Christmas in spring: Zurich's Märlitram to run twice a year in future

Christmas in spring: Zurich's Märlitram to run twice a year in future

When is the earliest you allow a discussion about Christmas? It seems the Transport Association of Zurich (VBZ) are already dreaming of Christmas markets and Glühwein, with the announcement that the festive Märlitram will also run in the spring in future.

Märlitram at Christmas in Zurich

An integral part of Christmas in Zurich has to be the Märlitram that trundles through the city during Advent. With Samichlaus himself at the wheel alongside storytelling angels and free presents, families and children queue around the block for a 20-minute ride on the tram.

The special public transport service has been active in the city since 1958, with up to 10.000 children between the ages of four and 10 riding the Märlitram every Christmas. The pretty red and gold tram was originally built in 1913, making it the oldest vehicle in the VBZ still in operation.

Märlitram to run in the spring, VBZ confirms

Now, the transport provider has confirmed that it will be expanding the Märlitram to run around Easter and the rest of spring. "Demand for the Märlitram service during Advent is very high. The VBZ therefore sees potential in another service," company spokesperson Leo Hermann told the Tages-Anzeiger.

While the VBZ is unsure what the springtime trips will involve, Hermann promised a “special experience” for children visiting Zurich. "During the journey, the children will be told stories or sung songs in the tram. The stories can be related to Christmas, but this is not mandatory," he added.

The reason for the change can be traced to Jelmoli, the department store that traditionally sponsors the Märlitram and sells tickets. With the store set to close at the end of 2024, VBZ will terminate their contract with Jelmoli at the end of the year. They will now be looking for new sponsors for both the Advent and spring services, with the latter set to be launched in 2026.

Thumb image credit: Ploy Makkason /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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