IC/ICN (Switzerland)

Swiss national rail operator SBB used to designate which services are operated by these sleek ICN express trains with spacious interiors, on its timetable.

But now these ICN trains have joined the family of IC trains on which seats don't have to be reserved - which designate an express train within Switzerland.

But they have some qualities that they don't share with other SBB (Swiss) IC trains - hence we have aspired to still make a distinction

ON BOARD       ROUTES       



The primary distinguishing feature of these ICN trains is that they tilt when there are bends in the track (they are similar to Pendolino trains).
So they are used on express services, which don't use the full length of Switzerland's fastest railway line between Bern and Olten.

On Board:

These ICN trains are comparatively comfortable, but a refurbishment of the interior seems overdue on some of these trains - fixtures and fittings can be a tad worn.

In common with most other Swiss trains the power sockets only accept Swiss 3-pin plugs.
The power sockets in 1st class can be hard to spot as they're above the seats, in the base of the overhead luggage racks.

Swiss national rail operator SBB does not provide wi-fi on its trains in the conventional sense - meaning that passengers can't log on to a SBB portal for wi-fi.
Instead SBB has equipped some of the coaches on these trains with signal amplifiers, to enable enhanced connectivity with local mobile networks.
The coaches/cars equipped with this equipment have symbols by the doors - and SBB suggests that passengers who wish to access wi-fi during a journey, should travel in these coaches in order to access these 'hotspots'.

All 2nd class seats are in open plan saloons, but some 1st class seats are in open plan saloons, while others are in compartments.

As they’re not doubled decked, ICN trains are not used on SBB’s busiest St Gallen – Zurich – Bern – Fribourg – Geneve route.

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However, it is possible to travel between Zurich and Geneve on these trains, as they operate on these four routes.

(1)  Zurich – Olten – Biel – Neuchtael – Geneve

(2) St Gallen – Zurich - Olten – Biel – Neuchtael – Lausanne

(3) Basel – Delemont – Moutier – Biel (connect at Biel for Geneve/Lausanne)

(4) Basel – Olten – Luzern – Arth-Goldau – Bellinzona - Lugano

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Seat reservations are optional on Swiss IC trains and if you're going to be travelling in 2nd class for more than an hour, during business hours, reservations can give peace of mind.
Though on the overwhelming majority of journeys reservations won't be necessary, you can be fairly certain that in 1st class seats will be available on any departure.

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.

If you have reserved then check the coach number in which your seat is located and wait in the appropriate zone on the gleis/platform/track.

Don’t be surprised if the zone you need is some distance from your entrance point to the gleis/platform/track, ICN trains can comprise 14 coaches.

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ICN trains are seven coaches long, but two trains are often joined together to form a long 14 coach train.

The departure information on the platform (gleis/voie/binaro) at a Swiss station will indicate in which 'Sektor' (zone) the 1st class, 2nd class and restaurant coaches/cars will occupy when the train arrives.
Swiss stations don't have a system which will tell you, in which specific 'Sektor' (zone) you should wait, if you have a reservation in a specific coach/car.

Don’t be surprised if the 'Sektor' (zone) you need is some distance from your entrance point to the gleis/platform/track.

If you haven't reserved, a tip is to head for the respective zones/sektors furthest away from the entrance to the gleis/platform/track.
Fewer people will have headed to the far ends of the train, so you should increase your chances of finding a seat - particularly if there is an option to board towards the front of the train.

Few seats are generally reserved on ICN trains so finding seats shouldn’t be a problem outside business hours.

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When two ICN trains are joined together the service will convey two restaurant cars.

The restaurant cars are popular at meal times, as prices aren't exponentially more expensive compared to standard restaurants.
If you want to have a meal head direct to the restaurant car when boarding and spend your journey in the car.
Though on many departures the full restaurant menu is now available as an at seat service in 1st class - but only in certain coaches.

An overview of train travel in Switzerland

How to buy tickets for Swiss train journeys

International train routes to/from Switzerland

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

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