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Pilatus Cogwheel Train

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Pilatus Cogwheel Train

Pilatus cogwheel train is one of those attractions you simply cannot miss. Among the many railway adventures dotting the region of central Switzerland, the Pilatus Railways stand out as a testament to engineering marvels and breathtaking views. 

In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the essentials of experiencing Pilatus railways, from ticketing to personal travel stories and nearby attractions.

how pilatus cogwheel train works

Pilatus Railways Basics

There are several ways to ride up the Pilatus mountain, located a mere 20-minute ride from Lucerne. An aerial cable car from Kriens, offering panoramic views of Lake Lucerne, will take you to the station at Fräkmüntegg, where you can change to a modern gondola straight to Pilatus Kulm. But it is the Pilatus cogwheel railway that steals the show. Boasting its fame as the steepest cogwheel train in the world, the Pilatus railway offers a unique and thrilling experience. The train itself is a marvel of engineering, ensuring a comfortable and scenic ride.

Ticketing and Schedules

To make the most of your Pilatus adventure, it’s essential to plan ahead. Tickets can be purchased online or at the station, with options ranging from single journeys to round trips. You do not need to book your ticket in advance, but make sure to arrive a little early. While the gondola from Kriens runs throughout, the trains from Alpnachstad can get crowded. Check the official Pilatus Railway website for updated schedules and any special events.

best scenic trains in Switzerland

Unique Experiences and Attractions

As you ascend the slopes of Mount Pilatus, prepare to be captivated by unique experiences at various stops. The Pilatus panoramic gondola offers pleasant panoramic views of the forests and green hills of central Switzerland. The next modern gondola, “The Dragon Ride” offers unparalleled views from the northern side of the mountain. While on the way, look out for ibexes and other wild animals who inhabit the steep hills of Pilatus. 

Ascending from Alpnachstad, prepare for a thrilling ride with the steepest cogwheel train in the world. The train climbs at a stunning 48% gradient, still using the original technology designed by Edouard Locher, a Swiss engineer. The mechanism is based on two cogwheel plates rotating horizontally along a pined rack.

Rigi and Pilatus Private Guided Day Trip

Tips for a Seamless Journey

There are a few tricks to ensure a seamless journey on top of Mount Pilatus. Bear in mind that Pilatus is an extremely popular mountain, and in season, the lines to ticket offices and to board the gondola and the train might be very long. Timing is key for the best experience, so consider early morning or late afternoon departures for a quieter ride. Pack a few extra layers for changing weather conditions: the day may seem warm, but once you arrive at the top of the mountain, you might be freezing cold. If you’d like to do a hike on Mount Pilatus, check our propositions for Pilatus day hikes.

Book your pilatus cogwheel train experience with ECHO Rails

Navigating train changes or transfers can be stressful. Save yourself the trouble and book one of our day hikes to Mount Pilatus with a local English-speaking guide.

Traveling with a local is incredibly easy and fun – your personal guide will adjust the pace to your needs and offer suggestions for extra activities, depending on your preferences.

Whether you’d like to enjoy a hike, a walk, or an interactive adventure, your guide will be there, pointing you in the right direction. Our guides hail from seasoned travelers and people passionate about culture and history. They will be happy to share interesting historical facts about the region, legends, and myths. Thanks to our local knowledge and efficient planning, your trip is sure to end up a success.

If you like, you can even combine a trip to two of Lucerne’s famous mountains, Rigi and Pilatus, into a whole day’s adventure.

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