A Train Journey on the Golden Pass Line: Montreux to Lucerne
After a short stay in Paris we wanted to make our way across to Venice via Switzerland and enjoy the scenery along the way.
Our ‘accommodation guru’ came up with a great plan. We would travel by train from Paris to Montreux (on Lake Geneva) then take the Golden Pass Line through to Lucerne where we would spend two nights and one day, before continuing by train onto Venice.
The Golden Pass Line is a spectacular rail trip with views of Swiss villages, rivers, lakes, forests and mountains. Because of the changes in rail gauge along the route, the Golden Pass Line involves taking three different trains.
Some people would probably take a few days to do this scenic rail trip, making a few overnight stops along the way, however, on this particular trip, we wanted to travel between Paris and Italy fairly quickly without flying and without the expense of a rental car one-way. We decided to travel between Paris and Lucerne in one day.
Paris – Lausanne – Montreux – Zseisimmen – Interlaken Ost – Lucerne
Our rail trip began at Paris’ Gare de Lyon with a 7:58 morning departure on a TGV (fast-train) arriving in Lausanne at 11:37. We travelled first class and it was a beautiful train. We ordered breakfast and enjoyed the view of the French countryside.
From Lausanne we made a short trip on an InterRegio train departing 11:45 arriving Montreux at 12:04. Montreux was where our Golden Pass Line journey would begin.
We picked up the Golden Pass Classic in Montreux departing 13:45, arriving Zweisimmen at 15:32. This small train climbed the steep slopes beside Lake Geneva. The track seemed to travel through people’s back gardens! It was very interesting and the views across the lake were fantastic. At Zweisimmen we crossed the platform to take the RegioExpress Golden Pass Panoramic train departing 15.36, arriving Interlaken Ost at 16:50.
We departed Interlaken Ost at 17:04 on an InterRegio train, arriving Lucerne 19:04.
It was mid-winter and the scenery along the way was picture-postcard – pretty villages, lakes and snow-capped mountains.
Needless to say, the trains arrived and left spot on-time. That’s Swiss rail for you. For us the only downside was missing the scenery between Interlaken and Lucerne as night fell.
If you love train travel, you will be in heaven on this trip. Not only is there beautiful scenery along the way, you travel on different types of trains and experience a passing parade of local train travellers and tourists.
Just a tip – because of the changes involved on this trip, the less luggage you have, the less hassle it will be to change trains.
Golden Pass Line Bookings
Because of the popularity of the Golden Pass Line and the quick train changes, we booked all tickets well in advance – through CIT Holidays, Sydney (www.cit.com.au).
Other references are:
- Golden Pass Line – http://www.goldenpass.ch/fr
- My Swiss Alps – Golden Pass website
Note: The train trips described in this post were made during Winter 2010, so please do not rely on departure and arrival times given in this post – as they may change over the years and with each season.
Train Trip from Lucerne to Venice
We continued by rail to Venice after spending a day in Lucerne.
Our ‘accommodation guru’ had worked out that we could take a train to Venice via Bern and Brig. We took an early morning train from Lucerne station at 7:00, arriving in Bern at 8:00. It was a quick change to an InterCity train departing Bern 8:07, arriving Brig at 9:11.
From Brig we caught a EuroCity train departing Brig at 9:44, arriving Venice S. Lucia at 14:40 and a few minutes later we were on the Grand Canal!