EC Astoro (Switzerland/Italy)

The EC (EuroCity) trains used on journeys between Switzerland and Italy usually differ depending on what route you are taking*.

On these routes via Brig through The Simplon Tunnel;

(i) Geneve - Lausanne - Montreux - Sion  - Brig - Domodossola - Stresa - Milano

(ii) Basel - Olten - Bern - Thun - Spiez - Visp - Brig- Domodossola - Stresa - Milano

you will be travelling on one of these comparatively comfortable ETR 610 trains - which Swiss national rail operator SBB, has now branded as Astoro trains.

*The ETR 600 trains and the new Giruno trains are primarily used on some of the OTHER Switzerland <> Italy services, particuarly those which travel on the Gotthard route via Lugano.


These 'Astoro' trains are also used on some departures on the Zurich/Basel - Milano via Lugano (Gotthard) route, particularly at weekends.


These are ‘Pendolino’ trains, so they TILT when going round bends in the track at high speed and on the routes these trains take, the tilting motion is particularly noticeable.
If you suffer from motion sickness taking preventative medication is recommended.

Something to watch out for is that these trains have a reputation for late running, particularly in comparison to other trains that operate solely within Switzerland.

Therefore allow at least 30 mins to change trains, when planning journeys that involve making connections.

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(1) If you’re travelling 1st class you can order from the full restaurant menu and have the food/drink delivered to your seat (it isn't complimentary)

(2) These same meals are available to 2nd class* passengers in the restaurant car – prices compare favourably to Swiss restaurants.

The restaurant service tends to be popular, so in Switzerland many passengers head direct to the restaurant coach when boarding.
So if you want to be sure of a place in the car, the best option can be to go direct to the restaurant and then move to your reserved seat after your meal.

(3) All seats are in open plan saloons – there are no compartment seats on these trains.

(4) Italian three point plugs are the only plugs that fit in the power sockets.

(5) A fairly high percentage of the seats don’t align with the windows, particularly in 2nd class - which can be disappointing on these comparatively scenic routes.

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To/From Italy:

Reservations are compulsory for cross border journeys between Italy and Switzerland, and for journeys solely within Italy.

When booking international journeys online or at stations, the reservation is included when booking a ticket and the ticket(s) you will be issued will be seat specific.

Rail pass users:

If you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail pass valid in both Switzerland and Italy, you have to pay supplement/reservation fees prior to boarding these trains for cross border journeys.

You also have to reserve for journeys in Italy, but NOT for journeys solely in Switzerland.

If you will be travelling from Italy, the rail pass reservations can be booked at the ticket desks at major stations and you won't be charged a booking fee.
Though the Trenitalia ticket machines don't sell reservations for these trains.

In contrast if you book reservations in Switzerland - at a SBB Reisezentrum booking desk, you will have to pay a 11 CHF booking fee - in addition to the reservation fee.

SBB's online seat reservation service does NOT sell reservations for international journeys from Switzerland.

For journeys within Switzerland:

Reservations are NOT required for journeys solely within Switzerland  by these trains – though they’re recommended, as these trains tend to be busier than non-international trains.

However, as reservations are optional when travelling between Swiss stations they're not automatically included when booking tickets online.

Rail pass users are advised to take a chance on finding a seat when making Swiss journeys, as the reservation fees are comparatively expensive - OR avoid travelling by these EC trains in Switzerland.

International train routes to/from Italy

International train routes to/from Switzerland

An overview of train travel in Italy

An overview of train travel in Switzerland

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

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