MOB History 001

Our History

A tourism company from the very beginning

1883 - Opening of the first section of our lines, Territet – Glion (funicular railway), which today is part of the MVR family.

1899 - Establishment, on 26 June, of the Montreux Oberland Bernois Railway Company. It is the project of the Dufour brothers, hoteliers at Les Avants, which is retained: the train will leave from Montreux and not from Vevey as has been discussed. And the track will be metric, as this was more suited to the numerous bends of the line.

1901 - Commissioning of the Montreux – Les Avants track, the first section of the MOB railway.

1905 - With its 62.4 km of track, the MOB line (Montreux – Zweisimmen) was the first in the country to be entirely electric. That year, it transported 348,000 travellers... and 5,700 animals too.

1906 - MOB was one of the first companies to provide a dining carriage.

1916 - During the First World War, 700 wounded or sick British soldiers landed in Pays-d’Enhaut. This was just the beginning of MOB's success with English nationals.

1928 - The idea of directly connecting the Riviera to the region of the Lakes Thun and Brienz, which has been around since the 19th century, was raised once more. Since 1916, the Lucerne - Interlaken - Zweisimmen - Montreux route, the GoldenPass Line, could be taken by train, but the track gauges were different (1.435 m and 1 m). We considered building a third rail between Zweisimmen and Interlaken.

1929 - In the 1920s, the MOB experienced a lack of customers due to the expansion of the automobile, to the point that a bus and trucking service was launched. In 1929, the Canton of Berne recognised the need to improve operating conditions.

1930 - A revealing fact: the earnings of Gstaad railway station exceeded those of Montreux for the first time.

1931 - The arrival of four Pullman carriages. These joined the two existing Belle Époque saloon carriages. Due to the financial crisis, they were withdrawn from the fleet some months later and sold to the Rhaetian Railway.

1939 - While there were no tourists, MOB received significant support from the Confederation, the Army and the Cantons to clean up its facilities and renew its rolling stock. The line was essential to the Swiss defensive plan to contain a potential German invasion.

1966 - Last train between Blonay and Chamby. This line is now the Blonay-Chamby Museum Railway.

1969 - Closure of the St-Légier – Châtel-St-Denis track.

1976 - The pioneering spirit was still alive and well. Focusing on tourism, the company equipped itself with a panoramic carriage, as suggested by designer Sergio Pininfarina during a stay at Gstaad, A world first on a metric network.

1980 - Romy Schneider, Michèle Morgan… MOB welcomed stars and heads of state. In 1980, the Queen of England travelled on the Panoramic Express.

1986 - Spurred on by then-director Edgar Styger, the idea of a third rail between Zweisimmen and Interlaken was revived, but the project was abandoned due to a lack of resources.

1993 - Launch of the famous Crystal Panoramic Express, designed by Pininfarina atelier near Turin.

2001 - Establishment of Montreux – Vevey – Riviera Transport (MVR), through the fusion of several transport companies. MVR brought together two railway lines (Montreux – Rochers-de-Naye and Vevey – Les Pléiades) and three funicular railways. MVR is managed by MOB.

2005 - MOB added four carriages in Belle Époque style to its fleet, which were entirely remade in the technical workshops in Chernex.

2008 - Since it would not be possible to adapt the rail infrastructure by installing a third rail, the rolling stock would have to be adapted. Richard Kummrow, the new director at MOB, announced that a variable gauge bogie was in development, a prototype of which was built for MOB in the Chernex workshops.

2017 - MOB concluded its twinning with Japanese railway company Nankai.

2018 - The new bogie required major developments. Under the leadership of Georges Oberson, director since 2011, this task was entrusted to Prose and Alstom. Stadler would build the train, designed by Pininfarina.

2020 - Manufactured by Stadler, the first Goldenpass Express carriages were delivered in July.

2022 - The GoldenPass Express will be inaugurated on 11 December.