Swiss timepieces have long been celebrated as the best and most desirable in the world. Adorning the wrists of Hollywood movie stars, sports stars and even Royalty, their desirability is as reliable as their timekeeping. Therefore it should come as no great surprise that a clock is responsible for Switzerland being widely regarded as having the world’s most efficient train system.
“Those with brains take trains” (Swiss Federal Railways’ motto)
Designed by Hans Hilfiker in 1944, the Swiss Federal Railways clock has become a national icon featuring a red second hand in the shape of a railway guard’s signalling disc. The clock is special because it requires only 58.5 seconds for the second hand to circle the face. It then pauses at the top of the clock waiting for an electronic signal from the master clock to start again. This means that all clocks across the entire train network operate in perfect synchronicity.
Fun Fact: The clock is so good that in 2012 technology giant Apple paid a whopping 20 million Swiss francs to use the design as part of their iOS 6 software for iPhones and iPads.
In 1807, the world’s first fare-paying passenger service was established in Swansea, Wales. Affectionately known as “The Mumbles Train” its success demonstrated the potential that train travel had to offer and paved the way for the development of infrastructure in the UK and across Europe. Now, 210 years on, there are approximately 9,000 trains travelling on the Swiss network every single day.
As well as efficiency, reliability and affordability, train travel is also relaxing and offers extraordinary views of stunning scenery. It is for these reasons that we think it’s the best way to get to Verbier.
Getting to Verbier
From Geneva to Martigny the journey is approximately 1h40. Following along the north side of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), you’ll get to see the reflection of the majestic mountains as they rise up out of the still blue water before passing through the valley of lush green fields with the mountains standing tall on either side. At Martigny you’ll change trains for a short journey up to Le Châble (approximately 25 minutes). Once in Le Châble you have a couple of options; taxi (approx. 60 CHF), bus (adult 10 CHF) or the best option… telecabine!
Located next to the train station, the telecabine runs daily between approximately 08:30 and 17:30, with departures every minute. An adult single is 11 CHF, and a child 6 CHF. With the journey taking just nine minutes and heading straight up the mountain it is the quickest, most scenic, greenest and most fun way of reaching Verbier.
So for us, train travel followed by the telecabine is the best way to get to Verbier. However, if that doesn’t take your fancy, private transfers are available from a range of companies for approximately 550 CHF.