Swiss public transport celebrates a summer of anniversaries

The days are getting longer. And Switzerland is preparing for another travel and tourism season packed attractive holiday highlights. This yearʼs summer programme includes several important anniversaries – among them the centenary of the BLS Lötschberg Railway, two shipping anniversaries on Lake Lucerne, 50 years of James Bond up on the Schilthorn and the 10th anniversary of the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

BLS Lötschberg Railway – a century of success

The BLS Lötschberg Railway – the Alpine route linking the Bernese Oberland with Canton Valais – celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2013. To mark the centenary, an attractive programme of festivities is being organized during the year. The Swiss Post is issuing a commemorative stamp in March and a special book (in German) will be published in May. Further information on www.bls.ch

Lake Lucerne – parade of the proud ladies

This year sees the celebration of two shipping anniversaries on Lake Lucerne – the centenary of the magnificent paddle steamer “Gallia” and the 50th anniversary of the motor ship “Winkelried”. This double event will be celebrated in style on Saturday 18 May 2013, when the Lake Lucerne Navigation Company stages one of its legendary fleet parades. Other vessels will include the motor ship “Schwyz”, back in operation after a six-month overhaul and renovation. The “Parade of the Proud Ladies» programme will include cruises and culinary highlights. Tickets and further information on www.lakelucerne.ch

The Schilthorn – following in the footsteps of James Bond

To celebrate the recent 50th anniversary of James Bond movies, the Schilthorn Aerial Cableway in the Bernese Oberland is launching a special attraction – Bond World 007. Summer 2013 sees the opening of an interactive exhibition and cinema. It was here on the 2970-metre Schilthorn summit (with its “Piz Gloria” revolving restaurant) that “On Her Majestyʼs Secret Service” was shot during the winter of 1968/9. Another 007 attraction up on the peak is the popular James Bond Breakfast Buffet, served seven days a week up to 10.30 hrs. Further information on www.schilthorn.ch

Matterhorn Gotthard Railway – celebrates 10th anniversary

The Matterhorn Gotthard Railway (MGB) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a programme of special activities throughout 2013. A surprise attraction will take place on the 10th of the month. In addition “open days” are being held at the MGB workshop on 6 April (Andermatt) and 27 April (Brig), with visitors being invited to take a look behind the scenes of the railway’s operations. The MGB was formed in 2003 out of a merger between the two regional narrow-gauge railways, the Furka-Oberalp Bahn and the Zermatt Bahn. It extends for 144 kilometres, linking Disentis in Canton Graubunden with the Matterhorn resort of Zermatt in Canton Valais. On the Oberalp Pass it climbs to a height of 2044 metres – an altitude matched by no other railway in Switzerland (apart from Bernina Express) without travelling through a lengthy tunnel.

The MGB is also offering an exclusive Friday evening attraction – the “Chedi Trip” – on 12, 19 and 26 April and 3, 10 and 17 May. The programme includes the rail trip (departing Brig at 17.23 hrs), a visit to the 5-star luxury hotel “Chedi” in Andermatt (grand opening in December 2013), a three-course meal during the journey and a delicious dessert during the return trip the same evening.

Further information: www.mgbahn.ch

High-speed spectacular – from the driver’s cabin

Switzerland has always been a dream destination for rail enthusiasts. This year sees a special attraction for visitors – a high-speed trip in a driver’s cabin. The trip is offered daily up to 14 December on board an ETR 610 train operating on the Lausanne-Brig route (or in the reverse direction) The journey takes one hour 20 minutes, passing along the scenic shoreline of Lake Geneva and through the Rhone Valley. A commemorative certificate is included. Also on offer, from Brig – the trip in the driver’s cabin on the connecting Re460 train through the Lötschberg Base Tunnel to Bern. Further information on www.sbb.ch

Switzerland’s 2013 season starts Railway Season
CabriO Aerial Cableway (Stanserhorn) 13.4 – 17.11
Pilatus (world’s steepest cogwheel railway) Early/mid-May – 17.11
Brienzer Rothorn Railway Mid-May – 20.10
Wilhelm Tell Express Premium 4.5 – 20.10
Chocolate Train Montreux–Broc May – October
Furka Steam Railway (mountain route) 22.6 – 6.10

 

 

Switzerland to launch „Starbucks on Rails“ in 2013

SBB and US coffee giant team up to enhance the taste of travel. Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is to team up with US coffeehouse chain Starbucks later this year to enhance the taste of travel for inter-city passengers. From autumn 2013 the two partners will launch on-board restaurant service, initially as a pilot project on the Geneva-St. Gallen-Geneva route.

The first „Starbucks on Rails“ restaurant will be in operation from autumn 2013, to be followed by a second on the same route in the spring of 2014. The test phase will last for nine months, with the restaurant operating twice daily in each direction – totally 1500 km. The range of products to be served has not yet been finalized. However, it is expected that the selection will include mainly Starbucks beverages, complemented by products from Elvetino (the Swiss Federal Railways catering subsidiary). The restaurant cars will embrace the look and feel of Starbucks, inside and out.

Switzerland is the first country in the world in which the coffeehouse chain has launched a „Starbucks on Rails“ service. This country was also chosen by Starbucks as the location for its first coffeehouse in continental Europe 12 years ago. All the high-grade coffee machines used by Starbucks worldwide are manufactured by a Swiss company. For general information, media texts and photo material, consult our Media Corner – www.SwissTravelSystem.com/media

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