Regional Rail Express - 20: Voralpen-Express III (50 p.)

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Regional Rail Express - 19: Voralpen-Express II (50 p.)

Videos for this part:

June 7 2019

I had taken the sleeper train from Vienna via Sargans to reach urban-rural Pfäffikon on Lake Zürich. Re 620 013 "Rapperswil" (more from there later) was encountered while waiting for the next SOB connection.

After noon, Voralpen-Express (VAE) 2578 St. Gall - Lucerne climbed the steep grade towards Samstagern and Biberbrugg near Riedmatt.

Destination in the morning was the Altmatt hill moor, still full of blossoming spring flowers due to a late onset of winter in May. VAE 2573 Lucerne - St. Gall led by Re 456 095 "100 years SOB" and Re 456 092 at the back just had left Rothenthurm.

Local trains operating line S31 Arth-Goldau - Einsiedeln were formed of SOB FLIRT units.

As Voralpen-Express you could also encounter compositions with "NPZ" EMUs on each end, plus in June newly introduced 8-part FLIRT 3 called "Traverso" by SOB.

SOB Re 446 017 (former SBB Re 4/4 IV 10103, built in 1982) hauling VAE 2575 Lucerne - St. Gall departed the historic Voralpen-Express meeting station Rothenthurm:

VAE 2574 approached from the other side.

August 14 2017

Buses serve smaller stops between train stations, you can change for example at Biberbrugg junction.
VAE 2572 to Lucerne arrived during a visit two years prior.

I visited Steinerberg, here with VAE 2570.

VAE 2573 from Lucerne reaching the station, Rigi mountain in the background.

Voralpen-Express meets the Gotthard line and Arth-Rigi rack railroad at Arth-Goldau.

More from this trip:

(Pre)-Alpine Connections - 2: Railway States (50 p.)

June 9 2019

St. Gall is reachable on rack rails, too. Appenzell Railroads S24 3128 Altstätten Stadt - Gais climbed Stoss Pass where the rack railroad section is ending. You look into Austrian Vorarlberg on the other side of Rhine Valley, a Bombardier Twindexx double deck EMU unit can be spotted leaving Altstätten.

I took the train towards Altstätten, sometimes in summer an open car is conveyed. On this line you cannot totally rely on Swiss punctuality as sometimes loading bikes takes a couple of minutes per stop and the tightly calculated schedule cannot be kept.

Stadler Tango ABe 8/12 tram-trains operate on the 2018 completed cross-city connection Trogen - St. Gall - Appenzell. Whitsunday morning, I visited the old town and captured S21 2105 to Appenzell on Market Square.

June 8 2019

VAE 2565 Rapperswil - St. Gall at St. Gallen Haggen station near my hotel. Säntis peak to the left.

June 9 2019

The same train a day later with trolleybus line 2 Wolfganghof – Erlachstrasse – Bahnhof – Neudorf – Guggeien.

I had started my bridge tour two hours earlier with this view from SBB-Sitter-Viaduct towards the SOB-Sitter-Viaduct including first VAE 2561 Rapperswil - St. Gall at 6:50 a.m.

June 8 2019

"Mikado" 141.R.1244 came by the day before, see trip report part 17 "Transalpin".

June 9 2019

On Sunday, I walked down to Urnäsch creek past a wooden bridge with VAE 2564 St. Gall - Lucerne above.
Giant Haggen Bridge or "Ganggelibrugg" from the 1930s was reached to the right, you can spot the SOB-Sitter-Viaduct in the distance. Some campers were just having their breakfast on the bank of Sitter river (in German):ücke

June 8 2019

VAE depot Herisau featuring three different train compositions.

September 29 2009

Let's travel back in time a decade earlier for the rest of the report: to Yo-Yo-Yo-Rappersville (sorry, had to do it once, won't happen again - promised! ;-))
IR "Voralpen-Express" 2427 Lucerne - Romanshorn approached punctually at 4:58 p.m. on the lake dam of Rapperswil, dividing Lake Zürich from the Upper Lake:

IR 2428 Romanshorn - Lucerne appeared punctually from the other direction. 13th century Rapperswil castle in the background (in German):

Even in Switzerland you can only rarely find a gap between cars, but it was just right for the old Ee 3/3 (in German):

The station in neo-renaissance style from 1895:

Ae 6/6 11426 "Stadt Zürich" arrived:

Comparison between old and new noses.

Next, I traveled to Pfäffikon to catch "Transalpin" (for pictures see part 17). IR 2429 Lucerne - Romanshorn approaching.

IR 2430 Romanshorn - Lucerne showed up with an old car in front.

Pushed by a green SBB Re 4/4.

SBB NPZ double on the mainline from Zürich in front of Lake Zürich.

IR 1785 Basel SBB - Chur arrived at 6:38 p.m.

Back to old loco paradise Rapperswil.

IR 2431 Lucerne - Romanshorn crossed the lake dam just before sunset at 6:58 p.m.

The sun already had disappeared for IR 2432.

Ee 3/3-silhouette.

View skywards with Ju 52.

Re 450 and boats at dusk.

The Ae 6/6 left for the day.

An S5 departing Rapperswil at 7:33 p.m.

IR 2435 Lucerne - Romanshorn arrived in complete darkness.

After this full dose of Voralpen-Express it was time for me to return to Zürich and take the overnight train back to Vienna. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.