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Travel On Train EC Astoro
Two train units can be joined together on some departures to form an exceptionally long train

EC Astoro

This guide will tell you the key things worth knowing about travelling on these smart trains used on some of the EuroCity services between Switzerland and both Italy and south-east Germany.

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At a Glance

Travel Pass Supplement

Rail Pass Reservation Fees
Reservations

Compulsory
Available
Time of Day

Day
Catering

Food services available

Restaurant
Bistro (bar food and take away meals)
Accessibility

Accessing the train

Wheelchair Spaces
Bikes Allowed
Train Specification

Attributes of the train

Has a Conductor
Country

Which country these trains operate in.

Germany
Italy
Switzerland
Travel Passes
Eurail
InterRail

On Board

First Class

Perks
Power Socket

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

At Seat Catering

According to the time of day of travel, passengers will be able to choose from a menu of catering options, which will then be served at their seats.

Interior of 1st class seating saloon Interior of 1st class seating saloon

Second Class

Perks
Power Socket

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

An ETR 610 train on a Geneve - Milano service arrives in Brig An ETR 610 train on a Geneve - Milano service arrives in Brig

EC Astoro travel guide:

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

On these two routes via Brig through The Simplon Tunnel;

(1) Geneve - Lausanne - Montreux - Sion - Brig - Domodossola - Stresa - Milano
(2) Basel - Olten - Bern - Thun - Spiez - Visp - Brig- Domodossola - Stresa - Milano

you will be travelling on one of these comparatively comfortable ETR 610 trains; which Swiss national rail operator SBB, has now branded as Astoro trains.

*The ETR 600 trains and the new Giruno trains are primarily used on some of the OTHER Switzerland <> Italy services, particularly those which travel on the Gotthard route via Lugano.

Something to watch out for is that these trains to and from Italy 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.

These trains are also now used on the Zurich <> Munich/Munchen route; and in Germany they can be referred to on timetables as 'EuroCity Express' (ECE) trains.

Catering:

If you’re travelling 1st class you can order from the full restaurant menu and have the food/drink delivered to your seat
Though be aware that it isn't complimentary.
Also it can be a good idea to check with the conductor when boarding whether this as at seat service will be available for your journey, if it isn't you will have to go the bar car to order food and drink.

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

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.

A bar car selling hot, cold drinks, light meals and snacks is also available to all passengers.

Reservations (& using rail passes):

When travelling 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.

When travelling to/From Germany:

Seat reservations are optional on this route and the fees are €5.30 in 1st class and €4 in 2nd class.
Book a 1st class ticket on DB, the German national railways, booking service or at a station in Germany and the reservation is complimentary and included within the ticket price, but if you book online with SBB, Swiss national railways, the reservations won't automatically be included.

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.

Using rail passes

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

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

On board:

These four things in particular are worth knowing:

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

(2) Italian three point plugs are the only plugs that fit in the power sockets on the routes between Italy and Switzerland.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

Bicycles:

These trains have bike racks for non-folding bicycles, but bike tickets must be purchased prior to boarding, they can't be booked online for international journeys, so will need to be arranged at the station, but it's best to avoid leaving this to the last minute just before boarding.
Look out for the bike symbols on the train's exterior, you'll need to target these coaches when boarding.

ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.