In just 2 hours and 12 minutes, the SBB EuroCity Train takes you from Zurich to Lugano. From one City at a Lake to another City at a Lake, but an entirely different climate. May it just be for a day trip, or a holiday, visiting Lugano is always worth any visit. As there is no other form of transportation, except driving a car yourself, I was actually excited for my train trip all the way to Lugano. A few years ago I already went on the same route, on my way from Zurich to Milano by Train (Frecciargento), and when the train passed scenic Lugano I just knew, I had to go back. So, I booked my tickets and went on this train trip to Lugano. The last time I went was in the winter season when so many villages and mountaintops were still covered in snow. However, since then also parts of the route changed. In June 2016 the Gotthard Base Tunnel opened, the world’s longest and deepest traffic tunnel, after a construction time of 17 years. While the original Gotthard Tunnel connected the Cities Göschenen and Airolo and was 15 km long, the new one now connects Erstfeld with Bodio, is 57 km long and saves travellers precious time (travel time is cut by 1 hour!). As currently another Tunnel is built, Ceneri Base Tunnel, which will cut travel time again, it seems like I need to go on this Route in 2019 again.
But back to the actual experience on board the SBB CFF FFS Train from Zurich to Lugano, and vice versa.
Having arrived at Zurich Train Station on Time, with my Train from Romanshorn, I had something over 15 minutes to connect to my SBB CFF FFS EuroCity Train towards Lugano. The EC19, departing at 1:09 pm from platform 6, was already ready for boarding 5 minutes prior to 1 pm, enough time to find your seat and get settled for the journey ahead. When checking the connection on sbb.ch few days ahead of my trip, I already got the notification that it might be a very busy journey, so for sure I booked seat reservations for me the next second. If just a few euros can guarantee yourself a reserved seat on a busy train, I’m absolutely the first one to book this little extra! Here you’ll find more information on how to secure yourself a seat on an SBB train: www.sbb.ch/en/seat-reservations The price per seat and person costs CHF 5 (currently 4,29 Euro).
Second class onboard the swiss EuroCity Train actually felt very comfortable, with seats in double and quadruple with a fixed table configuration. On my ride from Zurich to Lugano, I got a reservation for a double seat, in the direction of travel. Power sockets (each one for European and one for Swiss plugs) can be found in between the two individual seats, with an additional arm in between the upper parts of the seats for reading lights. You will also find footrests and a small bin in between the front seats. Each chair also features a foldable tray table which is big enough to hold a laptop, a bag or is also spacious enough to enjoy a (brought) meal or to play games. These tables have to be the biggest ones I have ever experienced on a train. The quadruple seats, each 2 in the direction of travel and 2 against, only feature one shared table, that is absolutely not comparable to the individual ones. If I could choose, I couldn’t choose when making my seat reservations, I would definitely prefer a double seat when travelling solo. Something I did absolutely miss, and what I can’t understand, is that there is no WiFi on the Train. Even planes feature free WiFi (offered by a few airlines), but long-distance trains in central Europe not? As I did not find any WiFi Hotspot during both my journeys, it’s quite certain this wasn’t just a malfunction, there definitely is no WiFi, nor even a network to check timetables or to read onboard magazines.
Except to that, I was any way busy enjoying the beautiful scenery, I absolutely enjoyed my experience of taking the SBB CFF FFS EuroCity Train from Zurich to Lugano and vice versa, and can definitely recommend this form of transportation in Switzerland / central Europe. My trains have always been on time, but another weird thing, no one has ever checked the tickets, I hope, for SBB, that this has just been a two-time mistake…