True FART (Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi/Centovalli Express)

FART (Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi/Centovalli Express)

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 is payable on these trains, if you have an ordinary ticket, or a rail pass.

Between Ribellasca and Locarno 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, when heading west to east towards Locarno.

Though 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 towards Locarno.

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

FROM SWITZERLAND TO ITAY via THE CENTOVALLI (F.A.R.T TRAINS):

This service provides a useful route linking the southern sections of the Gotthard and Simplon main lines.
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.

CONNECTIONS:

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

SBB has withdrawn its long standing service of direct IR trains between Basel/Luzern/Zurich and Locarno – the idea being it’s that it’s now much faster to take a train through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.

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 is the daily SBB IC train that is direct to Domodossola from Basel and Bern.

Infrequent local trains, on which Swiss Travel Passes are also valid, shuttle between Brig and Domodossola.

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.

TICKETS AND RAIL PASSES:

Eurail - free travel

InterRail - free travel

Swiss Travel Pass – free travel


Tickets between SBB stations and F.A.R.T. stations can be booked on the SBB booking service.

Recommended as Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi does not sell tickets online – though tickets can be purchased on the trains - if you don’t have time between trains to buy them at the ticket offices at Domodossola or Locarno stations.

GENERAL SWITZERLAND TRAIN TRAVEL GUIDE


SWISS MOUNTAIN RAILWAYS GUIDE