The Transalpin

Feldkirch Travel Blog

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Interior arrangement of the Panorama wagon (luggage racks are at either end)
Big day today! I'm finally fulfilling a years-long wish. That is, to travel 1st class in the Panorama wagon of the Transalpin train. Transalpin is a famous train-name, of a very, very long train, provided by the OEBB (Austrian Railways) and the SBB (Swiss Railways). It goes from Wien Westbahnhof to Basel SBB, passing through the alps and, of course, through some incredible scenery.

The train has one Panorama wagon, which, departing from Vienna, is the second one from the back. I don't understand why someone would buy a 1st class ticket and not use this wagon. You can see it in the picture, as well as the interior arrangement. It's a coach (saloon) wagon, with tables for every seat.

You will allow a quick detour to tell you what I love about 1st class travel.
1st class seat, with reading material
To begin with, there's the nostalgia part of it. 1st class has always been and still is associated with plain comfort. No, not excessive, not fussy or magnific, like going with the Majestic Imperator, but plain old comfort. Secondly, it goes against the "travel democratisation" movement, mostly initiated by the ariline companies, which says that fares should offer the simple service of moving you from A to B, without anything else included. I think this sucks. Travelling cattle-class in airplanes, or, for example, 2nd class in the Netherlands (where you don't even have between-seats separators) is a poor experience, and, coming from 21st century "upgrades", looks utterly counterevolutionary.

Back to 1st class though, among the amenities you get, at least on long-haul trains in Austria, are a welcoming Club Lounge in some important stations, free newspapers and personal service during your trip, and at-seat drinks and snacks.
Road infrastructure in the Austrian Alps
There's always the Helvetino restaurant car for a good warm meals (in the Transalpin), or the other restaurant cars (more about that later).

Finally, there are much less people travelling 1st class nowadays, which means you always get a free seat (and about everyone reserves theirs), which is not always possible in 2nd class (see my first post for more on 2nd class seat-scavengers).

Closing the loop, I'm on the Transalpin, going to Feldkirch (final destination Uberlingen, Germany). As we pass Salzburg and "the German corner" the scenery suddenly changes and the most beautiful Apline pastures come in sight. Past Innsbruck and the train enters a set of tunnels, viaducts and bridges that entertain the eye every moment, and cut through some of the most breathtaking mountains in Europe.

I would reccomend it as the best way to enjoy the Alps, if you don't have the time / money to actually stop and ski there.
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Interior arrangement of the Panora…
Interior arrangement of the Panor…
1st class seat, with reading mater…
1st class seat, with reading mate…
Road infrastructure in the Austria…
Road infrastructure in the Austri…
photo by: Jackie128