About Pre-Alpine Express day trip
Available: all year round.
Swiss Travel Pass: FREE
Half Fare Card: 2nd class Lucerne or St. Gallen £24 (pre-book before you travel)
The Pre-Alpine Express offers a unique trip between Eastern and Central Switzerland, connecting St. Gallen and Lucerne. Highlights of the 2 hour journey include the highest railway bridge in Switzerland and the very pretty scenery of the Toggenburg region. The journey works well for a two centre holiday with these two towns, but can equally be enjoyed as a return day trip. First class carriages offer panoramic windows for even better views.
This historic town boasts the fascinating Abbey precinct with its magnificent baroque Cathedral and Abbey Library. The complex was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1983. You can explore the area, or head into the narrow streets of the Old Town for shopping and lunch.
Shortly after leaving St.Gallen, the train crosses the 365m long Sitter Viaduct. Its height of 99m makes this the highest railway bridge in the country. When crossing the viaduct, you can see the peak of the Säntis towering over the spectacular Alpstein range.
Wattwil and the Toggenburg
The train crosses the Weissenbach Viaduct en route to Wattwil, with its striking panorama of the seven peaks of the Churfirsten mountain range - a landmark of the Toggenburg area. This very scenic region is popular with walkers and cyclists.
Ricken Tunnel to Schmerikon
The Ricken Tunnel runs in a perfectly straight line between Wattwil and Uznach. It is the longest tunnel along the route, measuring 8,603m. If you look hard when entering the tunnel, you can make out the exit portal as a tiny dot in the distance. Further on you come to Schmerikon - at 408m above sea level, this is the lowest point on the Pre-Alpine Express route.
Rapperswil and Pfäffikon
These two towns lie on opposite sides of Lake Zurich, which you will cross on the train. Rapperswil is known as the town of roses, and more than 20,000 rose bushes bloom here, while Pfäffikon has a pretty lake promenade.
Rothenthurm and Biberegg
Rothenthurm is one of the largest upland moors in Switzerland and home to many types of flora and fauna. You can enjoy a fabulous view of the moor in all its magnificent colours from the Voralpen Express. A little further on is Biberegg, the highest point on the route at 933m.
Arth-Goldau and Küssnacht
Arth-Goldau is set amidst a forest covering 34 hectares with more than 100 species of native and European wild animals while Küssnacht has a beautiful lakeshore promenade. Both towns are starting points for journeys to the Rigi mountain and the train continues along the edge of Lake Lucerne.
Lucerne is home to the world famous Chapel Bridge, the historic town wall and water tower. This is a delightful place to spend a few hours, taking in the Old Town atmosphere, the riverside restaurants and the shops. Beyond the lake are views of the Central Swiss mountains.
You can join the Pre-Alpine Express at Lucerne or St. Gallen.
If you prefer to stay in a quieter resort and still take this journey, there are good connections to Lucerne from Weggis and to St. Gallen from Appenzell.