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 get a refund for unused days on my rail pass?
A. No. Partially used rail passes cannot be refunded. Only unused rail passes that have not been activated are eligible for a refund within the allowed time frame.
Q. Can I take any train that travels between the two cities for which I bought my train ticket, or do I have to take a specific train?
A. The answer depends on what type of ticket was issued for your journey. In most cases, we issue tickets that include a seat reservation whenever required or possible. If your tickets include a reservation, you will need to board the train for which the reservation was issued.
If you were issued a train ticket without a reservation, then yes - you can board any train traveling between the cities for which your ticket was issued. It is always advisable to inquire at the train station whether or not a reservation is needed for the train you intend to board. There are certain countries that we cannot issue reservations for: Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and other Balkan nations. Reservations may be required but will need to be purchased locally.
Q. Can I book a rail pass and a seat reservation at the same time?
A. Absolutely, and we encourage it. Once you’ve added the pass you want to your booking, you will be prompted to make seat reservations for trains you wish to travel on. Alternatively, you can visit the homepage and search schedules, just be sure to check the "I have a rail pass" box.
We always recommend buying your reservations before you depart for Europe because high speed and night trains often have a limited number of seats set aside for rail pass holders, and these seats tend to sell out. So the earlier you secure your reservation, the better.
Q. Do I need to buy a train ticket for children or infants?
A. In general, any traveller that will occupy a seat will need to have a train ticket. Children under the age of 4 may travel on your lap, though the exact age can vary by rail company. If you want them to have a reserved seat on a train, that offers or requires a reservation, you would need to pay the same price as an older child on most trains.
Q. Do I need to do anything with my rail pass before boarding the train?
A. Yes. You will need to visit the ticket window at the train station before boarding your first train to activate your rail pass. A railroad official will enter the first and last day of validity on your rail pass and stamp your rail pass. You will have to show your passport, and the name on your rail pass will need to match it. Then, in case of a flexi-pass, for each day you use your rail pass you will need to enter the date in the designated travel calendar box on your rail pass. If you board a train and have not entered the date, when the conductor comes around to check your travel documents you may be subject to a fine and the payment of full fare ticket that will need to be paid in local currency directly to the conductor. Be sure to read all documentation that accompanies your rail pass prior to departure. The more you know about your rail pass, the more likely you are to avoid issues onboard the train.
Q. What other types of services are available at the station?
A. Most European train stations provide a variety of services, including currency exchanges, information desks, lockers for luggage, arrival/departure boards, restrooms, coffee shops, and gift shops. Some larger stations in larger cities have WiFi hotspots, lounges for business travellers, and restaurants and bars.
View our Train Station page to see specifics on a particular train station in Europe. The link can be found in the footer on any page on the website.
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 there discounts available for rail passes?
A. Yes, many rail passes offer discounted options. The most common discounts are:
Child discount: Children between 4 -11 years of age usually travel for half the price of the regular adult rate. Most Eurail passes offer free travel for up to two children per adult pass holder.
Youth Discount: If you or anyone in your party is a traveller aged 12 to under 28 years of age on the first date of travel, discounted rates are available for certain rail passes.
Senior Discount: Seniors over the age of 60 are eligible for a discounted rate on certain rail passes.
Saver Discount: Small groups of 2 to 5 people traveling together are eligible for savings of about 15% on certain rail passes.
Group Discount: If you travel in a party of 10 or more, see our special group offers for a more customized travel solution.
Q. My Rail Europe train tickets were not accepted by the conductor. What do I do?
A. While all train tickets issued by Rail Europe should be accepted onboard the train, if you should run into any issues, be sure to ask the conductor to stamp your Rail Europe ticket "Not Used" with a written note explaining why this ticket could not be accepted by a railway official. You will want to keep that ticket safe and upon your return home, you can send the original ticket, any replacement tickets and receipts, and a brief letter of explanation to our Customer Relations team.
Please use the Contact Us page to get more information regarding a refund.
Q. Can I request preferences for assigning my seat, such as a forward facing seat, a window, or an aisle?
A. You can make a request for seat locations on the train for some trains, the option will be presented to you when you select a specific train ticket fare. Seat selections cannot be guaranteed, but will be taken into consideration when the reservation is completed. If confirming a seat preference is essential, please contact us prior to booking using the Contact Us page.