Fastest journey11hr 2m
The journey by train from London to St Moritz is easily done in a day, but it makes sense to make an early start so that there is still some daylight for the final part of the journey through the Alps to St Moritz. This really is one of the finest rail journeys which can be completed in a single day from London.
The journey to St Moritz starts with a high-speed run on Eurostar from London to Paris. In the French capital you change stations, joining a TGV Lyria service at the Gare de Lyon. It’s a fast dash on the TGV to Zurich, but there the pace slows as you join a Swiss Railways train to Chur. Sit back and enjoy a feast of Alpine scenery for the final leg of the journey on board a Rhaetian Railway (RhB) train from Chur to St Moritz.
Some routes from London to Zurich require an additional change of train at Basel. Tickets normally go on sale two months prior to travel. If you are keen to get a bargain fare, that’s the moment to book.
London to Paris
Board a Eurostar service from London to Paris. There are upwards of 15 trains to Paris from London each day with departures at least hourly from the beautifully restored station at St Pancras in London. The fastest trains speed to Paris in just 2 hrs 16 mins, with slower services taking up to 20 mins longer to reach the Gare du Nord in Paris. The first part of the journey from London sweeps through Thameside landscapes and rural Kent to reach the Channel Tunnel. Little more than an hour after leaving London you'll already be in northern France, tracking south through Flanders fields towards Paris.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar's airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. There is a luggage and body scan and you'll be asked to show your passport. There are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Paris interchange: Paris Nord to Paris Lyon
When you alight from the train at Gare du Nord look for signs to the Metro and RER. Once you've bought a ticket follow the signs to 'RER D', direction 'Melun' or 'Malesherbes'. So long as you're heading in the right direction, all the trains on this line stop at Gare de Lyon. The actual train journey takes around 10 mins with just one stop on the way at Châtelet-les-Halles. Upon alighting from the RER train at Gare de Lyon, follow the signs to the mainline station. The signs read 'Accès aux trains Grandes Lignes'. The whole journey from the concourse at Gare du Nord to the mainline departure platforms at Gare de Lyon will normally take about 40 mins but we recommend leaving at least 50 mins.
If you are arriving at Gare du Nord from London, bear in mind that you can buy Paris Métro tickets at the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras and on board the Eurostar train. Similarly, passengers arriving at the Gare du Nord on Thalys trains from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands can buy Metro tickets on the train (at the Thalys Bar). Although universally referred to as Métro tickets, they are in fact valid on RER trains too.
Paris to Zurich
The opening of new high-speed rail routes in eastern France has halved the travel time from Paris to Zurich. Six trains each day (five at weekends) now make the 616-kilometre journey in just over four hours. The direct TGV Lyria trains to Zurich all depart from the Gare de Lyon in the French capital. In Zurich they terminate at the Hauptbahnhof (which is shown as Zurich HB here on Loco2).
The route runs via Burgundy and the Franche-Comté region, using the new Dijon to Belfort line which opened in late 2011. Trains on the Paris to Zurich route all make two intermediate stops in France before crossing the Swiss border at Basel (Bâle in French) where all trains stop. From Basel, they run non-stop to Zurich.
Zurich to Chur
Trains normally run every 30 minutes from Zurich to Chur (Coire in French), taking about between 75 and 95 minutes for the 116 kilometre journey. The route is served in the main by Swiss Intercity or InterRegio trains, although from late 2015 an occasional German ICE also plies the route. These services all leave from Zurich Hauptbahnhof (shown as Zurich HB in the Loco2 booking system). It is a pleasant journey through broad valleys with excellent views of the Alps. You'll pass the shores of the Zürichsee and later the Wallensee to reach Chur in the Rhine Valley. At Chur, there are onward Rhaetian Railway (RhB) narrow-gauge trains giving connections to Arosa, St Moritz, Davos and other destinations across Graubünden. The bus station (on the upper level of the station complex at Chur) has regular departures to buses across the region.
Chur to St Moritz
Platform 10 at Chur station is the departure point for the hourly RegioExpress trains for St Moritz. The 14 daily trains which ply the route are run by the Rhaetian Railway (RhB), whose red narrow-gauge trains serve remote communities across eastern Switzerland. The 89-kilometre journey from Chur to St Moritz takes two hours.
The train follows the Hinterrhein and Albula valleys, tackling a series of steep spirals as the line skirts the edge of Piz Muot. It then plunges into the Albula Tunnel to reach the Inn Valley and St Moritz.
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Image credits: St Moritz by Ethreon