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.
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. I just placed a booking and realized I made a mistake. How can I make changes?
A. If you need to get in touch with us regarding your booking, please visit our Contact Us page for assistance. As long as it hasn’t been invoiced yet, it’s usually not a problem to fix it. However, please note that an exchange fee and price change may be applicable depending on what needs to be changed.
Q. What do I do with my luggage?
A. Once on board you’ll need to find a place to put your bag(s). Small and medium sized bags typically fit on racks located above the seats. Larger suitcases and items can be stored in racks found near the train door entrance.
In addition, you’re responsible for your luggage. The railways assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft of baggage carried on board.
If you’re traveling on Eurostar, Thalys or a TGV, you’re limited to two large items per traveller (maximum 85cm in any one dimension), plus one small item of hand luggage. On most high speed trains there’s room for luggage above the seats and for larger items at the end of each coach.
Be advised that when traveling on Eurostar, Thalys or any French train, you must properly label your bag(s) with your first and last name. In general, it is a good idea to keep luggage tags on your baggage for easy identification.
Q. My plans have changed and I won’t be able to use my rail pass. Can I get a refund?
A. You can submit your rail pass for a refund. Please be advised that there is a 15% penalty. Only unused and unvalidated (non-activated) rail passes can be refunded. The pass must be returned to Rail Europe, along with a brief letter mentioning the original reference number of the booking. It’s strongly recommended that you send these documents by some type of traceable mail for proof of delivery.
If you purchased the Rail Protection Plan™ and your rail pass is covered, you’re eligible to receive a credit for its entire value. No fee or penalty will be applied, and you can use this credit towards any future Rail Europe purchase within 2 years. Please read more about the Rail Protection Plan™ and for instructions on how to file a claim.
Please visit our Cancellation and Refunds page for more information.
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. Do I need to show my passport to board the train?
A. If you’re traveling with a rail pass and this is your very first train trip, you’ll need to present your passport to the railway official at the ticket window to activate your pass, before you board the train.
Please note that there will be no passport control (day or night) when traveling between countries that signed the Schengen Treaty. Not all countries belonging to the EU are part of the Schengen Treaty (e.g. Great Britain, Ireland). On the flip side, some countries that are not part of the EU are part of the Schengen Treaty (e.g. Switzerland, Norway).
Q. What does the “Login with Facebook” button do?
A. The “Login with Facebook” button allows you to log in to the Rail Europe website with your Facebook login credentials, even if you have never registered to the Rail Europe website before.
Q. How fast can I receive my travel documents?
A. After your booking has been invoiced, you should receive your tickets and/or rail passes within 2-7 business days. In some locations, express overnight delivery may be available for an additional cost.
If you booked e-tickets, you should receive an email and ticket instructions shortly after your booking is confirmed.
Q. What is the 7:00 pm rule?
A. Overnight train journeys departing after 7:00pm and arriving after 4:00am without any change of train will count as one travel day. The date of arrival should be recorded on your rail pass.
Overnight train journeys departing after 7:00pm that arrive or involve a connection between midnight - 4am count as two travel days on your rail pass.
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. What do I do if my train goes through a country not listed on my rail pass?
A. If your train travels through a country not listed on your rail pass, even though the country of origin and country of arrival are covered by your rail pass, you need to purchase a ticket for the uncovered portion of the journey. We suggest doing this at a ticket counter in advance. You don’t need to buy a ticket for the entire journey, just the section not covered by the purchased rail pass.