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Slides and climbing frames: How Swiss trains entertain children

Occupying young children on trains is not always easy. Questions like ‘are we there yet?’ abound, and even a brief journey can seem long for children and parents alike. But when it comes to kid-friendliness, Swiss trains are on the right track.

Slides and climbing frames: How Swiss trains entertain children
Double decker Intercity trains have play zones for kids.

Youngsters and long train rides don’t exactly go well together.

Very young children often become bored and cranky. Sitting and being quiet for hours is not in their nature, and telling them, ‘sweetie, look out the window at beautiful scenery’ will likely not work.

But Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has found a solution to how to keep children entertained and parents (somewhat) sane.

All long-distance InterCity double-decker trains have a ‘family coach’ which looks like a small version of a playground, equipped with slides, climbing sets and other games.

Trains with family coaches run mainly on the following InterCity routes:

·    IC1: St. Gallen–Zurich HB–Bern–Geneva Airport
·    IC8: Romanshorn–Zurich HB–Bern–Brig
·    IC6: Basel SBB–Bern–Brig
·    IC61: Basel SBB–Bern–Interlaken Ost
·    IC3: Basel SBB–Zurich HB–Chur 

“The play area is located on the upper deck of the coach and can be recognised from a distance thanks to its jungle and dragon-themed motifs,” according to SBB. “The lower floor has spaces for stowing pushchairs. The doors are at least 71 cm wide.”

To access the area, all you need is a regular train ticket; no extra charge is required to use the playroom.

If you are still unsure which trains provide this service, they are marked in the online timetable and the SBB Mobile app with ‘FA’.

READ ALSO: Five things you didn’t know about Switzerland’s rail network 

What about older kids?

If your child is too old to be excited by a slide, you need more sophisticated entertainment.

The SBB has that as well: family zone.

“Some tables are covered with board games. We recommend you use coins as game pieces and visit one of the many dice apps for smartphones in the various app stores for the dice,” SBB says. 

You can find these zones on InterCity trains marked with ‘FZ’ in the online timetable and the SBB Mobile app.

Psst! Be quiet!

Now, if you want some peace and quiet on your train journey, the obvious advice is to sit as far away as possible from FAs and FZs.

Fortunately, SBB trains have just the ticket: ‘quiet zones’ where no cell phones or loud conversations are allowed. InterCity trains with quiet zones are marked with RZ in the online timetable and in the SBB Mobile app.

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Switzerland to offer cheaper public transport options for young people

Switzerland has a good transportation network, but it can get expensive, especially for those who don’t earn much money — like students and other young people. But now there are cheaper tickets just for them.

Switzerland to offer cheaper public transport options for young people

Starting from June 1st, the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and SwissPass Alliance will launch three new “simple and affordable” offers for people under 25 years of age, to encourage them to use public transport more often.

“Young people are the public transport users of tomorrow,” the SwissPass Alliance said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Some of them attach great importance to climate protection, decarbonisation, and the sustainability of their journeys.”

These are the new offers:

  • The “AG Night,” a 99-franc-per year subscription allowing unlimited travel across all the public transportation network from 7 pm until 5 am during the week and 7am on weekends and public holidays.This will replace the the ‘seven25 travelcard’, which offers similar benefits but costs 390 francs per year.
  • The “Tandem day pass” will allow holders of the general youth subscription to take a person under the age of 25 with them every day of the year for 20 francs. 
  • The “Friends day pass,” which will enable four people to use public transport together for a whole day for 20 francs per person.

What other price reductions are available for young people?
Children under six ride free when accompanied by an adult (kids in this age group range always are).

Those slightly older, between six and 16, can benefit from the Child Subscription, Accompanied Child Card, and Junior Card, the latter two of which allow youngsters in this age group to travel for free when accompanied by either a parent or another adult.
You can find out more about each of these options in this link

And there are other attractions as well…

For the very young (or young at heart and body), some Swiss trains offer cool ways to amuse yourself on those long-ish train rides.

This article has all the information:

Slides and climbing frames: How Swiss trains entertain children