Rail route of the month: the Mont-Blanc Express from Switzerland to France

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Our slow travel expert takes the off-peak train, discovering along the way that the cross-border ‘express’ train is actually delightfully slow

Martigny enjoys a beautiful setting where the waters of the River Dranse tumble down to join the Rhône in Switzerland’s Valais canton. The town is a natural way station for travellers following the classic Grand St Bernard route south into Italy. The chic set stop off in Martigny en route to Verbier.

Switzerland has so many celebrated metre-gauge mountain railways, among them an outstanding trinity of lines that are boldly promoted to overseas tour operators and have ample capacity to handle large groups. Those three crowd-pullers are the wonderful Bernina railway from the Upper Engadine to Tirano in Italy, the steeply graded line from Brig to Andermatt and beyond (used by the Glacier Express) and the fine GoldenPass route running west from the Thunersee via the Simme Valley to Gstaad and Montreux.

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