EC (Switzerland/Italy - ETR 600)

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

These ETR 600 trains are solely used on the Gotthard route via Lugano and form the majority of the EC trains on this route.

RESERVATIONS           SUMMARY

These are trains that had been recently used on Italian Frecciargento services.

These ex Frecciargento trains are comparatively cramped, but they are a stop-gap, as new trains have been ordered for these routes.

ON BOARD:

Notable features of these trains:

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

(ii) Standard E.U two point plugs fit in the power sockets.

(iii)  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).

(iv) They are ‘Pendolino’ trains so theoretically* tilt when going round bends in the track at high speed.

*Theoretically because the tilting functionality was switched off on the older trains, that the ex Frecciargento trains have replaced, but I couldn’t detect if it’s been re-instated on a recent journey.

That’s either because the mechanism is particularly smooth, but a contributory factor is that The Gotthard Base tunnel, which these trains now pass through, has cut out the most twisting section of the route that these trains used to take.

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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 of finding a seat as the reservation fees are comparatively expensive OR avoid travelling by these EC trains in Switzerland.

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