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New Schedules for EC Trains between Switzerland and Italy

The EC trains on the 'Gottardo' route between Zurich and Italian cities which travel via Lugano are being revised, with multiple new opportunities for connections.

| 8 months ago
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One of the very welcome highlights of the updates to the European Rail Timetable back in December 2020, which got somewhat overlooked amidst the travel restrictions, was the introduction of direct EC trains between Zurich and destinations in Italy to the south of Milano.
A direct Zurich ↔ Venezia/Venice service had been introduced a few years ago, but the Switzerland ↔ Italy connections were enhanced by new direct trains in each direction between Zurich and both Bologna and Genova/Genoa.
These services to Bologna; Genova and Venezia all have very straightforward connections available from Basel and Luzern at Arth-Goldau station.

On the new timetable, which commences on December 12th and will be in place for most of 2022, the timings of these EC services on the Gottardo between Zurich and Italy have been adjusted.
More minor amendments are also being made to the trains on the Basel ↔ Milano ‘Simplon’ route via Bern and Brig

Switzerland to Italy

1: The direct train to Venezia/Venice, which also serves Brescia, Peschiera del Garda (for Lake Garda), Verona, Vicenza and Padova/Padua will now depart Zurich at 06:33 instead of at 10:33; and from Lugano at 08:32 instead of at 12:32.
It will arrive into Venezia S. Lucia station at 12:42 instead of at 16:42.

2: The direct train from Zurich to Bologna will depart from Zurich HB station at 08:33 (the Nightjet service from Amsterdam will be due into Zurich at 08:05) and from Lugano at 10:30, with an arrival into Bologna Centrale at 14:35.

  • A Frecciarossa 1000 train to Firenze S.M.N, Roma Termini and Napoli Centrale will be scheduled to depart from Bologna Centrale at 15:02; so this combination of trains will provide a particularly convenient option for rail journeys from northern Switzerland to Italian destinations which are south of Bologna.
  • A Frecciarossa train, which will be scheduled to depart Bologna at 15:45, will provide onward connections to Rimini, Pescara, Bari and Lecce.

3: The direct train to Genova/Genoa will be departing Zurich HB station at 10:33 instead of 08:33, and will leave from Lugano at 12:30 instead of at 10:30; with a new arrival time into Genova Piazza Principe station of 15:52.

  • On most Monday to Fridays a Regionale train will be scheduled to depart from Genova Piazza Principe at 16:10 and it will call at all five of the Cinque Terre villages on route to La Spezia.
  • At weekends you can take this train and connect for the Cinque Terre in Sestri Levante.
  • A Frecciabianca train on to Pisa, Livorno and Grosseto will depart Genova at 17:05.

4: The direct train from Frankfurt (Main) to Milano, which also calls at Basel (11:03) and Luzern (12:18), will be terminating at Porta Garibaldi station (at 15:55) in Milano instead of at Milano Centrale.
Accessing Milano Centrale will require a connection to be made at Como S. Giovanni, which will enable an arrival into the city’s main station at 16:17; though there will be a train from Basel SBB to Milano Centrale, which will be departing Basel only 35 mins sooner - see below.
In the other direction the train from Milano to Frankfurt (Main) via Basel will still depart from Milano Centrale

5: An additional fourth EC service will be available on the Basel – Olten – Bern – Thun – Speiz – Visp – Brig - Domodossola – Stresa – Milano route; it will depart from Basel SBB station at 10:28,
This is currently the departure time of the IC train from Basel to Domodossola, which enables Swiss Travel Pass users to access the Centovali Railway without the need to make reservations on the EC trains; so this IC train is being moved to depart at 08:28 (though it won’t head to Domodossola on Mondays).

Italy to Switzerland

1: From Venezia S. Lucia the train to Zurich will depart at 13:18 instead of at 17:18 with revised timings from Padova (13:46); Vicenza (14:04); Verona Porta Nuova (14:30); Peschiera del Garda (14:48) and Brescia (15:09)
Not only will it enable travelers to experience the beautiful journey through Switzerland in this direction by daylight, it will also offered enhanced connections on from Zurich HB station.
Thanks to an arrival time four hours earlier at 19:27 it will give the opportunity to connect into:

  • the Nightjet to Berlin and Hamburg, which will depart Zurich at 19:59;
  • the new Nightjet service to Amsterdam, which will depart Zurich at 21:59 (time enough for a pre-boarding meal in Zurich).
    It will also arrive in Lugano at 17:28 and into Arth-Goldau at 18:42, where connections will enable an arrival into Luzern at 19:21 and into Basel SBB at 20:56.

2: From Genova P. Principe the train to Zurich will be departing at 16:12, which will enable good connections from trains which are due into Genova at:

  • 15:04 from San Remo; Albenga and Savona
  • 15:35 from Grosseto, Livorno, Pisa and La Spezia.
    It will be due into Zurich at 21:27, in time to connect into the new Nightjet service to Amsterdam, which will depart Zurich at 21:59, it will also arrive in Lugano at 19:30.

3: From Bologna Centrale the train to Zurich will be departing at 17:26; which will be enable connections from these trains:

4: An additional fifth EC service will be available on the Milano – Stresa – Domodossola – Brig – Visp (for Zermatt) – Spiez (for Interlaken), Thun, Bern – Olten – Basel route, it will be departing Milano Centrale at 15:20.

Impact on Milan:

Aside from the timings, what isn’t being altered on the new schedules is that the trains on the Zurich ↔ Bologna and Zurich ↔ Genova routes won’t be calling at Milan’s main station Milano Centrale, instead they will call at Milano Rogoredo, a station to the south of the city centre, though it has local trains and a metro link to the city centre.
Though it will also be possible to make connections to and from Milano Centrale at Como S. Giovanni station; where the connections will usually involve waiting on the same platform for the onward train.

However, trains to Milano Centrale will be departing from Zurich HB at 06:33; 07:33; 09:33; 11:33; 13:33; 15:33; 17:33 and 19:33; offering as many trains between the two stations as prior to the service enhancements.
Heading north, the EC trains to Zurich will be departing Milano Centrale at: 07:10; 09:10; 11:10; 13:10; 15:10; 16:10: 17:10 and 19:10.

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