What exactly will happen to the Gotthard panoramic route?
The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) was officially opened to freight services in June 2016, with passenger services also travelling through the 57-kilometre-long tunnel since 11 December that year. The tunnel shortened the journey from north to south (and vice versa) by 30 minutes. But what exactly will happen to the old mountain route – now known as the Gotthard panoramic route?
SBB will continue to operate the historic mountain route so beloved of tourists, giving the tourism industry in the St. Gotthard region a major boost. For lots of leisure offers, visit sbb.ch/en/gotthard.
For economic and environmental reasons, the number of services running on the Gotthard panoramic route will be adjusted to meet demand. As expected, only another 500 or so passengers have been travelling from Göschenen to Airolo and back each day since the new GBT came into operation. But what does this mean for your journey to the Gotthard region?
Trains to the Gotthard region every hour.
We will continue to offer hourly services: RegioExpress (RE) trains run between Erstfeld and Bellinzona every hour, with some travelling as far as Lugano and Milan. The RE stops in Ariolo, Ambrì-Piotta, Faido, Lavorgo, Biasca and Castione-Arbedo. The modern FLIRT vehicles used have low-floor access, air conditioning and panoramic windows, so they’re perfect for excursions.
The InterRegio trains from Basel and Zurich only run as far as Erstfeld. Some InterRegio trains still continue on to Göschenen during periods of high demand (at weekends in summer and winter). An additional direct service is put on from Zurich via Göschenen and Airolo to Bellinzona in the mornings and back in the evenings at weekends from Easter to late October.
Gotthard Panorama Express.
The St. Gotthard region is an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world. The “Gotthard Panorama Express” is an additional service for tourists, offering a panorama coach between Flüelen and Lugano and a steamboat trip over Lake Lucerne departing from Lucerne itself. You can watch interesting presentations on local attractions, regional history and the Gotthard legend as you travel.
The Gotthard Panorama Express will operate at weekends from Easter to late October 2017 and daily from July to mid-September 2017. You can find everything you need to know at sbb.ch/en/gotthard-panorama-express
Travel south more quickly.
Scheduled trains have been using the new GBT since late 2016. The Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT) between Bellinzona and Lugano will be put into service around four years later, substantially reducing the journey time. In 2021, the journey from Zurich to Lugano will take approximately two hours, while the journey from Zurich to Milan will take around three hours, in other words cutting an hour off the current journey times.
The alpine Gotthard line with its countless feats of technical engineering such as bridges, loop tunnels and the 1882 Gotthard summit tunnel (see blog post “Gotthard rail tunnel opening”), has now become a so-called flat route. Passenger and freight trains will travel through the 57-kilometre-long Gotthard Base Tunnel at speeds of up to 250 km/h on a section of track with no tight bends and only very slight inclines. The highest point is 550 m above sea level, the same altitude as the city of Bern.
Whatever happens, you will still be able to enjoy the Gotthard panoramic route and the legendary “Chileli vo Wasse” from three different perspectives.
Last updated: 21.6.17