Imagine winding through the snow-capped Swiss Alps on a heated seat enjoying champagne and caviar while you take in the sights. That is now possible thanks to the launch of the GoldenPass Express, Switzerland’s newest scenic train. The seamless train ride connects the Swiss cities of Montreux and Interlaken and the 12 stops in between and takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.
The announcement of the GoldenPass Express is a big deal. The gorgeous journey is made possible by new components that allow the train to travel on two different width tracks, something that has not been done to this extent before. The project is said to have cost $96 million dollars. Operators hope this journey will join the ranks of other famous tourist trains like the Glacier Express and Bernina Express.
A Long Time Coming
The idea for this train has been in the works since 1873. In 1916 the GoldenPass Line was established making travel possible between Montreux and Lucerne. However, the rail network was built with two different gauge widths, meaning passengers needed to make 2 transfers throughout the journey. There were high hopes that building a third rail line could solve the problem, but the project’s expense was prohibitive.
Fancy New Train Technology
The problem faced by the engineers had to do with the size of the tracks that were built specific to the terrain they travel through. The mountain railways were built with metric gauges, while the long-distance tracks were standard gauges.
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A game-changing resolution came when it was decided to modify the trains themselves, rather than the tracks. The resulting solution was to have the trains “jump” the two tracks. This is accomplished by using variable gauge bougies (the structure under the train that holds the axles and wheels in place ) and a gauge adapting ramp that can accommodate both sets of tracks, as well as the different platform heights. This is all done in seconds while passengers remain comfortably in their seats.
A Swiss Trian Journey With Breathtaking Scenery
The journey between Montreux and Interlaken is simply stunning. Passengers travel through the Vaud Riviera past the Bernese Alps and Pays-d’Enhaut. Advocates for the line had long dreamt of a seamless journey from “palm trees to glaciers” within the diverse mountain region.
The train now seamlessly connects the French and German-speaking regions, the rural areas to the cities, and lakes with the mountains and glaciers. The train’s launch is not only a dream come true for long-term supporters, it is also an engineering feat and world-first because of the new equipment used.
Passengers Can Enjoy The Ride In Luxury
The GoldenPass Express can carry 184 passengers in its five coaches. There are three different classes of seats available to purchase. While the majority of seats are in 2nd class, passengers can upgrade to 1st or Prestige class and truly ride in style.
Prestige class has 18 exclusive seats that are heated and can rotate so that passengers are always facing the direction of travel. The seats are extra roomy and comfortable and raised up by 15 inches so that passengers feel like they are part of the surrounding nature. All of the coaches offer panoramic views of beautiful Swiss nature.
GoldenPass Express has prioritized local purveyors in its food and beverage selection. Wines are from Swiss winemakers Testuz, and beer from the Rugenbräu brewery is also served. Charcuterie platters from a local Swiss butchery are available, as well as a selection of locally farmed Oona caviar.
Prices vary by class and passenger type and currently cost $78 for a second-class ticket, $122 for 1st class, and it costs an additional $38 to upgrade to a prestige class. Tickets can be purchased on the GoldenPass Express website. The train currently operates once a day in each direction. Beginning in June there will be four round-trip journeys.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com