Breathtaking panoramas, convenient bistros, ample space for bikes and luggage—Swiss rail journeys are getting a facelift. Come this December, the new MIKA trains will grace the Bern–Brig/Zweisimmen route, bringing with them novel amenities and expedited travel times, marking a golden era for Swiss rail travel.
A Leap Towards Luxury: The MIKA Trains
MIKA trains, operated by BLS, are scheduled to hit the Swiss rails on December 11th. These modern marvels will serve the Lötschberg mountain route (Bern–Kandersteg–Brig) and the Simmental (Bern–Spiez–Zweisimmen), offering passengers enhanced comfort. Plans to extend these services up to Domodossola by the summer of 2023 are on the horizon.
Though the inauguration on this route was delayed due to the failed framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU, the wait is almost over. While the MIKA trains undergo a prolonged approval process for Italian operation, NINA trains will bridge the gap, providing more seating for commuters.
The Two Faces of MIKA
BLS procures the MIKAs in two distinct versions. Besides the RegioExpress trains equipped with bistros already in service, there is an S-Bahn version. This variant boasts additional doors to facilitate rapid passenger exchange typical of S-Bahn traffic. The S-Bahn MIKAs will gradually be commissioned and replace the aging RBDe trains by 2025.
Panoramic Route: Montreux to Interlaken
Your dreams of a seamless journey from Montreux to Interlaken are now a reality. Thanks to technical innovations, specifically the custom-designed convertible-gauge trains, the long-awaited direct route via Zweisimmen is now viable. The GoldenPass Express, operating through the nature park Pays-d’Enhaut, links the significant tourism regions, making this panoramic route even more appealing to national and international passengers.
Starting with one daily trip in each direction until June 10, 2023, this service will enhance to four round trips per day from June 11, 2023.
From Seeland to Wallis: A Direct Connection
Beginning from the schedule change, direct weekend services from Biel/Bienne to Brig and back will be available. The new direct train, operating outside the Bern station, connects Lyss, Zollikofen, Ostermundigen, and Gümligen with Berner Oberland and Wallis without any transfers, cutting travel times by up to 20 minutes for some routes.
The advent of the MIKA trains and direct routes are a testament to Swiss rail’s commitment to continuous improvement and passenger convenience. With modern amenities and reduced travel times, Swiss rail travel is stepping into a new era, promising an unforgettable journey across Switzerland’s breathtaking landscapes.