Travelling on a GoldenPass Line train
At a glance
- Regional train
- Scenic train
There are faster journey options between Lucerne and Montreux, but the slow but scenic GoldenPass route cuts through some of Europe’s most magnificent mountain scenery. You will have to change trains along the way, but that’s easy. Just a short hop from one train to the next, usually on an adjacent platform. Several rail companies cooperate in running and promoting the GoldenPass route, offering a scenic day-long trip from north-east to south-west across central Switzerland. The two main rail companies are Lucerne-based operator Zentralbahn and Montreux-based MOB.
The scenic GoldenPass route takes in mountains and valleys, skirting the northern edge of the Bernese Oberland, and along the way serving the resorts of Meiringen, Brienz, Interlaken, Spiez and Gstaad. By adding on connecting journeys at either end, the GoldenPass route can be included as part of longer Swiss itineraries, for example from Zurich to Geneva.
High-quality trains operate on each stretch of the GoldenPass route, always offering a choice of 2nd or 1st class. On the stretch from Zweisimmen to Montreux, some trains are branded as GoldenPass Panoramic or GoldenPass Classic; these trains in particular pull the tourist crowds and may be more crowded. The Panoramic trains also offer a handful of VIP seats, not bookable in advance, but available with a small supplement over the first-class fare.
The beauty of the GoldenPass route is that, unlike the Glacier Express or the Bernina Express, it is a hop-on-and-ride service. There are no supplements and no need to reserve a seat in advance (bar for groups of 10+ where MOB does request pre-reservation for travel on the Zweisimmen to Montreux leg). Fares don't creep up in price closer to the day of travel, so this is one of those route where there's no great imperative to pre-book. The end-to-end fare for the entire six-hour journey is under €75.
A related tourist train run by MOB, one of the Golden Pass operators, is the Chocolate Train, a seasonal round-trip service that departs from Montreux and introduces passengers to cheese production at Gruyère and the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory. Part of that day-long tour is conducted by bus. The Chocolate train runs from early May till late October. This is bookable on their own website.
Before you board
Ensure you arrive at the station at least 10 mins before your GoldenPass train’s scheduled departure time.
On two daily GoldenPass Classic trains from Zweisimmen to Montreux (and return), a cold at-seat meal is available at a set price. Advance reservation is essential. The trains on which this service is available have wonderful antique carriages. Scenic GoldenPass Panoramic trains on the Zweisimmen to Montreux route offer a more limited service. A range of snacks and sandwiches are available as well as hot and cold drinks including alcoholic beverages.
Trains branded Panoramic or Classic on the scenic Zweisimmen to Montreux section of the route usually have a bar service (between about 09.00 and 16.30), offering a limited range of snacks, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks including alcoholic beverages.
Newer scenic trains on the Lucerne–Interlaken section of the GoldenPass route include a smart bistro offering à la carte meals. Drinks and snacks are available too and menus change regularly.
Booking and printing options
Scenic GoldenPass tickets are open for bookings 90 days in advance.
Seat reservations are not compulsory on GoldenPass trains, except when travelling in a group.
Get the lowest prices on normal passenger trains travelling on the GoldenPass route by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.
Classes of service
The scenic trains branded GoldenPass provide three classes of service: Standard Class, First Class, and VIP class.
GoldenPass VIP Class
Two trains each day between Zweisimmen and Montreux have 12 seats in a designated VIP area at the end of one First Class GoldenPass Panoramic carriage, the supplement for which is 15 Swiss francs. These seats are less spacious than regular seating in First Class but, if you are in the front row, the view is great – otherwise First Class is just as good.
GoldenPass First Class
Almost all trains on the GoldenPass route have First Class seating, the only exceptions being some local trains at the western extremity of the route (from Les Avants to Montreux). Upgrading to First Class gives you a little more space.
GoldenPass Standard Class
All trains on the GoldenPass route offer good Standard Class seating. The only exception is the Train du Chocolat (Chocolate train). Luggage space may be limited on local trains on the GoldenPass route.