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Swiss train innovation hits a major milestone with track-jumping cars

Dec. 13, 2022
3 min read
GPX Winter
Swiss train innovation hits a major milestone with track-jumping cars
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Swiss trains are already considered the gold standard by train enthusiasts and travelers alike for their spectacularly scenic routes, clockwork punctuality and incredible engineering. This is why trains like the Glacier Express can navigate narrow tracks and climb into the sky-tickling reaches of the Alps.

It may come as a bit of a surprise to discover that the Swiss had not been able to achieve a major milestone in rail innovation until this past weekend. On Dec. 11, the new GoldenPass Express journeyed from Montreux to Interlaken via Gstaad without requiring a change of trains for the first time in history.

It's not just the route that's noteworthy. The train itself, operated by the Montreux-Berner Oberland Railway (MOB), is a combination of eye-catching design and revolutionary technology that allows it to "jump" in both height and width, while also changing electrical voltage. This way, it can connect some of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland into one seamless trip — a journey 150 years in the making.

Related: The best credit cards for train travel

TOBIAS RYSER

Engineers have been trying to link these scenic Swiss destinations since 1873. But for nearly a century and a half, connecting the two main train routes between sparkling Lake Geneva and towering Swiss Alps destinations had proved too difficult because there were two different types of tracks — metric gauge and standard gauge — to navigate. These two track types aren't just different widths; they're also different heights and use different voltages. So to travel from one stunning Swiss location to another, passengers had to disembark and change trains.

MOB-GOLDENPASS

Related: 11 of the most scenic train rides on Earth

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Now, however, a variable gauge bogie first developed in 2007 jumps into action, so to speak, at Zweisimmen Station; this is where the standard gauge and metric gauge parts of the journey meet. The train passes over the gauge-adapting ramp and flaps are raised to allow the coach to position itself. It's a slick piece of engineering that looks like it belongs as much in a sci-fi movie as it does in modern travel. Take a look at the video.

In addition to offering nonstop travel and stunning natural beauty, the new $96 million train offers a stylish ride with immersive views through panoramic windows. It also has plush compartments with comfortable, swiveling seats and even a gourmet menu of treats, including charcuterie and caviar, to sample along the way. On this train, passengers can truly enjoy the Swiss scenery in style.

Related: The ultimate guide to riding Swiss trains

Featured image by GOLDENPASS EXPRESS
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees