The Golden Pass Railway, Switzerland
The Golden Pass Railway is a wonderful way to see the Swiss Alps with kids. There are several route options, making the railway easy to fit into your Switzerland itinerary. The Golden Pass Railway will take you from Montreux to Lucerne, but is broken up into several smaller pieces. We took it from Montreux to Interlaken, with a train change (due to a gauge change in the tracks) in Zwimmerman and then a few days later headed to Lucerne.
You have to choose between the historic cars or panoramic cars on the first leg from Montreux to Zwimmermen. The historic cars have first and second class coaches, windows that open and a more historic feel, although the cars have been completely refurbished.
We opted for the more modern Panoramic train. These coaches are all air conditioned, which given the heat when we were there in July was key. Your Swiss Rail Pass provides access to this train, but you’ll need to make a reservation for a seat which costs a small fee.
We were shown on board by the line manager, the boys kept asking him if he was the Sir Topham Hatt of the operation. He gave us a tour of the train and helped us find our seats.
In addition to our regular seats, we also reserved two seats in the VIP section of the first car. The front of this train is glass, allowing riders in this section to get a full view of the tracks. The driver sits directly above this section of the car. There are two rows of seats and they require an extra fee to purchase. The first row is really the best, the second row is a bit crowded and likely not worth the extra fee.
Due to the panoramic windows there is no luggage storage above the seats, instead you place your baggage between the seat rows. We had no trouble fitting our items in these storage areas.
The areas are quite deep so you can slide in two or three bags between the two by two rows.
Each seat has a menu card. There is a cafe car and a porter that comes through the car to take orders.
Here is a preview of the boxes that are available. We packed our own lunch but did get coffee and water from the porter to enjoy on our trip.
As soon as the train started down the track the Middle Little planted himself up front to watch the tracks. He loved calling out the signals and spotting the tunnels before we entered them.
I only love trains due to my train loving boys, but they had me excited about seeing out of the front of the train.
The rest of the train has huge panoramic windows that also provide a wonderful view. Our train was full, but there was still plenty of room for us to move between our seats and around the train.
The Big Little was in a bit of a mood and decided to sit quietly and do some coloring. The four-person table provided plenty of space for the littles to play. They each had little backpacks full of some toys and colored pencils which kept them occupied.
With both big kids occupied we were able to sit back and enjoy the view as we moved through the mountains.
I kept wishing we could get out and explore each of these little towns.
There are plenty of animals to spot as well. Some were quite close to the tracks.
Again and again though we were impressed by the view from the front of the train.
My favorite part of sitting up front was going through all the little tunnels!
When we pulled into the Zwimmerman station it was time to pack up and move trains. One last look at our lovely panoramic train!
In Zwimmerman we walked across the platform and transferred onto a regular train to continue our journey to Interlaken.
On this train we had a set of four seats facing each other and a set of two seats facing each other. This gave us plenty of space to play and not be in anyone else’s way.
The boys spent most of this train trip playing.
Once again you are treated to amazing scenery throughout your ride.
We couldn’t get enough of the lake views.
There are two other trains in Montreux that we did not have time to explore but are worth checking out for your itinerary. The first is taking the train up to see Marmot Paradise. This incline railway is the perfect option if you have little kids. We skipped it only because we didn’t know about it! The famed Chocolate Train also leaves from Montreux. This trip looks incredible but seemed too long for my little guys.
Swiss Rail provided me with a first class rail pass in exchange for a review of their rail services. All opinions are of course my own.