GoldenPass Line In Switzerland by train from Montreux via Interlaken to Lucerne

Lake Brienz

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The complete route GoldenPass Line (Montreux – Interlaken – Lucerne/Luzern) is completely free of charge for Interrail / Eurail / Swiss Travel Pass.

 

The GoldenPass Line route consits of three parts

MontreuxZweisimmen by the Montreux-Berner Oberland-Bahn (GoldenPass) (Narrow Gauge).
Zweisimmen – Interlaken by BLS (Normal Gauge).
Interlaken – Lucerne by Zentralbahn (Narrow Guage).

 

Towards Montreux

From Montreux there are the following connections:
– Brig  2 per hour
– Lausanne – Genève Aéroport  2 per hour
– With in Lausanne connections towards Bern (2 per hour) or Basel (Direct train via Biel/Bienne recommended! 1 per 2 hours).

Lausanne S-bahn
Lausanne S-bahn

 

Montreux – Zweisimmen  — GoldenPassLine

This is the official part of the GoldenPass Line. The MOB begins its journey in Montreux, departing trains normally making use of platform 5 (4 or 6) what is on the same platform coming from Lausanne. Winding its way up through the vineyards above Lake Geneva (beautiful sights!) the line passes through tunnels and hills to reach the Saane Valley (river). Following the Saane upstream it leaves the French-speaking canton of Vaud and enters the German-speaking canton of Berne. The route arrives than in Gstaad where it loops around to exclude the use of a rack system. Beyond Gstaad railway station it begins the climb to the highest point of Saanenmöser Pass, the highest point on the line at 1270 m (3937 ft). On the other side it descends the Simmen Valley to Zweisimmen, where there is a connection to the standard gauge line of the BLS to Spiez.

The GoldenPass Panoramic (VIP) departs in Montreux at 9.44 and 15.44 and in Zweisimmen at 12.25 and 18.25. Check for other times the timetable that is included on this page.

One GoldenPass train is fitted with VIP places (first class) in the most front of the train (underneath the driver) with a perfect front view. Since there are only 12 places available you must reserve these places. The reservation for these VIP frontview seats are compulsory and costs 15 CHF and the my 1/2 Class upgrade costed 11,40 EUR (Montreux – Zweisimmen).

Goldenpass view on Lake Geneva
Goldenpass view on Lake Geneva

 

Zweisimmen – Interlaken  — BLS

You need to change trains in Zweisimmen and Interlaken because of the track width problems. The GoldenPassLine and Zentralbahn use narrow gauge track. I personally don’t think that this part of the route is the most impressive part when you need to compare it with all the other things Switzerland can offer you. Most of your journey using the BLS over this route is just for transfer. Not all routes of the BLS are that bad, thinking of the BLS Lötschberg route!
Some time you need to change in Spiez as well. When you connect with the GoldenPass VIP train you have a direct RE towards Interlaken. Other times you may have to change in Spiez (mostly 10 min change time).
Reservation is possible, but not needed. Seat reservation costs: 5 CHF.

 

Interlaken – Luzern  —  ZentralBahn (ZB)

Interlaken Ost station shares the station with the BLS (in the direction of Spiez and Bern) and Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB towards Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald). Departing in Interlaken you immediately will cross the Aar river on a high bridge build in order to allow ships on the lake to reach Interlaken. From here the line runs on the northern shore of Lake Brienz towards Brienz. This is just a beautiful part of the route! From Brienz to Meiringen the line runs close to the Aar river, in that river’s valley.

For more information about the Jungfrau region and Interlaken please read this post!

Interlaken – Meiringen right seat recommended.
Meiringen – Luzern left seat recommended (change direction, just get the seat in opposite of you).

Brienz
Brienz
Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz

At Meiringen station, the train reverses directions with trains both entering and leaving the station from the west end. In the eastern end the Meiringen-Innerkirchen Bahn (MIB) connects here. When leaving the station, the line climbs its first rack section up the steep side of the valley of the Aar river, towards Brünig. This is the steepest rack section of the line. After the summit at Brünig-Harsliberg station in the Brünig Pass the line descents with the second rack section towards Lungern station. The views on this pass are not ‘immersive’ but worth seeing the train climbing and descending into the valleys.

From Lungern it runs alongside Lake Lungern and after the small station of Kaiserstuhl you will descend with the last rack section towards Giswil. From here on you will drive trough the valley towards Luzern. After you exit the tunnel before Hergiswil, where the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line diverges. The line ends at Lucerne station, one of Switzerland’s principal railway stations and which is shared with the standard gauge lines of the Swiss Federal Railways. The metre gauge terminal platforms, and the first section of the line, are shared with trains of the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line.

Reservation is possible, but not needed. Seat reservation costs: 8 CHF (booked by ZB) or 9,00 EUR (DB).

 

The video

 

Luzern and then?

Lucerne it self is worth to stay as well. You can travel further in a lot of different ways from here.
Have a look at the blog about Mount Rigi and the boat trip from Lucerne towards it here.

Timetable GoldenPass Line
Timetable GoldenPass Line 2015 (Update 2017: Mostly correct.)

Explanation: Dark Gold = GoldenPass Panoramic with VIP places. Light Gold = GoldenPass (normal) train. Blue = GoldenPass Classic (with old carriages). Red = Luzern-Interlaken Express (RE trains from ZB)
For the most most recent timetables please visit the website of the GoldenPass.

Find additional information about the Swiss Travel Pass for rail travel in Switzerland.

Wouter
I'm a railway engineer living in the Netherlands and in love with Switzerland.
Wouter
- 1 day ago
Wouter
wouter(at)rail.cc

2 Comments

  1. We (4 people) bought eurail two contries pass for France and Switzerland. We tried to book in the 3 trains for 03/June/2018.: Montreux-Zweisimmen, Zweisimmen – Interlaken Ost, and Interlaken Ost – Lucerne. However, only for the train Montreux-Zweisimmen we obtained the following error: We regret that on this day / at this time there are no trains where you can reserve a seat. Please select an alternative date or request trains without reservation option. On the next days there are many seats. For the other two trains there are many seats on 03/June/2018. Could you help us to use this route on 03/June/2018?

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