Gotthard Panorama Express
The Gotthard Panorama Express is a new Swiss scenic train designed for tourists. It combines a steam-boat trip on Lake Lucerne with a panoramic train which takes you along the historic Gotthard route to Bellinzona, Locarno or Lugano. This scenic train was conceived as a replacement for the well-liked Wilhelm Tell Express. The train still travels on the same tracks but includes 2nd class seats also.
Starting in Lucerne a paddle wheel steamer travels all the way to the other end of the lake to Fluelen. You will be on the boat for almost 3 hours passing historic sites and always surrounded by the beautiful lakeshore scenery in this historic region of Switzerland.
In Fluelen the Gotthard Panorama Express is waiting to take you along the historic train route. The Swiss scenic train soon passes Wassen - unique because, in order to gain height within a very restricted space, it has to make the climb in a tight double loop. The train continues to climb until Göschenen where it takes the old Gotthard Tunnel to Airolo in the southern canton of Ticino. Descending now along the Leventina Valley it will reach Bellinzona, where travelers have connecting trains to either Locarno or Lugano.
As the Wilhelm Tell Express did, the Gotthard Panorama Express Swiss scenic train travels in both directions, north to south and south to north. There is also an option to connect with the Glacier Express in Göschenen and Andermatt and continue to either Zermatt or to St. Moritz. The train composition features three 1st class panorama wagons with large panoramic windows and one regular 2nd class wagon without panoramic windows. In between, you will find one wagon designated as photo wagon without seat assignments. In this wagon, it is possible to switch sides which is ideal for photographers.
The paddle-wheel steamers are operated by SGV (Schifffahrtsgesellschaft des Vierwaldstättersees). There is a total of 5 operational steamboats. However, under special circumstances, regular motor vessels will be used instead of the steamers. The journey from Lucerne to Bellinzona or from Bellinzona to Lucerne takes just a bit less than 5 hours.