Until recently when travelling from Milano to Bellinzona by train there was a choice of two direct services, but the Regionale trains have now been diverted so that they arrive in Locarno instead.
Therefore the only direct rail link from Milano to Bellinzona is by taking the express EC trains, which will be heading on to other destinations in Switzerland.
Though if you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail pass, you can avoid paying a rail pass reservation fee in excess of €10 to travel by these EC trains, by taking those Regionale trains to Lugano and connecting there for Bellinzona.
Final Destination: Zurich or Basel
These trains also call at: Lugano
The trains on this route now travel through the recently opened Ceneri Base Tunnel.
The Giruno trains comprise the majority of departures, but on a few departures, particularly the train which is typically scheduled to leave at 17:10, a combination of Astoro and ETR 600 trains can be used.
10 x trains per day
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date
Reservations will automatically be assigned when booking tickets (but rail pass users will need to make reservations prior to boarding at a ticket office - they're not available from the Trenitalia ticket machines)
Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day - so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.
Rail pass users:
Avoid these trains if possible, the rail pass reservation fees on these trains are expensive, for such a comparatively short journey.
Instead take a Regionale train from Milano to Lugano, on a newly enhanced service, and connect there for Bellinzona.
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An additional two daily trains including the final departure of the day from Milano to Bellinzona, now leave from Milano Rogoredo station.
The first half of this journey is unexceptional, but things become a tad more fabulous once the train has passed through Chiasso and crossed the border into Switzerland.
Once you're in Switzerland, look out for these three highlights (the video was taken from a train travelling in the opposite direction)
(1) The views from the left over Lake Lugano, as the train nears Lugano.
(2) The crossing over Lake Lugano - with great views from both sides of the train.
(3) South of Lugano station, the views over the lake switch to the right.
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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.