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The Voralpen-Express route

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The Voralpen-Express route

You can travel from Lucerne (a popular town in Central Switzerland) to St. Gallen (the main town in Eastern Switzerland), or the other way around, in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

An overview of the train route

The Voralpen-Express travels between Lucerne and St. Gallen, in both directions. There are several stops along the route, where you can transfer to popular tourist attractions like Rigi (get out in Arth-Goldau) and the Einsiedeln abbey (get out in Biberbrugg). You’ll pass the shores of Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich, and you’ll have views of rolling green hills with the Alps in the distance.

Sections of the Voralpen-Express journey

There are three main areas you pass through on this route:

  • Lucerne to Arth-Goldau. You’ll travel alongside Lake Lucerne, with the Pilatus in the background, and you’ll pass the beautiful hiking area of Rigi.
  • Arth-Goldau to Rapperswil. The peaks of the Schwyzer Mythen can be seen near Arth-Goldau. A bit further on, you’ll reach the moorland plateau of Rothenthurm and arrive in the charming town Rapperswil along Lake Zurich.
  • Rapperswil to St. Gallen. You’ll cross the hills of Toggenburg and pass the Sitter viaduct, which is Switzerland’s highest rail viaduct with 99 meters. The mountain of Säntis can be seen in the distance.

Although views are good from both sides of the train, we recommend sitting on the right side between Lucerne and Wattwil, and on the left side between Wattwil and St. Gallen.

Which section is best?

We think the section between Lucerne and Arth-Goldau is prettiest if you’re looking for lakes and mountain scenery. If you want a change of scenery compared to the Swiss mountain regions, we recommend the lowlands around Rapperswil and Lake Zurich along with the viaducts close to St. Gallen.

Combine the Voralpen-Express with the GoldenPass or Gotthard Panorama Express

Would you like to include sections of other famous panoramic train journeys, such as the GoldenPass route or the Gotthard Panorama Express? Here are some options:

  • For a combination with the GoldenPass, travel from St. Gallen to Montreux like this: St. Gallen – Voralpen-Express to Lucerne - GoldenPass route to Interlaken, Zweisimmen and Montreux.
  • for a combination with the Gotthard Panorama Express, travel from St. Gallen to Lugano like this: St. Gallen – Voralpen-Express to Lucerne - boat to Flüelen - Gotthard Panorama Express train to Lugano.

Dates of operation

The trains operate all year.


You can search for connections from and to all towns along the route, and you can break down your route into several shorter segments. The Voralpen-Express trains are indicated by the abbreviation ‘IR’ (Interregio), and if you click on a connection for details, the name ‘Voralpen-Express’ will appear.

Plan your trip

Swiss Travel Pass promotion: 25% discount
Available until 11 December 2021. Book 11 months in advance. Free cancellation.

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