The GoldenPass is a train route that starts in Lucerne. Along the way to Montreux you'll see the Brünig Pass, the lakes of the Bernese Oberland, the Simmen valley, upper-class Gstaad and Lake Geneva.
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A journey on the GoldenPass
Unlike the Bernina Express and Glacier Express, the GoldenPass is not a direct train. It's a scenic route, serviced by several very special trains. You need to switch trains in Interlaken and Zweisimmen.
The entire route takes almost 5.5 hours. It's ideal for travelers who enter Switzerland by plane and only plan a short stay. Zurich airport is just one hour from Lucerne, and Geneva airport is just 75 minutes from Montreux.
You can travel from Lucerne to Montreux or the other way round. The train route consists of three sections: Lucerne to Interlaken Ost, Interlaken Ost to Zweisimmen and Zweisimmen to Montreux.
There are different train types on each section of the route. That's because three different railway companies operate on the GoldenPass line. There's the Zentralbahn between Lucerne and Interlaken Ost, the Bern–Lötschberg–Simplon railways (BLS) between Interlaken Ost and Zweisimmen and the Chemin de fer Montreux–Oberland Bernois (MOB) between Zweisimmen and Montreux.
Between Lucerne and Interlaken Ost there are modern, air-conditioned trains with large panoramic windows and catering. This train is referred to as the Luzern-Interlaken Express.
From Interlaken Ost to Zweisimmen there are regular but comfortable trains.
Between Zweisimmen and Montreux you can choose between GoldenPass Belle Epoque and GoldenPass Panoramic trains. The Belle Epoque train has coaches with a historical, luxurious atmosphere. The modern Panoramic trains have panoramic windows, and some of them have a few first class VIP seats in the front of the train, offering the same view the driver has. Apart from these, there are regular local trains as well.
The GoldenPass Express, Interlaken-Montreux
From December 2022, there will be an ongoing connection between Interlaken and Montreux with new rolling stock. This will be called the GoldenPass Express. It can switch from standard gauge (beween Interlaken and Zweisimmen) to narrow gauge (between Zweisimmen and Montreux). There's no need to change trains in Zweisimmen anymore.
Travelers can expect large windows with reduced reflection and a comfortable, modern interior. There will be also be "Prestige Class" with rotating seats and catering.
What's the best season?
You particularly need good, clear weather, and that could be in any season. Spring is wonderful as nature is green and fresh in the valleys and there's still snow at higher altitudes. Summer is a beautiful time around the several lakes. In fall, the brilliantly colored trees make the trip a special experience. Winter is great for a snow covered landscape.
Regular trains versus GoldenPass trains
There are regular train services on the same line as well. The regular trains may not offer the the same level of comfort, but they're still comfortable to travel with and allow you to see the landscape just as well.
Combine the GoldenPass and the RegioExpress Lötschberger
If you are based in the Bernese Oberland, then consider this round trip:
- Take the GoldenPass train to Zweisimmen and Montreux.
- Spend some time in Montreux.
- Take a train to Brig.
- Board the RegioExpress Lötschberger train via Goppenstein and Kandersteg to Spiez.
- Take a train back to your base town.
Combine the GoldenPass and the Voralpen Express
The GoldenPass trains start or end in Lucerne. That's where you can get on or off the Voralpen Express as well.