A long planned expanded service of trains between Milan and Zurich makes the most of the brand new trains that have been introduced to the route and the relatively new Ceneri Base Tunnel.
Though this remains a journey which showcases the best of European rail travel.
The smart new trains have restaurant cars, the engineering achievements to enable the journey time are phenomenal and despite the epic, recently opened rail tunnels, most of the journey is still fantastically beautiful!
Another recent innovation was the very welcome extension to the routes taken by some departures, so that Zurich now has daily direct trains to Genova/Genoa and Bologna; though these two services don't call at Milan's primary rail station, Milano Centrale.
Final Destination: Milano Cle. or Venezia S.L
These trains also call: Como San Giovanni station and Lugano
These trains to Milano Centrale will typically be scheduled to depart from Zurich at 07:33; 08: 33; 09:33; 11:33; 13:33; 15:33; 17:33 and 19:33
The departure at 06:33, which is now direct to Bologna, and the 10:33 train to Genova, will both call at Milano Rogoredo station, in order to avoid diverting off of their direct routes to call at Milano Centrale, though Milano Rogoredo has local trains and a metro link to the city centre.
It will also be possible to make connections to Milano Centrale when travelling by these trains at Como S. Giovanni station; where the transfer will usually involve waiting on the same platform for the onward train.
8 x trains per day to Milano Centrale
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings open: 4 months* ahead of the travel date
*If you look more than 3 months ahead it's likely that not all departures will be listed
(On the Trenitalia website, you will need to enter Zuerich Hb as the departure station).
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
If you will be travelling with valid Eurail or InterRail passes, you will need to pay a rail pass reservation fee when boarding this train for a journey to Switzerland (seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets).
Though avoid paying for these reservation fees at a station in Switzerland, because if you do so you will also have to pay a 11CHF booking fee.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
|Italia rail||from €29|
|Save A Train||from €29|
|Rail Europe||from €29|
The different trains used on this route:
Note that three types of train are used on this route, the new Giruno trains are gradually replacing the ETR 600 trains, while on some departures, particularly at weekends, the Astoro trains are used.
On some departures an Astoro and an ETR 600 train are joined together.
On some departures, when two trains are joined together regardless of the type of train, the train closest to the concourse will be terminating at Chiasso or Lugano, with only the front train continuing on to Milano.
These trains may be faster than ever, but now that they use The Gotthard Base Tunnel and the brand new Ceneri Base Tunnel, this journey is also less scenic than it used to be.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel is now the world's longest railway tunnel, so long that it takes trains more than 15 mins to travel through it.
An announcement is made on the train just before it enters the tunnel.
However, this is still one of Europe's most epic express train journeys and thanks to those tunnels the journey time is now more than an hour faster than it was previously.
From the LEFT of the train (when facing the direction of travel) the first highlight to look out for is the view over Lake Zurich, as the train ascends up from the shore.
Then, if the weather is behaving itself, after departure from Zug station comes what is now the highlight of the journey, the view over the Zuger See.
This lake with its mountain peaks on the far shore can be seen on the right for more than 15 mins between Zug and Arth-Goldau station.
The next beautiful vista to look out for comes after departure from Arth-Goldau station, when on the right, the train will pass by the Lauerzersee.
The train then travels through a dramatic landscape to the north of Schwyz, which used to be a preview of what was to come when the trains still used the older Gotthard route.
Just to the south of here, also look out on the right for glimpses of the Luzernsee.
Now that the trains on this route use the Ceneri Base Tunnel the next scenic highlights on the journey
come shortly after departure from Lugano, where there are views over the lake, initially over on the LEFT.
The final wow moments come after departure from Lugano station, the train will travel along the shore of the Lago di Lugano
and then the train will cross the lake.After the trains have crossed the lake, the best of the views switch to the right.
The Italian section of the journey south of Chiasso is more mundane, despite the trains passing through Como, its namesake lake can't be seen from these trains.
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