What's good to know about travelling on the routes taken by the Mont Blanc Express and St Bernard Express trains.
TMR operates a public transport network that includes two railway lines which are connected to the national SBB rail network at Martigny station:
(1) The CFC Chemins de fer Martigny–Châtelard railway is the route of the 'Mont Blanc Express'.
This journey between Martigny and the French border at Vallorcine is so fabulous that it has been included on the list of 20 Beautiful Swiss Train Rides.
(2) The Martigny–Orsières Railway is the route of the 'Saint Bernard Express'.
The Martigny–Orsières Railway actually comprises two railway lines;
Le Chable station is adjacent to the cable car station that gives access to the Verbier/4 Vallées winter sports area.
From Orsiéres, there are bus links through the Grand St Bernard tunnel which links Switzerland and Italy.
The Mont Blanc Express is in effect a service and not a specific train, so it's not an equivalent of the Glacier Express or The Bernina Express.
TMR uses the 'Mont Blanc Express' branding on its trains between Martigny and Vallorcine...
...but this is only one part of the entire 'Mont Blanc' route from Martigny to Chamonix and on to St Gervais; you can't see Mont Blanc from the TMR trains.
An odd feature of the trains used by TMR on its 'Mont Blanc Express' services is that both on the outside and interiors of the trains, there are route maps which imply a continuous journey between Martigny and St Gervais, but a change of trains is required at Vallorcine.
The CFC Chemins de fer Martigny–Châtelard railway, operated by TMR, is the link between Martigny and the French border, usually the TMR trains from Martigny...
...pass through two Swiss stations in Les Châtelard.and then cross the French border to call at Vallorcine station.
At Vallorcine easy cross platfiorm connections are are available for trains on to St Gervais via Chamonix.
Martigny station is served by SBB trains from Brig, Geneve, Lausanne, Montreux, Sion and Visp.
The EC trains on the route between Geneve and Brig, don’t call at Martigny.
On the other side of the French border, after the change of trains in Vallorcine, connections are available at Chamonix-Mont Blanc station to the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc line to Montenvers.
Connections are available at St Gervais into SNCF mainline trains to Annecy, and Bellegarde; where connections are available to Lyon and Paris (at weekends during the skiing season there are direct TGVs from St Gervais to Paris).
Though take care to look up the connections if you will be travelling on from St Gervais, not every train from Chamonix has a connection in St Gervais.
At St Gervais, connections are also available to The Mont Blanc Tramway Tramway du Mont-Blanc (TMB), the highest railway in France!
Note that TMR does not sell tickets online, but tickets between SBB stations and TMR stations can be booked on the SBB booking service.
And doing this can save precious minutes at Martigny station, as some of the connections between the SBB and TMR trains are tightly timed.
At Martigny station there is no TMR ticket machine and the ticket office is 200m down the street.
If you have an InterRail pass and will be making a tightly timed connection, it's worth asking before boarding, if you can pay the InterRail fee to the conductor on the train.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.
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