GoldenPass Line train near Schonried
Transport

GoldenPass Line | Fares, Timetables and Info [2023]

November 22, 2022 Last Updated on November 23, 2022

With imposing Alpine peaks, eight majestic lakes and clusters of coniferous trees punctuating the backdrop, the GoldenPass Line train route is a feast for the eyes.

With two premium panoramic trains – the Luzern Interlaken Express and the GoldenPass Express – operating the GoldenPass Line, this is a journey you’ll never forget.

You don’t have to be a railway enthusiast to enjoy this train journey, you simply have to be a fan of stunning vistas and spectacular settings. 

In fact, magnificent scenery is guaranteed when you travel the Golden Pass Line. This memorable journey consists of two different connecting trains, and each passage boasts panoramic views that will take your breath away. 

This trip is all about sitting back and soaking up the Swiss atmosphere as you travel in comfort.

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Everything you need to know about the GoldenPass Line

If you like the idea of travelling on the Golden Pass panoramic train, read on. Our guide provides an overview of the Golden Pass route map as well as useful information on fares, timetables, reservations and passes. 

We even include step-by-step instructions on how to make GoldenPass Line seat reservations.


Quick Summary of GoldenPass Line Fares

Section
Individual ticket price
2nd / 1st class
With Swiss Travel PassWith Swiss Half Fare CardWith Eurail PassWith Regional Pass Berner Oberland
Lucerne – InterlakenCHF 33 / CHF 58FreeCHF 16.50 / CHF 29FreeFree
Interlaken – MontreuxCHF 53 / CHF 93FreeCHF 26.50 / CHF 46.50FreePartly Free^

Buy hereBuy hereBuy hereBuy hereBuy here

Prices shown are one way adult fares. Second class fares are shown first. ^Travel free between Interlaken and Saanen/Gstaad. Prestige Class is also available – full details below.

The GoldenPass Route

The Golden Pass train route allows you to sample the many delights of Switzerland, including Central Switzerland and Lake Geneva.

The GoldenPass Line map shows the journey covers 191 km and takes around 5.25 hours. You can travel on all three trains in one day or choose just one or two sectors .

Journey times are as follows: 

  • Lucerne (Luzern) to Interlaken – 2 hours
  • Interlaken to Montreux – 3 hours 15 minutes

GoldenPass Express

A new direct service between Interlaken and Montreux, known as the GoldenPass Express, will commence operation on 11 December 2022.

On this route the GoldenPass Line will offer an additional class of travel known as Prestige Class. The Prestige Class carriage will consist of 18 seats which will rotate so that passengers can enjoy the most outstanding views.

GoldenPass Line train near Lake Geneva
(C) Swiss Travel System

What to expect on each leg of the GoldenPass Line

Lucerne to Interlaken 

Board the Luzern-Interlaken Express in Lucerne and settle yourself by the oversized panoramic windows – designed to help you get the best views of the natural landscape on display. Expect to see dramatic waterfalls, crisp, clear lakes and mountain peaks. 

Your GoldenPass panoramic journey begins in enchanting Lucerne and is the perfect way to kick off your Switzerland itinerary.

Pass by the base of Pilatus Mountain and catch glimpses of beautiful Lake Lucerne. You will also get to see the shimmering waters of Lake Sarner (Sarnersee) and Lake Lungern (Lungernersee). 

After passing by the lakes, the train will take you over the Brünig Pass at 1,008 metres above sea level, where you can soak up the stunning vistas.  You will then descend to Meiringen in the depths of the valley. 

Then you’ll pass through the Hasli Valley en-route to pretty-as-a-picture Brienz, before arriving at your destination, Interlaken Ost.

> Get free travel on the Luzern-Interlaken Express with the Swiss Travel Pass – buy yours here and the Regional Pass Berner Oberland – buy yours here.

Stopping off in Interlaken? Take a look at some of the things to do in Interlaken.

The GoldenPass Express commences service on 11 December, 2022. (C) MOB

Interlaken to Montreux 

The brand new GoldenPass Express, the second leg of Golden Pass journey will take around 3 hours 15 minutes. You’ll travel alongside the River Aare before passing by the town of Spiez on the banks of Lake Thun. 

The Bernese Oberland will certainly capture your attention. You can’t help but notice the traditionally painted chalets and distinctive white churches dotted on the landscape, and what a landscape it is! 

The lush, green Simmental region has a character all of its own with its abundant forests, traditional villages and working farms.

Your journey continues with a steep climb to Saanenmöser. You will then continue onwards to the elegant town of Gstaad, playground to the rich and famous, thanks to its abundance of luxury boutiques and stylish hotels. 

It’s then time to say Auf Wiedersehen to German speaking Switzerland and Bonjour to the French-speaking area of the country. Here the train travels through the winding valley before making a picturesque zig-zag descent to Montreux. 

Make sure you have your camera at the ready as this will be your first opportunity to witness stunning Lake Geneva in all its glory. 

> The entire route is covered if you have the Swiss Travel Pass – buy yours here. You only pay for the section from Saanen or Gstaad to Montreux if you hold the Regional Pass Berner Oberland – buy yours here and it’s half price with the Half Fare Card.

Tick off all the best things to do in Montreux to make the most of your visit.

GoldenPass panoramic train
(C) Swiss Travel System

The Golden Pass Line Timetable 

The Golden Pass train schedule below provides an overview of departures and arrivals for the two trains travelling on the GoldenPass line:

  • Trains from Lucerne to Interlaken:

The first train Luzern – Interlaken Express service from Lucerne departs at 06:06. There’s then a train every hour at five minutes past the hour as follows: 07:06, 08:06, 09:06. 10:06, 11:06, 12:06, 13:06, 14:06 and 15:06.

*Note: the service operates hourly until 21:06 however if you wish to connect all the way to Montreux, the 13:06 train is the latest time you can depart from Lucerne (but only from 11 June 2023 onwards).

  • Trains from Interlaken to Montreux:

From 11 December 2022 until 10 June 2023 there will be just one GoldenPass Express train per day travelling between Interlaken and Montreux. Departure time from Interlaken Ost station is 09:08.

Between 11 June and 9 December 2023, four trains per day will operate on this route. Departure times from Interlaken Ost will be at: 09:08, 11:08, 14:08 and 16:08. 

Golden Pass train at Saanen station

If you prefer to travel in the other direction, times are as follows:

  • Trains from Montreux to Interlaken Ost:

One train per day between 11 December 2022 and 10 June 2023 at 09:35, then four trains per day from 11 June until 9 December 2023 at: 7:35, 9:35, 12:35 and 14:35.

  • Trains from Interlaken Ost to Luzern:

The Luzern-Interlaken Express departs every hour at four minutes past the hour from 07:04 until 20:04.

GoldenPass panoramic train near Montreux
(C) Swiss Travel System

Classes available on the GoldenPass Line 

You can purchase first- or second-class tickets for the GoldenPass Line route journey between Lucerne and Interlaken, whilst an additional class, called Prestige Class, can be booked on the GoldenPass Express between Interlaken and Montreux.

As the name of the ticket implies, if you opt for a second-class ticket on a Golden Pass scenic train you can travel in a second-class carriage. If you decide to go for a first-class ticket you can sit in either a first class or second-class carriage. 

Reserving a seat in Prestige class will give you a GoldenPass VIP Class experience!

Prestige class carriage on the GoldenPass Express train
Luxurious, heated seats that swivel are one of the highlights of travelling in Prestige class. (C) MOB

Let’s explore the difference between first, second and Prestige class: 

First Class 

  • Large panoramic windows allowing you to soak up the amazing views
  • Comfortable and spacious seats with sizeable tables
  • Peaceful ambience – take it easy, sit back, relax and enjoy
  • Bistro car selling snacks/drinks
  • Pre-booked dining options available
  • Seat reservation recommended (CHF 20 fee)

Second Class 

  • Large panoramic windows allowing you to soak up the amazing views
  • Comfortable seats with sizeable tables
  • Seat reservation recommended (CHF 20 fee)
  • Bistro carriage selling snacks/drinks
  • Pre-booked dining options available

Prestige Class (only available on the GoldenPass Express train)

  • Floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows which offer incredible views
  • 18 luxury, heated seats which swivel
  • Seat reservations are compulsory (CHF 35 fee)
  • Bistro carriage selling snacks and drinks
  • Pre-booked dining options available
1st class coach on the GoldenPass Express
1st class coach on the GoldenPass Express (C) MOB
2nd class coach on the GoldenPass Express
2nd class coach on the GoldenPass Express (C) MOB

GoldenPass Line Fares 

In addition to the seat reservation fees (where applicable), you’ll need to ensure you have a valid ticket to travel on the GoldenPass Line.

As there are two trains you will need to buy Golden Pass train tickets for each leg of the journey, unless you are travelling with a rail pass (details below). 

Standard fares as are follows: 

Lucerne – Interlaken CHF 33 per adult one way, 2nd class or CHF 53 per adult one way, 1st class

Interlaken – Montreux CHF 53 per adult one way, 2nd class; CHF 93 per adult one way, 1st class or CHF 128* per adult one way in Prestige class. (*includes compulsory seat reservation fee.)

The same fares apply for journeys in the opposite direction.

Golden Pass panoramic train
(C) Swiss Travel System

GoldenPass Line Discounts

It’s worth noting that you can travel for free or for a reduced rate on a Golden Pass train if you hold a rail pass. Passes that offer a discount or free travel include:

Swiss Travel Pass: The Swiss Travel Pass is an all-in-one ticket, entitling you to travel on the Golden Pass train line for no additional cost. 

> Read more about the Swiss Travel Pass here

Regional-Pass Berner Oberland: Holders of a Regional Pass Berner Oberland can travel for free between Lucerne, Interlaken and Saanen (near Gstaad).  The fare from Saanen to Montreux is CHF 26 per adult one way (2nd class).

The Regional Pass Berner Oberland offers excellent value if you are planning on spending three or more days in the Berner Oberland region (which includes the Jungfrau area).

> Read more about the Berner Oberland Pass here

Swiss Half Fare Card: A 50% reduction applies to holders of a Swiss Half Fare Card. Seat reservation fees are not discounted.

> Read more about the Swiss Half Fare Card here

Eurail Pass: If you hold a Eurail Pass that covers Switzerland, you can travel the full Golden Pass Line route for free. 

Note: Seat reservation fees (more info below) are additional for all rail pass holders. 


Making a GoldenPass Seat Reservation 

Reservations are not compulsory on the GoldenPass Line except in Prestige class on the GoldenPass Express.

You can board any train providing you have a valid ticket and sit in any unreserved seat in the class of travel for which your ticket is valid.

However, if you would like the best view in the house and would like to guarantee a window seat, it’s a good idea to book ahead. 

Seats that have already been reserved on the GoldenPass Line are indicated by a red cloth.

Opting for a Golden Pass seat reservation allows you to choose exactly where you would like to sit, and on the entire Golden Pass route, a window seat will offer you breathtaking views. 

It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that July and August are particularly busy months, so if you want to sit with your travelling companions, it’s wise to book ahead. 

See our step-by-step instructions for reserving seats on the GoldenPass Line below.


GoldenPass Line seat reservation fees

The cost to reserve your seat on the GoldenPass Line sectors are:

  • Lucerne to Interlaken: CHF 14 (approx.)
  • Interlaken to Montreux: CHF 20

How to book seat reservations on the GoldenPass Line

Note: The following instructions only apply to the GoldenPass Express train between Montreux and Interlaken. Seat reservations for the Luzern-Interlaken Express (in either direction) can only be made at a railway station in Switzerland or via phone.

Step 1

Make your seat reservations on the official GoldenPass Express website by following the instructions below. You can use the drop down box on the home page to select English.

On the home page of the website, click the To buy menu tab. From the drop down selection, choose Tickets and Reservations for seat reservations in 1st or 2nd class or choose Prestige seats if you wish to buy seat reservations for Prestige Class.

You will then be directed to the following page.

Step 2

Enter your departure station, destination station, date of travel and preferred class (if travelling 1st or 2nd class). Then click Next.

Step 3

Enter the number of travellers you wish to purchase seat reservations for.

Step 4

Choose the seat/s you wish to reserve. Then click Next.

Step 5

Enter the first passenger’s details, and using the drop down menu under Reduction, choose Only reservation (as per the second image below).

You will receive a notification that a valid ticket is required for this service. If you have (or will have) a Swiss Travel Pass, a Berner Oberland Pass or a point-to-point ticket that covers this journey, you can ignore the notification and proceed to the next page.

Add the relevant details for any additional passengers. Then click Next.

Step 6

Select any additional services you wish to reserve from the drop down menu. If you do not wish to reserve any catering services, select No seat service. Then click Next.

Step 7

A summary of your reservation will now be shown. If you are happy to proceed, you can Checkout as a guest if you don’t have an MOB account.

After making your payment, you will receive a confirmation email from MOB (Montreux-Berner Oberland-Bahn) and your seat reservations will be attached as a PDF. You should print out the seat reservations to show the ticket inspector onboard.

Note: seat reservations are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged.



Luggage storage on the GoldenPass Line

Many passengers travelling on the GoldenPass Line will be accompanied by their luggage.  The good news is, the GoldenPass Line trains have ample room to store suitcases and other luggage between the seats.

If your suitcase won’t fit in the space whilst upright, lay it on its side and slide it in.

Luggage can be stored between the backs of the seats on the GoldenPass Line.

There are also luggage racks at the end of the coach where larger items can be stored.

Luggage rack are great for storing larger items.

GoldenPass Panoramic and Belle Epoque trains

Traditionally when travelling on the GoldenPass Line passengers have had the option of choosing between a modern panoramic coach or an old style Belle Epoque coach.

These two options are still available between Montreux and Zweisimmen.

Belle Epoque coaches still operate on the GoldenPass Line between Montreux and Zweisimmen.

What has changed on the GoldenPass Line?

For more than a century, passengers travelling between Montreux and Interlaken have had to change trains in Zweisimmen.  This was due to the original railway tracks being built to different gauges (widths).

Between Montreux and Zweisimmen a metric gauge track is in place (1 metre wide), whilst from Zweisimmen to Interlaken, a standard gauge track (1.435m wide) was built.

Rather than replace a large section of the track, MOB decided to try a different concept – to change the bogies, the removable carriages that guide the train cars. 

Over many years, and at a cost of CHF 89 million, a variable gauge bogie was built which allows the train to pass from one size track to another in just a few seconds.

From 11 December 2022, passengers now no longer need to change trains at Zweisimmen and can instead enjoy a continuous journey from Montreux to Interlaken (or vice versa).

GoldenPass Express variable bogie
The variable bogies designed for the GoldenPass Express allow the train to travel on both metric and standard gauge tracks.

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide to the GoldenPass Line has helped you to plan your journey. It truly is one of the most scenic Swiss train rides with spectacular scenery on every leg of the trip.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your ride.

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Top image (C)  Swiss Travel System

Podcast

Learn more about the GoldenPass Line in our podcast (around 10:50). Click the green arrow below to listen.


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