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Glacier Express mythbuster


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1960man
1960man
4374 posts
expert
Jun 21, 2022 - 11:54 PM

Glacier Express mythbuster

It is worth taking a moment to understand the Glacier Express concept. It requires careful thought as it is not the only way to see the Swiss Alps!

Neither Luzern nor Interlaken /Jungfrau area are a good base from which to go and travel on the Glacier Express. The Glacier Express runs East - West across the southern edge of Switzerland, and Interlaken and Luzern is to the north side of the mountains.

The modern day Glacier Express brand is extremely well (some might say far far too well) marketed to overseas tourists, but that masks some facts, the most important one being that it doesn’t go past any significant glaciers any more !

Geographically it runs East - West across the southern extremity of Switzerland, so does not fit in to all Swiss holiday itineraries. Just because the train exists doesn’t mean it is necessary to travel on it – there are dozens of other ways to see the same or similar Swiss alpine scenery.

The Glacier Express suits organised tours that rush you to Zermatt, then put you on the Glacier Express all day, then rush you off from St Moritz to somewhere else. But for independent tourists, there are a plenty of regular trains on these and all the other Swiss railways, so there are a very large number of other sights to see in Switzerland which are ‘not’ on the Glacier Express!

If you already have lots of mountains and mountain peaks in your planned itinerary there is little point in adding the Glacier Express trip.

The Glacier Express trains are special trains on the Rhaetische Bahn (RhB) and Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) railway company lines which run in addition to normal ordinary service trains. The 'panoramic' coaches on these trains require a reservation or supplementary fare to be paid in addition to the normal fare. In all cases ordinary trains can be travelled on on the RhB/MGB network without paying any additional fare.

In all cases if you choose (or find yourself on) an ordinary train you won't miss the scenery as all Swiss train carriages on these lines have large windows giving good views.

The Glacier Express started as a single train once a day each way in June 1930, running slightly (but not much) faster than the regular trains and conveying a restaurant car for the wealthy to travel between the two ‘elite’ resorts of Zermatt and St Moritz.

1960man
1960man
4374 posts
expert
Jun 22, 2022 - 1:11 AM in reply to 1960man

Note to Arno - please can you pin this as you requested me to do a single post to avoid duplicating comments

Arno
Arno
15686 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 22, 2022 - 4:48 AM in reply to 1960man

Hi 1960man,

Thanks a lot! I have marked this thread as "permanently open". Unlike other threads it will not automatically close, so people can keep replying here.

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