Panoramic Map of The Jungfrau Region - Wengen sits on a high plateau at 4,000 ft

Panoramic Map of The Jungfrau Region - Wengen sits on a high plateau at 4,000 ft
How to describe Wengen, Switzerland?

Lovely for couples and romance. Great for families and friends. Heaven on earth for skiiers, walkers, climbers and mountain bikers. Fabulous for artists and photographers. Ideal for those who wish to explore Swiss history, enjoy spectacular train journeys and visit beautiful places. Pretty, quiet, picturesque, fresh air galore. A perfect holiday, celebration and conference venue.

There's so much to do and see in and around Wengen. A beautiful car-free Alpine village with a range of accommodation to suit everyone's pocket, all at Swiss-quality standards and service.

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Crime on Swiss Rail - Beware Pickpockets

While we love living in Switzerland, there is a serious problem with pickpockets in train stations and on trains.

Tourists can be lulled into a false sense of security with the cleanliness and punctuality of public transport in Switzerland.

Here are a few examples of recent crimes we have witnessed or been told about.

Pickpocket at Interlaken Ost Station, September 2013

I boarded a train bound for Bern around 9am. I entered the first class cabin and as I took my seat a distinguished looking, tall Indian gentleman leaped out of the train yelling 'Thief!  Thief!'  He raced down the steps on the platform following a man of about 25.  The train conductors were then right behind him racing down the steps and radioing for help.  A few minutes later, very much out of breath, the man returned to the train.  The young man had bumped into him inside the train as he was boarding - and they were the only two people in sight.  Within a few seconds he realised his wallet had been taken from his back pocket.  He chased after the thief, who had dropped the wallet, and the Swiss Rail personnel had apprehended the thief.  The gentleman was very flustered and out of breath.  I will give the Swiss Rail personnel credit for the their handling of the situation.  They indicated the man would be deported from Switzerland (he was Eastern European).  The train got going towards Bern within about 20 minutes and they provided a free meal for the man and his family.

Thieves working Interlaken West Station, August 2013

Travelling towards Bern from Interlaken Ost, I noticed when we stopped at Interlaken West that there were 2 young men of swarthy appearance on the platform.  One got into the 1st class cabin, the other stayed on the platform.  The man sat down in a seat and then quickly got up, the friend walking along the outside of the carriage.  Just before the train was to depart the man jumped out of the train.  They were clearly casing the carriage.  Swiss Rail personnel were alerted.

Pickpocket at Geneva Airport Station, January 2014

Friends travelling to Wengen were warned about possible pickpockets and had their luggage close to them on the train.  At Geneva Airport the train can sit at the station for several minutes before it departs, allowing ample time for thieves to board and case the carriages.  The short trip to Geneva also allows them to get on the train and travel to Geneva before they are asked for their tickets.  The friend hung his coat on a hook above his head.  His wallet was in the pocket.  By the time they train arrived in Lausanne he noticed his wallet was on the top of the seat just behind his head.  Someone had removed the wallet, taken the cash (200 CHF) and just left the wallet there.  Because my friends were sitting side by side they never saw anyone behind them.

Thieves at Montreaux Station  February 2013

Friends travelling to Gstaad were changing trains at Montreaux to go to Geneva.  This was during half term so the trains were very crowded.  My friend was approached by two young women, one of whom dropped her bag and papers went everywhere.  My friend leaned over to help them and someone behind her took her wallet out of her (open) handbag.  It was only when the ticket collector approached on the train that she realised her wallet (and tickets) had been taken.  The conductor said it was a big problem at Montreaux.

There is a good article on Trip  Advisor about other pickpockets, particularly in Visp.