After the year 2021 without visiting my sister Florence in Zug in Switzerland, I finally returned to the Confoederatio Helvetica in March 2022. I stayed over a week. More than a family visit, I organised an excursion to French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandy to visit Maxime and the vineyards of Lavaux in the canton of Vaud, near Lausanne. I also booked a journey on the world-famous Glacier Express from Sankt Moritz to Brig. Furthermore, I looked for a nice way in and out. The ÖBB Nightjet night train from Amsterdam to Zurich and the voyage home via Lyon in France.
The Métro de Lausanne system is a two-line urban rail transport system in Lausanne. Around a quarter of the system has been used for urban rail transport since 1877, when the route between the city centre and Ouchy opened as Switzerland’s first public funicular railway. The network is owned by two distinct companies and operated by a third.
Of the operating lines, only line M2 can be considered a true, grade-separated rapid transit line. It is a fully automated, rubber-tyred metro line based on the technology of the Métro de Paris and opened on 27 October 2008.
The rubber tyres give the metro cars extra grip on the many gradient changes in Lausanne.
Lausanne is the first (and as of 2022, the only) city in Switzerland to have a full metro system. Zurich once proposed a U-Bahn system in the 1960s and 1970s, which failed in the face of massive political and public opposition, though Zurich does have sections of its S-Bahn network that see frequencies comparable to metro services. Line M1, however, is considered light rail albeit being underground for a short section.
Upon the opening of Line M2, Lausanne replaced Rennes in France as the smallest city in the world to have a full metro system. A third line (Line M3) is now planned, based on the same rubber-tyred metro technology as Line M2.
Maxime showed me around Lausanne and started with the metro. We first went up to Croisettes station. Every stop has a personalized jingle. Riponne – Maurice Béjart has tap dance sounds for instance, in reference to the choreographer and ballet director.
The short metro units are fast and nimble and manage sharp corners and steep slopes. There are a few open air spots on the line, including a double-decker bridge.
After a walk we went down, in direction of Ouchy at Lake Geneva. That features a steep gradient and shows how nimble the Lausanne Metro is.
Merci Maxime for showing me around.