The Glacier Express train  » Railway  »
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Route between Zermatt (short distance from the Matterhorn) and St. Moritz in Switzerland
  • However, you are making the trip through an interesting snow covered region
  • I noticed the train started heading in an entirely different direction--following the Rhone Valley

    • by Dawn Michel
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      The Glacier Express travels a respectable journey of one-hundred seventy miles. Basically, it is a seven and one-half hour ride between Zermatt (a short distance from the Matterhorn) to classy St. Moritz in Switzerland.

      The train’s windows are enormous allowing you to take in glacial scenery. Also you view forested areas and streams once you start to travel at elevations that are lower.

      The train’s red interior with glass on both sides of your seating is quite attractive: when you consider clear blue sky; and icy, snow covered lands are showcased as an accompaniment. You feel very much like you are in the midst of a gigantic viewmaster pictorial however the bonus is the view is for real.

      Further your train ride takes you over nearly 300 bridges; and you travel inside ninety-one tunnels.

      The Glacier Express is an express train meaning it is not a touristy-style setup; it is a regular express train as inferred by the name. I would say, within Switzerland (maybe the entirety of Europe)it provides its passengers the most visually appealing route. (Plus, there again, the train ride lasts an enjoyable seven and one-half hours.) Just so you know; the train does not move at great rates of speed: about twenty-four miles per hour. However, you are making the trip through an interesting snow covered region: so best to settle in and relax once you board it.

      I can assure


      you; you won’t mind the train’s slow rate of speed as the beautiful Switzerland snowy landscape well makes up for it. Further, bear in mind: the train’s windows are not the standarized version (as previously mentioned) but as you know quite expansive; making the trip all the more enjoyable. You are able to easily take in snowy/icy spectacular scenes that surround you during your journey. Further you will not need fight with anyone as far as attaining the window seat. The windows are such that it is much like being in a glass bubble of sorts.

      The Glacier Express is operated by two Swiss Rail Companies: One is MGB - Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn; and the other is Rhatische Bahn (RhB). There are two Glacier Expresses available during winter; and several trains accessible during summer.

      The outside front of the train (to me) looks a bit like a big shiny red fire engine. It is in Zermatt located at the Matterhorn’s foot where you begin your slow, yet highly-scenic journey.

      There are no cars in Zermatt; and additionally you can only reach it by the Express Train. Further, once arriving it can snow; and continue to snow for extended lengths of time.

      The Mattervispa River serves as some of the scenery while traveling the Express. The scenery was snow-covered and once again icy; but the river continued to flow. Once you come to the end of what is known as Simpson Pass; you reach Brig. At this particular juncture; mainstream trains travel back and forth from primary Swiss cities such as Zurich, Geneva and Bern. Once reaching Brig; I noticed the train started heading in an entirely different direction–following the Rhone Valley.

      Once at Andermatt, I am relieved to find we can briefly stretch our legs. Lunch is served on the train; however if you prefer not to have it: you are welcome to bring your own lunch.

      After Andermatt; the Express starts heading in an upwards direction. The place of ascent is termed the Oberalp Pass (which I am informed is two-thousand thirty three metres above sea level). This is the railway’s highest point. There is little in way of habitation in the area. It is basically an expanse of white when it is snowing. When it isn’t the trees during fall are many colored mixed with green evergreens. It is suggested if you can manage it to visit during a snowy day; and then once again when warmer conditions prevail. Due to the kind of weather: when snowy plus windy conditions are prevalent (it is my opinion) are the main reasons the area does not have much in the way of civilization.

      Fortunately, in this regard, the Furka Tunnel was constructed and (subsequently) opened during the time period of the eighties. Before that time, the Express ...


      • The Glacier Express train
      trains were required to make the journey over the snowy wind-blown pass–and accordingly the area could not remain open throughout the winter season. The Express started providing service througout the year in 1982.

      The Express then starts making its descent. Once at Disentis; the (RhB) line takes over for the MGB Express. From Disentis we enjoy the sensational snowy beauty of what is termed the Rhine Gorge. On this day, it has become cloudy and needless to say the area is overcast. The water to me within the Gorge is kind of grayish in tone; not to say anything is wrong with it: it just blends nicely with the hues of the day. The craggy peaks that surround naturally are covered with white. There is plenty of snow covered ice; however the water within the Gorge remains unfrozen. In certain parts; evergreens add to the impact of the scene.

      Looking out the window at this juncture; the overhead lighting of the train reflects on the train’s window–a passenger ahead takes in the view while holding onto his late afternoon coffee. We pass the storybook town of Reichenau. I can see what appears to be a (church) spire situated on the top of a very simple church: rather like the pointed star you place on your Christmas tree–speaking of which there are evergreens interspersed generously through the countryside of the charming little town

      with quaint-style buildings. We pass through Reichenau twice as we need to double-back in order to reach our ultimate destination of St. Moritz.

      On the way to St. Moritz: the train’s route is the Abula Valley. The Express makes the journey over the massive Landwasser Viaduct before enertering Filisur. The area is a most breathtaking part of the journey. The train travels next to the edge of a mountain cliff located on one mountain; passes over a large viaduct with not much of a barrier on either side; heads into a tunnel (thankfully) through yet another mountain.

      Finally St Moritz is reached. As a travel tip: If you cannot find travel accommodation while at St Moritz; you can try the nearby locales of Samedan or Pontresina. You can also take a local train several stops fro Samedan to Punt Muragl. From this point you can take the funicular to Muottas Muragl Mountain. If you are on a budget, you can, according to Swiss standards find simplistic yet attractive; reasonbly priced rooms at the Muottas Muragl Berghotel (which is yet another review). Truly a fun day was had; and the views from the Berghotel are simply spectacular. You can watch the sunset; and view the pretty twinkly lights of St. Mortiz underneath. Also the funicular runs every thirty minutes up the mountain to the Berghotel: so the final stage of the journey is quite convenient.




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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in October, 2010. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 448101289890131/k2311a108/10.8.10
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