Pre-Alpine Express

St. Gallen - Lucerne

The softer side of Switzerland: It needn’t always be towering peaks and deep rugged ravines. The Pre-Alpine Express introduces you to a Switzerland of gently undulating hills, picture-perfect villages and orchards.

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This train is definitely not designed to take you from A to B via the quickest route. Climb aboard the Pre-Alpine Express from St.Gallen to Lucerne, and there’s one thing you’ll require in abundance – time. Because there’s so much to see. First there’s St.Gallen with its famous Abbey Library, one of the most ancient and impressive monastic libraries in the world. The route then crosses into neighbouring Canton Appenzell with its distinctive landscape and impressive Alpstein massif. Rolling hills and pristine villages pass by your panorama windows as the train winds its way through the idyllic Toggenburg and the peaks of the Churfirsten range come into view. In Rapperswil, the “City of Roses” at the eastern end of Lake Zurich, you pass the scenic Seedamm; and then the Rothenthurm upland moor before the Mythen cliffs (landmark of Canton Schwyz) come into view. When the Pre-Alpine Express passes Arth-Goldau and Lake Zug you’re nearing Lucerne, your journey’s end.


St. Gallen – Lucerne travel time 2.15 hours

Excursion tips

St. Gallen and region

  • Abbey Precinct and Library – the spirit of the Benedictine monks still lingers in this UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Mount Säntis – one of Switzerland’s most scenic panoramas at 2502 metres
  • Appenzell – extends from Lake Constance to the Säntis, is steeped in tradition and easy to explore by public transport or on foot

Rapperswil and region

  • Rapperswil Castle – this impressive 13th century citadel has been a Polish Museum since 1870
  • Lake Zurich cruise – choose from a fleet of two steamships and 12 motor vessels

Lucerne and region

  • The Lion Monument – commemorating the death in 1792 of Swiss mercenary soldiers during the French Revolution
  • Lake Lucerne cruise – enjoy a leisurely boat trip in scenic Central Switzerland
  • Goldau Wildlife Park – nature area for wildlife such as deer, wolves and lynx

Dining & Wining

On each Pre-Alpine Express is a Bistro Car available with refreshments.


Departs St. Gallen 07.05 (arrives Lucerne 09.20) and every hour until 19.05 (arrives Lucerne 21.20)

Departs Lucerne 07.40 (arrives St. Gallen 09.55) and every hour until 19.40 (arrives St. Gallen 21.55)

All connections on


No seat reservations – free choice of seats

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