On December 11th, Switzerland‘s newest panoramic train took its first journey. The GoldenPass Express offers a smooth and even more comfortable travel experience on one of Switzerland’s most beautiful rail routes, between the cities of Interlaken and Montreux. It is possible to make the entire journey in 3 hours and 15 minutes without changing trains. The new scenic train operated by Montreux Berner Oberland-Bahn AG is expected run up to four times a day (from June 2023) and at all times offer breathtaking views of a dazzling landscape.
The idea of connecting the lakes of Geneva, Gstaad and the lakes of Thun and Brienz dates back to 1873, when the three great regions were united, but when the tracks were built, they were built with different gauges: a metric one (1 m) between Montreux and Zweisimmen and another of normal gauge (1.435 m) between Zweisimmen and Interlaken. In 1924, the GoldenPass association was created, which today has managed to bring Montreux even closer to the Jungfrau and Lucerne with this improvement in its trains.
Our goal is to create beautiful objects while overcoming technical or regulatory obstacles.Alfredo Palma, design project manager at Pininfarina
In 2008, MOB (Montreux Oberland Bernois Railway) came up with the idea of modifying the bogies instead of the gauge of the entire track. With a variable gauge bogie, the train passes from one track to another, shortening the trip from Montreux to Interlaken. MOB partnered with the company Alstom, together with which it developed four prototype bogies for passenger locomotives in 2019. A MOB locomotive pulls the train between Montreux and Zweisimmen, while between Zweisimmen and Interlaken, a BLS locomotive does.
Design of the train was taken care of by Italian firm Pininfarina, famous for creations commissioned by automative brands such as Ferrari and Peugeot. “Having to deal with new safety standards has been a stimulus to our creativity, rather than a limitation,” Alfredo Palma, design project manager at Pininfarina, told CNN. “In every project, whether it is automotive, transportation or architecture, our goal is to create beautiful objects while overcoming technical or regulatory obstacles. With MOB we have created a train that offers an immersive travel experience, in total symbiosis with the beauty of the surrounding nature.”
Thanks to the Zweisimmen extension ramp, train can switch from metric to normal track and vice versa. The carriage also lifts, adapting to the different platform heights (55 cm on normal track, 35 cm on metric track).
The journey on the GoldenPass Express is like a short tour through Switzerland. The route starts in picturesque Interlaken and passes through Gstaad, Château-d’Oex and Montbovon to Montreux, the end of the journey. Of course, you can also start your journey in Montreux.
Interlaken is the starting point for many leisure activities and impresses with its unparalleled view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Elegant Gstaad, with its coquettish chalets, is not only popular with winter sports enthusiasts; it is also a favorite haunt of the stars. At Château-d’Oex, it is possible to can watch a hot-air balloon take off, while Montreux hosts the annual Montreux Jazz Festival.
Passengers have a choice of three classes: Second Class, First Class, or Prestige Class. Due to the very limited number of seats, a reservation for the Prestige category (35 CHF) is mandatory, in addition to a valid ticket for the selected travel class. Reservations are recommended for 1st and 2nd class travel.