eTripCafe - The Art of Travel / Researching Train Schedules   No Trip Selected
Researching train schedules is very important in regards to when you will arrive, how long you will stay at a location to accomplish everything you plan to see an do and when you think you may depart. Here is an example of the research and tracking you should do for your train travel prior to your departure.
Home/Login    New Account
eTripCafe - The Art of Travel
Researching Train Schedules Pre-Travel

If you plan on traveling by train, you should spend some time researching the train schedules.  Make note of train departures and arrivals at each destination as well as seat reservation requirements.  Depending on your itinerary this may not be an issue but if you are traveling multiple days to different destinations you need to give it some serious thought.

Consider when you will arrive, how long you will stay to accomplish everything you want do and when you think you may depart.

Keep in mind that you are using your 'best guess' to figure all this out.  Most routes will have multiple trains every day or even multiple train every hour and this provides you some flexibility to adjust your schedule should you decide to leave a location early or stay longer.

Avoid wasting time waiting at a station for your train

If you arrive at a destination and are only planning to staying a couple hours before departing to your next destination, upon your arrival make sure you know departure times of the trains you may want to take.  The goal is to avoid returning to the station only to find out that you have just missed a train and have to wait an hour for the next one when you could have spent more time doing other activities.

If there are multiple train departures and you are not tied to a specific train, make note of the different departure times around the time you think you may want to leave.  This will give you some flexibility to adjust your schedule should you decide to leave early or stay longer.

The great thing about most trains is that you simply arrive and get on.  With exception to trains like the Eurostar, most trains do not require you to arrive hours prior to your departure, check bags or even go through security like you must do when you are flying.  Trains are timed to the minute, so don't be late or you may miss it.

When researching trains, consider the following:

  • Possible arrival and departure times
  • Determine if the train you want to take requires an actual seat reservation
  • Make note of the travel time from your original to each destination
  • Based on your arrival time, be sure you have enough time for your planned activities before having to depart

Train Schedules - Mobile Application

We highly recommend installing the DB Navigator App on your phone to assist you with train schedules.

The app also shows each stop, time and platform that makes traveling by train much easier when making connections.

See our Trains Tips page for more information.

Train Seat Reservations

As you research your trains, you may find that some require an actual seat reservation while others do not.  See our page on Train Seat Reservations showing you how to check if the train you want to take requires that you make an actual seat reservation.

Train Direction

Trains work similar to subways.  Each train has a departure point and an end point.  You want to travel in the direction of the end point where your train has a stop at an intermediate point if you are not actually heading to the final end point.

Your destination may not be the train's final end point.  For example, if you are travelling from Geneva Switzerland to Lyon France, the final destination of your train may actually be Marseilles France but it stops in Lyon on the way where you will depart. 

Create Trip Activities and enter the train details into the Pre-Trip Activity Notes to track your train schedules.

Use Google to Search Train Schedules
The following example illustrates traveling by train through Switzerland from Interlaken to Grindelwald, Gindelwald to Zermatt and Zermatt to Lausanne with several stops in between to explore some castles in the area.
Use Google to search train routes and schedules.

Enter something like: Interlaken to Grindelwald

You should get a display similar to the image on the left.

Click the map image to take you to an interactive page where you can adjust the travel dates and times and then select the train you are interested in.

Interactive Train Schedule Page
This interactive page allows you to select the date and time of your train and displays the schedules.

Select the 'Details' link to display more information about a specific train.


Details Expanded
Details for the selected train showing primary stops, platforms and other information.

Clicking the down arrow will expand to give you even more information such as intermediate stops.

Select 'Schedule Explorer' to show alternative train times.

Example Switzerland Trip
Create a Trip Activity and select the activity type of Train or Tourist Train as shown below and give it a title such as 'Trains Switzerland'.  You can then enter your train schedule notes in the Pre-Trip Activity Notes section.

Save important information such as to departure-arrival points, date, duration, schedules and other important notes.

Interlaken-Grindelwald Grindelwald-Zermatt Zermatt-Lausanne
Interlaken (Ost)-Grindelwald
26 Sep
Approx: 45m
-Trains every hours at: x:05a and x:35a
Starting at 6a
Grindelwald-Interlaken (Ost)
28 Sep
Starting at 6:22a
-Trains every hours at: x:23a and x53a
Approx: 45m

Interlaken (Ost)-Spiez-Visp-Zermatt (Tasch)
28 Sep
Approx: 2h
-Every 30m or so, some trains take 3h
*Arrive in Tasch / Shuttle train every 20m to Zermatt
Zermatt to Visp
29 Sep
Approx: 1h
-2 trains every hour

29 Sep
Approx: 1.5h
-2 trains every hours

-Stops before Lausanne
Visp-Sion (2 castles)

Sion-Aigle (Castle)
2 trains every hour
-maybe for exterior photo only
-15-20 min. walk from Aigle Station

Sion-Montreux (Chillon Castle)
*Lockers in Montreux, then 4k walk to castle
-2 trains every hour

Approx: 30m
-2 or more trains an hour