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Reservations for Belle Epoque to Montreux?


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CabinJon
CabinJon
203 posts
active member
Sep 26, 2022 - 5:54 PM

My wife & I will be in Switzerland the first two weeks in October, and want to do a quick trip to Montreux. We will be based in Luzern and in checking the SBB timetable, I noticed that reservations are recommended for the Zweisimmen-to-Montreux leg, but not required. Do you think reservations are really needed in October? The RE designation for that leg shows up for both the Belle Epoque trains, of which there are a few, and for the Golden Pass Panoramic trains, which seem to be most of them.

Any advantage to choosing the Belle Epoque trains vs. the Panoramic trains?

Given the 5 hour+ transit time we'll probably spend the night in Montreux or somewhere nearby. We have not been to that part of the country during our prior two trips. Always nice to see and do something new.

Lastlook
Lastlook
103 posts
active member
Sep 26, 2022 - 7:14 PM in reply to CabinJon

We took our chances without a reservation on the Belle Epoque train on a Monday in late June, and sat in second class at one of the wooden tables with a vintage lamp at one end. The first class cars were even more attractive with beautiful teal upholstery and decorative wood ceilings. While the second class cars seemed fairly full, the first class cars were sparsely populated. If I went again, I'd pay to upgrade to the first class cars and probably a seat reservation as well.

If you're looking for a convenient hotel to the train station in Montreux, just across the street from the rail station exit is the rear entrance to the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic. We had a lake view with balcony and really enjoyed our stay there.

1960man
1960man
4392 posts
expert
Sep 26, 2022 - 7:48 PM in reply to CabinJon

I've been travelling on the MOB railway regularly for nearly 60 years and although a lot has changed the ride is still great fun. I don't think you will need a reservation, especially in 1st class. I recommend the Belle Epoque as something a bit different, even though (1) most of the coaches are in fact replicas and (2) the Belle Epoque train is a bit weird now as it is old fashioned coaches sandwiched in between brand new power cars (ie the 'Belle Epoque' theme does not extend to the traction.

Rather than stay in expensive Montreux, you might like to stay in somewhere a bit more 'villagey' like Chateau d'Oex

Anna
Anna
3919 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 26, 2022 - 8:14 PM in reply to CabinJon

Hi CabinJon,

The first 2 weeks of October is a school holiday in some cantons in Switzerland so it might be a busy travelling period in some places. If you want to avoid disappointments, it's probably best to make a reservation especially if you prefer travelling on the Golden Pass Bell Epoque trains. These trains differ from the Golden Pass Panoramic in terms of design mainly. The Epoque train has a more retro and classic feel to it.

Reservation options are available here: www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/tickets

Regards,

Anna

1960man
1960man
4392 posts
expert
Sep 26, 2022 - 8:43 PM

The original Belle Epoque carriages date from 1914, and were used on the Golden Mountain Pullman Express in the 1930s, the only Pullman train to run on metre gauge. Without the 'Golden Mountain Pullman', the present day Golden Pass concept would not exist.

Trainliner
Trainliner
95 posts
active member
Sep 27, 2022 - 3:42 AM in reply to 1960man

The Belle Epoque running today is not the original train, it was rebuilt in 2004 and has the latest technique. The original carriages were sold to RhB.

CabinJon
CabinJon
203 posts
active member
Sep 27, 2022 - 2:59 PM

Thank you folks, for your responses. From looking at the referenced sites, I believe the VIP seats, which my wife seems to want, are only on the Panoramic trains. However, she also wants to ride the Belle Epoque trains, which I doubt have the VIP seats. Given the choice, she leans to the Belle Epoque trains.

Regardless, I do have a question on how to actually make a reservation. When I looked at the link Anna referenced I did not see exactly how to do that. When I follow the "Reservations" link, it goes to the MOB site for purchasing a ticket, and once on the MOB site, a search for seat reservations takes me to the same. I didn't see any options for just reserving a seat if you already have a ticket. Obviously, I'm missing something simple.

Can you make a seat reservation at a train station before departure? We will be leaving from Luzern, so could we purchase the reservation there? With a 3 minute transfer in Zweisimmen there won't be time to buy it there. Or can you buy it on the train? We already have 1st class Travel Passes, so we won't be buying a ticket.

Appreciate all the help.

Lastlook - that was one of the hotels we're looking at for Montreux.

1960man - We're only going to be there one night and given the 5 hour transit time from Luzern won't be spending all that much time in Montreux itself. But always interested in places that aren't so "touristy" despite being one.

Last modified on Sep 27, 2022 - 3:05 PM by CabinJon
Anna
Anna
3919 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 27, 2022 - 6:24 PM in reply to CabinJon

Hi CabinJon,

On the MOB website, after selecting a connection, you can book seats only by clicking Reservation Only in the reduction column. Be sure to select First Class.

Regards,

Anna

CabinJon
CabinJon
203 posts
active member
Sep 28, 2022 - 10:25 AM in reply to Anna

Aha! Thank you Anna.

1960man
1960man
4392 posts
expert
Sep 28, 2022 - 11:28 AM in reply to CabinJon

This is similar to another answer I gave to a similar query the other day. Many websites need the transaction to get to a certain 'buy' point before you can apply any discount. In the UK a similar situation applies with 'add railcard' . This is presumably because the algorithm requires an 'amount' to be 'concrete' before it can be reduced.

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