Everyone knows that Swiss trains run like clockwork. Now, they can jump tracks and get taller!
The problem and the solution
Swiss engineers finally achieved a goal set in 1873. They were looking for a way to connect Lake Geneva to the Swiss Alps. The problem: there were two track gauges to deal with — metric and standard. Metric and standard gauges differ in width, height and voltage requirements. The result of this dispute is that passengers had to change trains to get from Lake Geneva to the Alps.
Switzerland — Beyond watches and chocolate
On December 11, 2022, Switzerland unveiled its innovative solution. Passengers on the fantastic new GoldenPass Express (GDX) from Montreux via Gstaad to Interlaken no longer need to change trains at Zweisimmen. Their journey is now non-stop between the two cities — and traveling to Lucerne in the German-speaking north is easier.
Montreux-Berner Oberland-Bahn (MOB) operates the train, which combines state-of-the-art with revolutionary technology. The new design and engineering allows the train to “form” into a taller and wider vehicle while maintaining the same tension throughout. The variable gauge juggernaut was at Zweisimmen station. Now, the train flies over the gauge ramp at Zweisimmen and its wings are raised while the carriages are repositioned.
The new $96 million train enhances the GoldenPass experience, which was already a thrilling ride through areas of unparalleled beauty. The apartments are comfortable, with swivel seats and cafeterias serving gourmet meals and snacks. Now, GoldenPass is even better as passengers no longer need to change trains. What a luxury!
How does it work?
Variable meter mechanisms are not new. In Spain, Talgo has been using them for a long time. So what is young? GoldenPass trains extend even further and are the first to move between the two types of trains. In addition, GPX trains feature complex “trucks” under each carriage. These trucks can change the carriage height to meet the higher platforms of the stations between Zweisimmin and Interlaken. Buses take just seconds to raise from 13.8 inches to 21.7 inches (350 mm to 550 mm).
The Engineers And Designers
Swiss train manufacturer Stadler Rail has teamed up with international transport giant Alstom to build 23 vehicles. Pininfarina, designer of Ferrari, Peugeot and Eurostar’s modern, sleek exterior color scheme, collaborated on the design.
Where does the Goldenpass Express go?
Now, travelers can board at Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva and disembark at the foot of the Jungfraujoch glaciers near Interlaken. The Express also connects to Gstaad, a ski resort, on its 72-mile (115.34 km) route.
The new GPX trains run from Montreux to Interlaken and back just once a day. They depart from Montreux at 9:35 am. and Interlaken at 9:08 am
From 11 June 2023, there will be a more frequent return service – travelers can choose from four return journeys daily. The last trains from Montreux and Interlaken are at 2:35 PM. and 4:08 p.m., respectively.
In 2023, the cost for adults traveling first class from Montreux to Interlaken will be $121.27 (including booking fee). Second place will cost $78.34. There is also a “Prestige” class where passengers can enjoy food and drink from local vendors. Prestige class travel requires a first class ticket plus a booking supplement of $37.56 per person. If you choose Prestige travel, don’t miss the fantastic Swiss cheeses and chocolates. Tickets can be purchased online.
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