EC (Switzerland/Italy - ETR 610)

The EC (EuroCity) trains used on journeys between Switzerland and Italy usually differ depending on what route you are taking.

On the routes through The Simplon Tunnel (those via Brig in both directions between Milano and Geneve and between Milano and Basel via Bern) you will be travelling on one of these comparatively comfortable ETR 610 trains.

ETR 600 trains are used on some of the other services.

ON BOARD      RESERVATIONS     SUMMARY

These ETR 610 trains are also used on some departures on the Zurich/Basel - Milano via Lugano (Gotthard) route, particularly at weekends.

These are ‘Pendolino’ trains, so they tilt when going round bends in the track at high speed and on the routes these trains take, the tilting motion is particularly noticeable.
If you suffer from motion sickness taking preventative medication is recommended.

Something to watch out for is that these trains have a reputation for late running, particularly in comparison to other trains that operate solely within Switzerland.

Therefore allow at least 30 mins to change trains, when planning journeys that involve making connections.

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ON BOARD:

(i) If you’re travelling 1st class you can order (a fairly high quality) meal and have it delivered to your seat - but only when boarding these trains in Milan, this service isn't seemingly offered in Switzerland.

(ii) These same meals are available to 2nd class passengers in the restaurant car – prices compare favourably to Swiss restaurants

In Switzerland 1st class passengers also need to go to the restaurant car to have a meal.

The restaurant service tends to be popular, so in Switzerland many passengers head direct to the restaurant coach when boarding.
So if you want to be sure of a place in the car, the best option can be to go direct to the restaurant and then move to your reserved seat after your meal.

(iii) All seats are in open plan saloons – there are no compartment seats on these trains.

(iv) Italian three point plugs are the only plugs that fit in the power sockets.

(v) A fairly high percentage of the seats don’t align with the windows, particularly in 2nd class - which can be disappointing on these comparatively scenic routes.

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RESERVATIONS:

To/From Italy:

Reservations are compulsory for cross border journeys between Italy and Switzerland, and for journeys solely within Italy.

When booking international journeys online or at stations, the reservation is included when booking a ticket and the ticket(s) you will be issued will be seat specific.

Rail pass users:

If you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail pass valid in both Switzerland and Italy, you have to pay supplement/reservation fees prior to boarding these trains for cross border journeys.

You also have to reserve for journeys in Italy, but NOT for journeys solely in Switzerland.

If you will be travelling from Italy, the rail pass reservations can be booked at the ticket desks at major stations and you won't be charged a booking fee.
Though the Trenitalia ticket machines don't sell reservations for these trains.

In contrast if you book reservations in Switzerland - at a SBB Reisezentrum booking desk, you will have to pay a 11 CHF booking fee - in addition to the reservation fee.

Or you can book these rail pass reservations online on the Trenitalia (Italian Railways) website, for journeys to OR from Switzerland - thereby avoiding the fee which you would have been charged at a Swiss station.

The step-by-step instructions for doing so are on this page.

SBB's online seat reservation service does NOT sell reservations for international journeys from Switzerland.

For journeys within Switzerland:

Reservations are NOT required for journeys solely within Switzerland  by these trains – though they’re recommended, as these trains tend to be busier than non-international trains.

However, as reservations are optional when travelling between Swiss stations they're not automatically included when booking tickets online.

Rail pass users are advised to take a chance on finding a seat, as the reservation fees are comparatively expensive - OR avoid travelling by these EC trains in Switzerland.

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