbb.ch 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: sbb.ch/en/bicycle
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 map is available on its own (sbb.ch: map of self-loading locations ) if you want a map of the Swiss Railways system. There’s also a useful list of international trains with bike-carriage facilities.
The sbb.ch: online timetable uses the same software as the bahn.com 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).
Like the bahn.com website, the sbb.ch: 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.
I’m planning to travel through Switzerland on my way to Italy this year. I booked my ticket and bike place with the voyages-sncf.com 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.