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Travel News The arrival of The Golden Pass Express
The Golden Pass Express is direct between Montreux and Interlaken

The arrival of The Golden Pass Express

This new train service will operate direct in both directions between Montreux and Interlaken over the wonderful 'Golden Pass Route'

| Last Updated: 12 months ago

The 'Golden Pass route' crosses central Switzerland between Montreux on the shore of Lake Geneva and Luzern.
The eastern end of the 'route;' comprises the Brunig Railway between Interlaken and Luzern, which is used by the Luzern to Interlaken Express, as operated by the Zentralbahn.
The route's western end between Montreux and Zweisimmen is operated by the MOB railway and it describes its train service on this line as 'Golden Pass trains'.
Both the Zentralbahn and The MOB are privately operated Swiss narrow gauge mountain railways.

The middle section of the route between Zweisimmen and Interlaken is different, as it is a conventional full-sized railway, BLS operates the mainline trains between Zweisimmen and Spiez and the national rail operator SBB, provides the trains between Spiez and Interlaken.

So making the end-to-end journey between Montreux and Luzern typically required three connections between trains, at the stations in Zweisimmen, Spiez and Interlaken.
So the very welcome news is that this situation will be changing for the better.

New direct trains between Montreux and Interlaken

From December 11th new 'Golden Pass Express' trains operated by MOB will be available for a daily direct journey in both directions between Montreux and Interlaken.
The trains use new machinery installed at Zweisimmen station which will enable them to switch between the two different sizes of railway tracks.

The service had to be suspended due to a technical fault, but it is resuming once per day from June 11th

The trains won't convey restaurant cars, but a meal boxes will be available for pre-order, plus there will be a catering services available to all passengers which will include snacks and local beers.

In addition to standard and first class seating, a Prestige class will be available on each train.
It will comprise 8 - 10 raised seats for maximized views, which can also be rotated so that they're facing the direction of travel, the seats are also heated and customizable,

Montreux to Interlaken

From December 11th until June 10th a daily train will be departing Montreux at 09:35 and arriving into Interlaken Ost at 12:50.
At 13:04 the connecting train will depart for Luzern, where it will arrive at 14:55.
When heading west a connecting train will typically depart Geneve for Montreux at 08:10 and from Lausanne at 08:50.
For a round trip, there are hourly direct trains back to Lausanne and Geneve from Luzern.

From June 11th the services will increase to 4 x trains per day with additional departures from Montreux at 07:35, 12:35 and 14:35.
All of which will connect in Interlaken for trains on to Luzern / Lucerne. This service expansion is currently on hold.

Interlaken to Montreux
From December 11th until June 10th a daily train will be departing Interlaken Ost at 09:08 and arriving into Montreux at 12:20.
The connecting train will depart Luzern at 07:06 and on arrival into Montreux, connecting trains will be available to Brig, Geneve, Lausanne and Martigny, from where connections will be available into the 'Mont Blanc Express'.

From June 11th the services will increase to 4 x trains per day with additional departures from Interlaken Ost station at 11:08, 14:08 and 16:08.This service expansion is currently on hold.

Booking tickets and using rail passes

The price for a journey in either direction between Montreux and Interlaken is 53 CHF in 2nd class and 93 CHF in 1st Class, though holders of Half Fare Cards can book at a 50% discount, hence the ticket price shown on the BOB website being from 26.50 CHF.

Regardless of the price paid for the ticket for travel in first or second class, a seat reservation fee of 20 CHF will be added to this price.
Users of valid rail passes will have to pay this reservation fee of 20 CHF.
Though it will still be possible for users of valid rail passes to travel the length of the entire route, by making the connections between the regular trains, without paying any reservation fees.

To travel in the Prestige Class a 15 CHF supplement is payable on the 1st class fare, plus the reservation fee of 20 CHF is also added to provide a total ticket cost in Prestige Class for a journey in either direction between Montreux and Interlaken of 128 CHF.
Eurail and InterRail pass users cannot book reservations to travel in the Prestige Class.

Tickets for journeys on shorter distance routes, such as Montreux and Spiez, or Interlaken to Zwiesimmen are sold at cheaper rates, but the reservation fees and the Prestige supplement are a flat rate, regardless of the distance travelled.

The route

Pretty much every minute of the journey between Montreux and Interlaken will be wonderful.

On departure from Montreux, the train will ascend up the mountain slope on a twisting route, so that both sides of the trains have sensational views down on to Lac Leman (Lake Geneva).
Looking down over Montreux as the train begins its ascent

The train then follows a route through stunning mountain passes to Zweisimmen.

West of Gstaad

Between Zweisimmen and Spiez the follows the valley carved by the River Simme...

Through the gorge on a train travelling between Zweisimmen and Spiez

Passing by the River Simme

Though one highlight of the journey, which is the view over the Thunersee between Spiez is only available on the right when heading east from Luzern.
So it is on the left, when heading west from Montreux.

Looking over Lake Thun #1

Rail Pass Itinerary: Scenic Journeys


Simon Harper

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