Famous panoramic Glacier Express now requires COVID certificate

Famous panoramic Glacier Express now requires COVID certificate

Despite regular assurances that COVID “3G” certificates would not be required on Swiss public transport, special services like the famous Glacier Express have begun to use them. This is due to safety when serving food and to attract more tourists to use the train by getting rid of the mask requirement.

COVID-19 certificate used by Glacier Express instead of masks

What the Neue Zürcher Zeitung calls the “slowest express train in the world," the Glacier Express train runs from St. Moritz in Graubunden to Zermatt in Valais. The train offers tourists stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers, starting in the luxury of the Engadin and ending beneath the Matterhorn. 

The company operating the train announced that it would be “obliged to adhere to the new requirements of the Federal Council regarding the extension of the certificate requirement." This means that anyone who wishes to travel on Glacier Express services will have to provide proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test. The measures came into force as of September 13, 2021. 

Calls for COVID certificate requirement for all public transport

Due to Glacier Express services not being part of “licensed traffic” in Switzerland, they do not have to abide by the rules set by the government that say transportation has a “duty to operate and transport” everyone. As public transport tickets cannot be used on these trains, they are not classed as commuter services and can therefore ask for certificates.

Head of corporate communications and spokesperson for the Rhaetian Railway (the company that joint owns the service) Yvonne Dünser, argued that the certificate had to be implemented as food was served throughout the train, and as restaurants and buffet cars on Swiss trains require certificates, the change seemed natural. She added that the addition of a certificate may convince more tourists to come as “you no longer have to wear a mask."

Glacier Express have said that the new announcement has not led to a decline in bookings. Canton Graubunden agreed with the decision, going so far as to call on the government to “examine” a certificate requirement throughout Swiss transportation.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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