Bern and Basel are comparatively close to each other, so it's no surprise that they are connected by express trains which typically depart twice per hour until laate
What is unusual about this route is that it's also taken by two international services:
(1) the ICE trains and a daily EC which travel beyond Basel to Germany;
(2) EC trains from Italy which are heading to Basel.
These international services are slotted into the timetable, so in effect their departures are substitutes for the SBB IC trains, which comprise most of the services.
However, when booking tickets for these express trains, or using rail passes on this route within Switzerland, it doesn't matter whether you take an Swiss express IC train, or one of these international trains; it is the demand per departure which impacts on the ticket prices and not the type of train being used.
This express train service from Bern to Basel is unusual because of the variety of trains used on this international route.
Most of the departures are by Swiss IC trains operated by the national operator, SBB, but it uses a mix of its single deck and double-deck (IC 2000) trains; some departures comprise both single and double deck coaches.
However, two international services also travel between Bern and Basel;
The timetable is arranged so that these international trains aren't additional trains, so in the hours in which they depart, they in effect take the place of a Swiss IC train.
But if you will be buying a ticket or using a rail pass, it doesn't matter which train service you will be travelling by; Swiss 'rules' apply to the journey if you won't be travelling beyond Basel.
Meaning that reservations are optional, even if you will be travelling on an EC service.
Though those discounted 'Supersaver' tickets are less likely to be available on the international trains and the EC trains in particular tend to be busier; many of the IC services commence their journeys in Bern, so finding available seats on these departures won't be a problem.
The ICE trains on to Germany typically depart at 07:04; 11:04 and 16:04.
The EC trains typically depart at 10:34; 14:36; 18:36 and 21:26.
IC trains = Basel
EC trains = Basel
ICE trains = Berlin or Hamburg
All trains also call at: Olten
Onward connections summary:
Connect in Basel SBB for destinations in eastern France including Colmar, Dijon, Mulhouse and Strasbourg.
Also for other ICE services to Germany including trains to Koln/Cologne and Hamburg and overnight Nightjet services to Berlin and Hamburg.
2 x trains per hour until 21:40 then 1 x train per hour
Final departure typically at 23:36
Book early and save: Yes - If you book Supersaver tickets; more info is available on the SBB ticket guide below.
Online bookings open: up to two months ahead of the travel date
Seat reservations are optional on Swiss IC trains, so seats won't be assigned when booking online.
You can book reservations online, AFTER you have booked a ticket, by using the SBB (Swiss national railways) seat reservation service - OR request a reservation when booking at a station ticket office.
Travelling with a rail pass:
Rail pass users can jump on any train, including the TGV or ICE trains, without having to make reservations.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
The Swiss IC trains and the EC services will terminate at Basel SBB, but the ICE trains also call at Basel Bad Bf which is located to the north of the city centre.
Switzerland doesn't have any high speed lines on which trains travel at more than 250 km/h, but between Bern and Olten the train will race at 200 km/h for around 25mins on a fast railway.
Though as is typical of purpose built higher speed lines, this isn't a scenically interesting part of the journey.
Shortly after departure from Olten the train will travel through the Hauenstein Summit Tunnel, so the most scenic part of the route comes between the exit of the tunnel and Liestal.
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