If the Swiss are known for any aspect of their transportation system, it’s that they keep their trains on schedule. The Italians may not be able to boast about timeliness, but they’re unrivaled in their ability to design beautiful vehicles. But starting in December 2020, visitors to the Swiss Alps will be able to enjoy the best of both by taking a ride on the Goldenpass Express, in a panoramic train designed by Pininfarina.
The Italian design firm is best known for its work in the automotive realm, collaborating most famously with Ferrari on the F40, Testarossa, GTO, Daytona, and more. But it has brought its elegant touch to other vehicles, including buses, trams, private jets, and the occasional bicycle. The Goldenpass Express, which will connect the popular tourist destinations of Montreux, Gstaad, and Interlaken, is just the firm’s latest work to ride the rails.
The train itself, to be operated by the Montreux Oberland Bernese railway company, is sleek, slender, and features nearly floor-to-ceiling windows, as it caters to riders eager to take in the soaring vistas. Knowing that today’s tourists are eager to take and share photos—right now, please—Pininfarina made those windows of a material that’s more permeable to cellular signals than conventional glass. And because nobody wants glare to dominate their Instagram story, the team set up the lighting to limit reflections on the windows—which they also engraved with a near-invisible pattern to further reduce reflections.
Beyond designing for a smartphone-centered clientele, Pininfarina’s team had to adapt to new, more stringent crash standards. That meant eliminating the huge windshield that gave riders on the current model an unobstructed view of the track ahead (the driver sat in a small cabin overhead, using cameras to monitor his surroundings). The new car has a smaller windshield to accommodate a frontal crash absorber and larger pillars supporting the roof.
They may not have the same full frontal view, but premium-class passengers on the new Goldenpass Express will enjoy a raised platform that gives them better views, and select “VIP seats” will rotate 180 degrees. And everyone will enjoy the fact that they won’t have to change railcars to make the journey from Montreux to Interlaken: This train is made to handle both 1,000-mm and 1,435-mm gauge tracks, thanks to a custom-made “gauge-changing bogie.” That means just a bit more time aboard to take in the views, and rake in the likes.
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