Swiss GoldenPass Line-Connecting Lucerne and Montreux
The GoldenPass line is a rail connection between the cities of Lucerne and Montreux. Contrary to the other Swiss railways, this line requires one to change trains. Three different companies are involved in getting you from point A to point B, but also different types of tracks.
1. On the first section of the GoldenPass line passengers are taken from the main station near Lake Lucerne to Interlaken via the Brunigpass.Just after the departure the train passes the foot of mount Pilatus. Then one views Lakes of Sarnen and Lungern before climbing the Brünigpass.
The pass has an altitude of 1008 meters above sea level which is rather low for Swiss standards.This section is a meter-gauge railway using a cogwheel system to cross the small pass on the way. The Zentralbahn, or zb, is one of the major players in central Switzerland’s public transportation and is in charge of that first part of the journey. The trains on this section feature first-class panorama and dining cars.
2. The second section covers the trip from Interlaken to Zweisimmen along Lake Thun, which is operated by BLS (Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon).
This section is on standard-gauge tracks that are 1435 millimetres wide. This is just over 17 inches wider than the meter-gauge tracks from before. Obviously, now you understand why it is necessary to change trains in Interlaken East (the town has two train stations).
After travelling along Lake Thun the tour proceeds through Simmen valley, which with its farms, small villages and mountains is typically Swiss. The BLS trains have a Salon car and GoldenPass Lounge in 1st class.
3. Once in Zweisimmen, you will have to change trains again, because it is back to meter-gauge tracks. Here we finally get the chance to board the GoldenPass Classic which has refurbished Orient Express cars. Enjoy the belle epoque cars or, if they are not available, hop on the GoldenPass Panoramic.
These are modern trains, again with panoramic windows, but also with VIP seats right in the front of the train. There you get the feeling of actually driving it.They are all run by MOB (Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Montreux Oberland Bernois), as the third company involved in the GoldenPass line.
After leaving Zweisimmen the train ascends to the highest point of the entire route at 1279 meters above sea level before reaching Gstaad.
The upper-class town offers luxurious hotels and shops and is the last stop in the German speaking portion of Switzerland. The train continues through a valley and tunnel to reach Les Avants, just 3km away from the destination. In order to arrive in Montreux another descend of 578 meters lasting about 20 minutes is still ahead. During the descend you get a magnificient view of Lake Geneva, making it probably the most scenic section of the GoldenPass line.