Jungfraubahnen cogwheel trains travel to Europe’s highest mountain railway station (Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe Bahnhof) in the Alps above Interlaken where Switzerland is at its most beautiful. A dream train ride for many travelers. The new Eiger Express cable car shortens the journey.
The Jungfrau area near Interlaken is amongst the most beautiful regions of Switzerland and hugely popular with travelers and tourists from all parts of the world. Since 1912, taking a cogwheel mountain train from Interlaken Ost to the Jungfraujoch has been a quintessential element of a trip to the Swiss Alps. Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe Bahnhof is the highest railway station in Europe and offers splendid views of the Jungfrau and Mönch Alpine peaks, glaciers, valleys, and on a clear day, all the way to the Black Forest in Germany and the Vosges in France. The new Eiger Express cable car from Grindelwald-Terminal to Eigergletcher that opened in 2020 helps to shorten the journey time by around 45 minutes. Many day-trip tours to the Jungfraujoch are also available from many parts of Switzerland to add cheap transportation from Luzern or Zürich. Buy train tickets online or from any Swiss Railways sales outlet.
By Cogwheel Mountain Train to the Jungfraujoch, Switzerland
The Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station is at 3,454 m (11,333 ft) the highest mountain railway station in Europe. From Kleine Scheidegg at 2,061 m (6,762 ft), a 7 km (4 mile) long tunnel was dug through the rock of the Eiger and Mönch Alpine peaks for cogwheel trains to reach the Jungfraujoch (Jungfrau Saddle or Col) on gradients up to 25%.
The cogwheel railway track to Jungfraujoch was completed in 1912 and has been in continuous use ever since. As trains arrive every half an hour or so, annually around half a million tourists are able to travel to the Top of Europe and enjoy the Alpine panorama without having to break out in sweat.
Day Trip from Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe
Most travelers on day trips to Jungfraujoch start their assault on the Alps by train from Interlaken Ost station. From here, traditionally three trains of the Jungfraubahnen train network are needed to get to the Top of Europe station. From 2021, the new Eiger Express cable car is a faster option but the total price will stay the same.
The traditional routes with cogwheel trains are Interlaken-Ost to Kleine Scheidegg via either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. From Kleine Scheidegg, the Jungfraubahn trains go through the mountain to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station. Total traveling time is just over two hours.
The new faster route is by train from Interlaken-Ost to Grindelwald-Terminal. Then by Eiger Express cable car to Eigergletscher and from here, the Jungfraubahn trains go through the mountain to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station. Total traveling time is just over 90 minutes.
It is expected that from 2021 most travelers will use the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe via Grindelwald Terminal and the Eiger Express cable car to reach the top station. However, the traditional trains remain an option and it is possible to freely combine the two methods of travel. Depending on the season, travel on both routes is usually possible hourly or twice hourly.
By Train and Eiger Express Cable Car from Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe
Railway journeys from Interlaken to the Jungfraujoch start on the Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB) trains from Interlaken Ost station. To use the new faster route, take the train toward Grindelwald but get off at Grindelwald Terminal station — 30 minutes traveling time.
Grindelwald Terminal is a new very modern station, one stop before the traditional Grindelwald in-town station. Grindelwald Terminal station has modern facilities, shops, restaurants, and is the departure point for two cable car lines.
The tricable 26-seat gondolas of the Eiger Express cable car transport travelers from here in 20 minutes to the Eigergletscher station. The final 26 minutes travel from here on the Jungfraubahn trains is through the mountain to the Top of Europe station. This final train is the only part of the journey for which seat reservations are possible.
Traditional Trains from Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe
The traditional trains-only option remains for traveling to the Jungfraujoch. As the price is the same, railway enthusiasts could easily use the trains one way and the cable car option the other way. The views from the Eiger Express cable cars are magnificent but the views from the regular trains are not shabby either.
From Interlaken Ost (567 m / 1,860 ft), two traditional routings are available to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station – either travel via Lauterbrunnen (796 m / 2,612 ft) or via Grindelwald (1,034 m / 3,094 ft). The time needed and the price of tickets are the same for both routes and it is possible to travel up via one route and return via the other.
Railway journeys from Interlaken to the Jungfraujoch start on the Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB) trains from Interlaken Ost station. Enter the correct carriage as the train splits in Zweilütschinen with different wagons traveling to Lauterbrunnen (20 minutes) or Grindelwald Terminal (30 minutes) and Grindelwald (35 minutes).
At either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen (via Wengen), change to a WAB cogwheel train heading towards Kleine Scheidegg. The train from Grindelwald takes just over half an hour while the trains from Lauterbrunnen need around 45 minutes to reach Kleine Scheidegg.
From Kleine Scheidegg, the Jungfraubahn trains go through the mountain to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station. This last section of the route takes around 30 minutes and includes a stop at Eigergletcher for passengers using the Grindelwald Terminal cable car.
Tips for Taking the Train from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe
Traveling by train from Interlaken-Ost to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station is fairly simple. Train connection times are well-coordinated and departure times will be delayed if a train arrives a few minutes late.
On busy days, it is best to get onto the train as early as possible to get a seat. At really busy times, a second train may depart immediately after the regularly scheduled train.
It is expected that the majority of passengers will use the faster cable car option when traveling to Jungfraujoch. As a result, the trains may become less frequent but still at least hourly and with great connections to avoid delays.
Travelers arriving from other parts of Switzerland can save queuing time in Interlaken-Ost by buying tickets online or at any other Swiss train station or agency selling railway tickets. (However, some special Jungfraujoch deals are often only available from stations in the region but mostly suitable only for those sleeping in the region.)
Seat reservations are not obligatory and only possible on some trains on the Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe line. The reservation fee is CHF10 return (one-way reservations are no longer possible). Reservations are possible at Jungfraubahnen irrespective of where, or indeed if, tickets were bought.
The standard return ticket fare from Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station is around CHF235 (summer), CHF185 in November, and CHF210 rest of the year. Most Swiss railway passes, the Junior Card, and further Jungfraujoch discount offers are available to make traveling to Top of Europe cheaper. Many day-trip tours combine a visit to Jungfraujoch with other seasonal activities that could bring the total price down if traveling from Lucerne or Zürich.