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Plan for panorama train back on track

Reports say a long-shelved plan to connect the key tourist towns of Montreux and Lucerne with a direct panorama railway has been given a new impulse. Details of the project are to be announced at the end of the month.

Currently, tourists can board a panorama train in either Montreux on Lake Geneva or in Lucerne in central Switzerland, but then have to change trains twice if they want to continue their journey in scenic style to the other town.

The narrow gauge trains of the two panorama railways, the Montreux Oberland Bahnen (MOB) and the Brünigbahn, cannot run on the standard gauge tracks between the two end stations - Interlaken and Zweisimmen.

However, the MOB and Federal Railways (parent company of the Brünigbahn) have reportedly narrowed their differences with the Lötschbergbahn, which runs the line between Interlaken and Zweisimmen.

The Berner Zeitung newspaper said the railways have set up a working group to look at ways of finding money to add a third rail to the stretch in order to make it compatible for panorama trains.

It could prove to be lucrative for the railways. A study carried out three years ago showed that the number of tourists taking the panorama train would increase by as many as 170,000 a year.

The Brünig Panoramic Express departs from either Lucerne or Interlaken and travels over the Brünig Pass connecting central Switzerland with the Bernese Oberland. The MOB climbs from Montreux past the mountain resorts of Chateau d'Oex and Gstaad before stopping in Zweisimmen.

swissinfo


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