Travel on the FART (Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi/Centovalli Express)

The views from the Centovali Express

Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi (F.A.R.T) operates the service, often referred to locally as the Centovalli Express, on the spectacular route through the gorges, between the Swiss resort town of Locarno and the Italian border town of Domodossola.

Some departures are comprised of observation/panorama car trains that have larger windows, and a small supplement needs to be paid to the conductor on these trains, if you have an ordinary ticket, or a rail pass.

Between Domodossola and Ribellasca (which is on the border with Switzerland), the best of the views are from the left of the train – when heading west to east towards Locarno.
After Ribellasca the best of the views (and the most spectacular sight on the line, the Lago di Palagnedra) can be seen from the right of the train,

However, this journey isn’t above the tree line, so the copious amounts of foliage near the track, can make taking pictures particularly tricky.


This service provides a useful route linking the southern sections of the Gotthard and Simplon main lines, which run between Switzerland and Italy.

So if you have a Eurail or InterRail Pass it can be a cheaper, and more scenic, option for journeys between northern Swiss cities, such as Basel, Luzern or Zurich - and Milano.

However, if you want to travel this way, you will find that connections are easier when using the northern part of the Gotthard route between Basel/Zurich and Locarno AND the southern section of the Simplon route between Domodossola and Milan.


In Locarno:

The F.A.R.T. trains share a station with frequent SBB trains that link Locarno to Bellinzona.

Swiss national rail operator SBB has withdrawn its long standing service of direct IR trains between Basel/Luzern/Zurich and Locarno – the idea being it’s that it’s now much faster to take a train through the new Gotthard Base Tunnel and make connections from/to Locarno at Bellinzona.

Though making the journey via the much more scenic older Gotthard Line is still an option.
The IR trains now run between Basel/Luzern/Zurich and Erstfeld – from where connections are available to/from trains to Bellinzona along the spectacular old line.
If time is on your side, it’s worth making the additional connection at Erstfeld when heading to/from Locarno.

Connections are also available at Bellinzona into frequent trains to Lugano, Chiasso and Capolago-Riva San Vitale (where connections are available to The Monte Generoso Railway).
Other trains link Bellinzona with Milano and Como.

In Domodossola:

 At Domodossola station follow the signs to the ‘Centovalli trains’, they depart from a tunnel beneath the tracks in the main station.

Domodossola is served by EC trains on routes between Switzerland and Milano, but for rail pass users, including Swiss Travel Pass users, the best option are the 2 x daily Swiss IC train that operate direct to Domodossola from Basel and Bern.

Alternatively there are regionaltrains, on which Swiss Travel Passes are also valid, that travel between Brig and Domodossola - some of these trains now depart from and arrive at Bern and travel via Thun, Spiez, Kandersteg and Brig.

In addition to the EC trains, there are also Regionale trains between Domodossola and Milano, which call at some stations on Lake Maggiore, including Stresa and Arona.


Eurail - free travel

InterRail - free travel

Swiss Travel Pass/Saver Day Passes – free travel

Swiss Travel Passes and Saver Day Passes are also valid on Swiss (SBB) trains between Brig, the border station in Switzerland, and Domodossola - but they're not valid on the EC trains between Switzerland and Domodossola.

Tickets between SBB stations and F.A.R.T. stations can be booked on the SBB booking service and tickets for journeys solely by the Centovali Trains can now be booked online.
An online booking won't save money, but it can save time, queues inevitably form at the Centovali ticket offices in Domodossola and Locarno when the connecting trains arrive.

Though tickets can also be purchased on the trains - if you don’t have time between trains to buy them at the ticket offices.

Swiss Mountain Railways Guide - Read More

10 Tips for travelling on Swiss Mountain Railways - Read More

General Swiss Train Travel Guide - Read More