Collectible Swiss Train & Transport Tickets

Schweizer Bahn & Transportations Billette zum Sammeln


Digging through some items in storage recently, I found my collection of old train, bus & other transportation tickets from Switzerland!

Back in the 1960's & 1970's, when you purchased a public transportation ticket in Switzerland it was printed on a small piece of cardboard (which was usually brown).

Living in Switzerland in those days (and even now...), one doesn't really need a car, public transportation (national & regional trains, inner-city & Post Office buses, trams, funiculars, chairlifts and aerial trams will take you pretty much anywhere!

Below is a picture containing just some of these tickets that I have saved, dating from the late 1960's to mid-1970's:


For those of you not familiar with Switzerland or their transportation:  the Swiss Post Office actually transports people in large yellow buses to towns & villages that can not be reached by the national or regional train system.  




Back then, the Swiss Post Office was known as the "PTT" (Post - Telefon - Telegraf); now it is split into 2 separate organizations, Swiss Post & SwissCom.   The Swiss National Train system is known as the "SBB" (Schweizerische Bundesbahn - Swiss Federal Railroad).

Back to the tickets.  Below are some notes about how to "read" these tickets:

  • If half of the ticket is white, it generally indicates a "half-price" ticket, those issued to seniors, children or others with discounts
  • "PTT" - means that this was issued by the Post Office, not the train system
  • "2. Kl" means 2nd Class - the way most people travelled.  
  • "1. Kl" means 1st Class - much nicer seats, quieter, white cloth on headrests.
  • "Fr." means Franken (Swiss Francs), the number after "Fr" is the amount.   If I remember correctly, in the 1960's & early 1970's, 1 US Dollar was worth a little over 4 Swiss Francs (or 1 Fr = 25¢ US).
  • A "left & right arrow" in a black box means that this is a round-trip ticket, otherwise it is one way.
  • "Sessellift" or "Sesselbahn" means chair-lift 
  • One way tickets were valid for 2 days from purchase, round-trip tickets for 10 days. 

Early versions of the tickets had the origin / destination cities pre-printed, and then the date was embossed at the top at the time of purchase.  Newer versions of the tickets were printed to order (from a curved printing plate) onto a blank piece of cardboard with the date printed rather than embossed.

Conductors came around and "punched" your ticket.   The conductors always ended up wanting to keep the tickets after invalidating them.  The reason was that they would be paid 1 Swiss cent for each ticket collected (for recycling purposes).   As kids, we always had to ask "Chönnet wir die Billet b'halte?" (can we keep the tickets); they usually scowled a bit, but let us keep them!   ... And as a result, here they are! 

I have scanned the rest of the tickets in my collection (I have about 10 times as many as are shown above, and have put them into a self-running electronic book on CD-ROM for anyone wishing to purchase them for a low price.  Click here to go to the CD-ROM page.

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