7477 Filisur, Switzerland
Photo courtesy of swiss-image.ch/Andrea Badrutt
The World's Slowest Express TrainNarrow gauge railway fans will be in heaven on The Glacier Express, a scenic train connecting Zermatt and St. Moritz. The 7 ½ hour railway journey across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels, and over the Oberalp Pass is operated jointly by the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) and Rhaetian Railway (RhB). It's often called the "slowest express train in the world" but the reason for its lack of speed is the fact that the train is snaking around some of Switzerland's most awesome narrow gauge twists and turns in a rocky Alpine landscape.
Between 1986 and 1993 the Express was infused with an investment of about 40 million Swiss francs used to create 18 new first-class panorama cars. We were lucky enough to ride in one of them with Marus Lauber, CEO of Swiss Travel Systems (the people who created the Swiss Travel Pass which we used on our journey). Like our fellow passengers, we were served a 3-course lunch, paired with wonderful Swiss wines. The route gets dramatically scenic as it ascends from Chur to St. Moritz, a portion of which overlaps with the first portion of the Bernina Express train route. The train then goes south through the Domleschg Valley, dotted with ruins and castles. The highlight of this portion is the famous curved Landwasser viaduct—you likely will recognize this frequently photographed landmark as soon as you approach it. After that, the route takes several spirals as it ascends the last portion before the Albula tunnel which leads into the beautiful Upper Engadine Valley and St. Moritz.
Ready to embark on your own Swiss adventure? Check out the itineraries that have been created by the members of AFAR’s Travel Advisory Council and other specialists at AFAR Journeys.