After finishing the first part of my east-west Alps crossing in Kandersteg the day before, today I continued onwards for the second portion. The First part followed the route of the old Loetschberg mountain line down towards the Thunersee.
As this is part of the same (Domodossola-)Brig–Spiez–Bern routing of the BLS RE Loetschberger service, the train was composed of the same Loetschberger emu’s as yesterday. Twisting and turning from the top of the valley towards lake level we had some spectacular views on both sides of the train.
In Spiez I had to change trains to continue onwards to Zweisimmen. The footbridge over the station provided for some nice station overviews and as this is a major railway junction I got to see some different train models of both SBB and BLS operating in the station. If you walk to the far end of the platform you can even get a glimpse of the Thunersee.
My onwards train towards Zweisimmen was also composed of a Loetschberger emu. The train comes from Bern with 3 units of which 2 continue over the mountain to Brig and the rear unit gets uncoupled and will operate the service to Zweisimmen. To avoid people getting in the wrong coaches there are some large information boards on the platform to inform you about where you should sit.
From Spiez the line gradually climbs up towards it’s terminus in Zweisimmen, unfortunately I made a wrong gamble and seated myself on the wrong side of the train, left hand side would have given me better views. While in the beginning you are still on the bottom of the valley with the mountains towering over you, the further down the line you go the higher up you get and the more scenic the view gets.
In Zweisimmen you had once again a short cross-platform interchange with both narrow-gauge lines starting there. While I boarded the MOB train to Montreux you could also board the train to Lenk. My train consisted of 2 brand new electric motor units on both sides of the train, equipped with large panoramic windows and air-conditioning, while there where 2 older coaches in the middle of the train with opening windows.
On the first part of the journey towards Gstaad I was once again mostly sitting on the “wrong” side of the train, but the majority of the trip beyond Gstaad the view was on the left hand side. While the scenery wasn’t as breath-taking and extraordinary as on the Bernina, Albula and Furka lines it still was anything but boring. On the way we passed one of the “Orient-Express” style sets used on their “classic” express services, something I would like to try out in the future.
The trip ended with the most spectacular part of the journey when descending into Montreux with views over the Lake Geneva and cities of Montreux and Vevey below. On the bottom part of the slope we were even driving in between vineyards, giving it a more exotic feel.
After arrival in Montreux I only had a short downhill walk towards my hotel, located along the shores of the lake. While this part of the “Golden Pass” route might not be as spectacular as the routes of the RhB and the MGB, it still is worth to travel the line when you get the opportunity, it really shows how diverse Switzerland can be.
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