The Glacier Express is an express train geared to tourism offer on the railway network of the Rhaetian Railway and the Matterhorn -Gotthard Railway in Switzerland. The train since 1930, connects the Engadin St. Moritz place via Chur, Disentis / Muster, Andermatt, Brig and Visp to Zermatt. He crosses the cantons of Grisons, Uri and Wallis. Individual train movements begin or end runs in Chur or Brig since 2006 in the summer in addition a pair of trains between Zermatt and Davos Platz, after previously coaches via Landquart to Davos had been conducted over the years.

The narrow gauge is often referred to as the " slowest express train in the world." In about eight hours driving the meter-gauge train across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and over the 2,033 m high Oberalp Pass near the source of the Rhine. Continue down the Rhine, the Rhine gorge is crossed. Between Thusis and St. Moritz travel on the train, as well as the Bernina Express, the Albula Railway ( a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which passes under the Albula Pass with a summit tunnel. The Furka Pass was until 1981, however, also crosses under a summit tunnel, since 1982 in a base tunnel. By 1981, the Glacier Express could operate only in the summer, only the Furka base tunnel enabled the winter.

Since December 2012, the abbreviation GEX long been used by the railways is defined as train category in the official timetable of Switzerland.


On June 25, 1930 at 7:30 clock the first Glacier Express was launched in Zermatt, led 70 invited guests with and reached St. Moritz after almost eleven hours. Traits that today, etc. to cover this distance by Stopovers, coupling and uncoupling of train parts in similar long time are often referred to as the " original " Glacier Express. The introduction of the train had been made ​​possible by the place on June 6, 1930 Opening of the link Visp- Brig, which made a continuous journey of St. Moritz -Zermatt possible. Four years earlier ( on July 4, 1926), the track was opened over the Furka and Oberalp Pass.

The three Swiss railway companies Rhaetian Railway (RhB), Furka -Oberalp -Bahn ( FO) and Visp- Zermatt -Bahn ( VZ ) wanted to ride on the Glacier Express to continue the tradition of luxury trains, whose development was interrupted by the First World War. The saloon car 61 (now 1161 ), appointed by the RhB for the maiden voyage was for the daily operation of the rack ramps but too heavy. Instead, put VZ and their FO only 14 ton AB4ü. The trains led from the start but always cars of the third and in 1956 the second car class. From 1931 possible ( converted ) cars were if used with closed platforms and bellows. The 1929 and 1930 set by Mitropa dining car was in operation only on the RhB section, that is used to and from Disentis. Because until 1942 reversed the FO still in steam operation, RhB and VZ but already electrically. Locomotives were in the 1930s, the crocodiles of the RhB, the steam engines of the FO and the " small crocodiles " of the VZ. During the war years from 1943 to 1946 and the Glacier Express had to be stopped because the foreign tourists stayed away. With the resumption of operations in 1947 was continuously electrically driven and the dining car could go through to Oberalpsee or Andermatt, where he was converted to the return. From 1961 lightweight steel and light metal cars were used, starting in 1968 reversed the train, apart from the dining car, complete with such a car. The popularity of the Glacier Express resulted in double guides are becoming increasingly common in the 1970s.

By 1981, the Glacier Express went through the Furka summit tunnel at 2'162 m above sea level. But M. The mountain section of Upper Forest to Realp could only be driven for about four summer months, the remaining time resting weather-related rail traffic. This route was, however, the train 's name, as you here by train from the Rhône glacier (French: Glacier Glacier = ) saw.

In 1982, with the opening of the Furka base tunnel, the year-round operation possible, the views of the Rhône glacier is the passengers but since then no longer possible. The old mountain line after a 28- year hiatus sailed now owned by the Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway, which she took into operation in stages, and again on 12 August 2010 for the first time through. The set contains only historic locomotives and carriages used.

By 1981, consisted of the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt coaches and Chur -Zermatt and back, which were only performed in the FO as a separate train. From 1982, the Express also experienced a major increase in passengers; more trains or coaches were performed. In 1993, the first time a composition formed entirely from panoramic carriages used. This train carried only with first class cars.

After obtaining further panorama car several train units could be offered with panoramic cars in the first and second class from 2006. Lunch will be served in the new car to your seat. In newer cars, the passengers are informed about interesting track details on headphones in six different languages ​​( German, English, French, Japanese, Chinese and Italian).

On July 23, 2010, due to high speed between the stations Lax and Fiesch holiday village an accident in which three cars of the Glacier Express derailed occurred; two of the cars tipped over. It died a traveler, 42 people were injured, twelve heavy. → Main article: Railway accident of Fiesch

Current operation

For summer 2008, the operational concept was again slightly adjusted. Trains or wagon groups only from / to Churchill, there was no more. In the morning left a train of eleven panorama cars and a dining car St. Moritz. In Disentis, the train was divided and six-car drove each as a separate train to Zermatt. Another six panorama cars followed from St. Moritz with the normal train to Chur. There they were coupled with the four panorama car and optionally other conventional wagon for group travelers who had come as a separate train from Davos via Filisur to Chur. This train was also divided in Disentis and went as two trains to Zermatt. If needed perverted a group of wagons, possibly with dining cars, as coaches in timetable trains from St. Moritz to Disentis, where she was listed as the fifth train to Zermatt. In the opposite direction the whole thing worked the same principle, but by analogy to the reverse. The full range was driven by mid-June to late September. All 42 panorama cars were then on the road, a reserve was not available. Only the St. Moritz trains ran from mid-May to mid-October. From the timetable change in December to mid- May, the winter concept was just one train in each direction.

Since 2009, two pairs of trains run in winter. With the significantly increased 50 panorama car inventory can be offered three pairs of trains between Zermatt and St. Moritz with meals in place in the summer; a fourth pair of trains between Zermatt and Davos leads ( the first time through to Zermatt), a classic dining car. The operation processing is almost remained the same as in 2008, the basic unit of the Glacier Express consists of six cars. :

  • A first-class panorama cars with wheelchair accessible toilet ( Api )
  • A first-class panorama cars ( Ap)
  • A kitchen / bar Dome Coach ( WRP ) or a classic dining car (WR )

The difference between first and second class is the number of seats per row. In the second class there are ever two seats ( 2 2), while they are in the first class two seats and a single seat in a row ( 2 1). The basic unit is on the railway network of the Matterhorn- Gotthard -Bahn a train pulled by a HGe 4/4. On the route network of the Rhaetian Railway operate two basic units coupled in a train or the basic unit is given a Taktzug. Only the Davos Züger wrong to / from Chur alone with a base unit.

That is, it left one after the other between 9.00 and 10:13 clock four trains (902, 904, 906, 908 ) Zermatt. In Disentis trains were coupled together 902 and 904 as well as 906 and 908. In Chur were 902 and 904 separated again; 904 the regional train RE 1149 has been attached and ran this to St. Moritz (arrival 16:58 ). 902 went just after that to Davos (arrival 16:48 ). Trains 906 and 908 drove coupled together via Chur to St. Moritz (arrival 17:42 ). In the opposite direction, the flow was reversed. Trains 905 and 907 coupled together drove from St. Moritz to Disentis, 909 RE 1132 to Chur with train 911 to Disentis. The four trains arrived 16:52 to 18:31 in Zermatt. The pair of trains 904/909 operated only from June to September, the Davos train pair 902/911 from mid-May to late September, the other two pairs of trains from mid-May to late October.

From the summer of 2012, the train runs to keep other driving times. The descent into Zermatt is scheduled for 8:52 to 9:59, arriving in St. Moritz is at 16:58 and 18:10. Downhill in St. Moritz 09:15 10:02 arriving in Zermatt 5:00 p.m. to 6:32 p.m..


  • Robert Boesch ( photos ), Iso Camartin, Paul Caminada (text ): Glacier Express. The world of Glacier Express. AS Verlag, Zurich, ISBN 3-909111-12-2. ( German and English edition )
  • Paul Caminada, Peter Pfeiffer (ed.): The Glacier Express. Desertina Verlag, 1985, ISBN 3-85637-058-7.
  • Klaus Fader: Glacier Express. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-440-07799-3.
  • Ronald Gohl: The Glacier Express. Around the slowest express train in the world. Geramond, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-932785-92-4.
  • Georg weak: The Discovery of Slowness. In: railroad history. 25 (December 2007 / January 2008), pp. 52-59. [ Critical remarks on the truth in texts for the marketing of the train ]
  • Hans Schweers: Glacier Express. The slowest express train in the world. ET Schweers & Wahl, 1991, ISBN 3-921679-63- X.
  • Reto Steiner ( ed.): Glacier Express - from St. Moritz to Zermatt. EK-Verlag, Freiburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-88255-731-2.