Glacier Express of Switzerland – An Amazing Journey

Europe - Editor - 23 June 2008

Glacier Express of Switzerland – An Amazing Journey

The Glacier Express takes its passengers on what is considered by many to be one of the greatest train journeys in the world. This incredible seven and a half hour journey on the renowned Swiss mountain railway crosses 291 bridges and travels through 91 tunnels, as well as crossing the famous Oberalp pass at 2033 meters, giving passengers the opportunity to view some of the most breath-taking scenery they are ever likely to see.

This panoramic trip through the heart of the Swiss Alps offers the sights of the popular Graubunden holiday region, the Valais region with its sunny weather and glacier landscape, as well as the beautiful regions of the South. Passengers can expect to see the pristine natural beauty of a diverse landscape, including ancient mountain forests, rushing mountain streams, tranquil Alpine meadows and deep mountain valleys, with towns and villages along the way that are drenched in fascinating tradition and culture.

The name “express” is somewhat of a misnomer, as the Glacier Express actually travels quite slowly. It could be considered an express in that it provides a one-seat journey from beginning to end, despite traveling over several different railroad tracks. The entire railway line is a narrow gauge track, with significant portions making use of a rack-and-pinion system to facilitate steep climbs and for added braking control on descents. This tried-and-tested method of railway travel has a decades long proven safety record.

The 1920’s, often referred to as the “roaring twenties”, was a time of prosperity in many parts of the world, which found the adventurous upper-class from all over the world indulging their desire to explore. Upon discovering the rustic charms of the Swiss Alps, these keen travelers flocked there in their droves. Previously remote mountain villages such as St. Moritz and Zermatt became the “in” place to be and they were soon transformed into fashionable health resorts – and thus began the route for the Glacier Express, which was extended year after year until it became the route used today.

The first trip for the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz took place on 25 June 1930. Passengers enjoyed the luxury of the elegant salon coaches as they marveled at the beauty of the ever-changing passing scenery. At the beginning of the 1940s the Glacier Express was converted to electricity. WWII saw the disruption of the Glacier Express’ schedule, but after the war, during the 1950s and 1960s, the train benefited from technological advancement with faster engines resulting in shorter traveling times. Comfortable coaches and the reintroduction of dining cars increased the popularity of the Glacier Express among tourists.

Today tourists can look forward to a top-notch Swiss experience aboard the Glacier Express. Air-conditioned, panorama-view coaches ensure that visitors see all the awe-inspiring scenery en route, while superb catering and a wide range of special offers enhance the experience. There is no doubt that a Glacier Express journey is the trip of a life-time.


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