This international journey is full of contrast. At one end is the canterPassing by the northern shore of Lake Geneva, passing among the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces which are a World Heritage Site for their lovely position and antiquity, dating from the 11th century. On a clear day there are views over the French Alps towards Mont Blanc before the train drops down to the lakeshore to run beside the water and pass Chillon Castle, immortalised by Byron in his poem about an unfortunate prisoner.
At the end of the lake there is a sudden transition into the western end of the deep Rhone Valley, which the railway follows all the way to Brig. Under mountains whose summits are often out of sight, above even higher side-valleys, the railway passes castles, wineries and one of the finest pine forests in Europe. After connecting with the railway to Zermatt at Visp, the train turns south from Brig through the Simplon Tunnel into Italy. Near journey’s end is another lakeside stretch beside Lake Maggiore.
Connoisseurs of secondary, scenic railway journeys have lots of choice along the way: Montreux for the rack railway up Rochers-de-Naye and the MoB to Gstaad and Lenk; Martigny for the line to Chamonix and St Gervais; Aigle for three narrow gauge lines, to Les Diablerets, Leysin and Champéry; Bex for Villars; and Visp for Zermatt
Stops include Lausanne, Montreux, Sion, Domodossola, Verbania, Stresa and Arona.