Switzerland Once Had A Starbucks Cafe Located On A Train

It wasn't so long ago that the train was the world's primary method of transportation. The steam engine helped open up the American West and the European continent. Iconic trains, such as The Orient Express, have inspired tales of murder, espionage, and luxury.

Today paints a different picture.

In the United States, people may not be as interested in traveling by train anymore. While local trains still enjoy their share of customers, the national railways that used to dominate American travel carry more freight than passengers, according to Business Destinations. Several old and defunct train lines have even been rebranded as tourist attractions, such as the Conway Scenic Railway in New Hampshire's White Mountains (via New Hampshire Union Leader). 

In Europe, however, trains are still an extremely popular mode of transportation. Within the European Union, you can hop on a train in Florence and be in Paris by sundown. Far from overly luxurious, European trains are comfortable, affordable, and usually outfitted with dining cars.

But what if there were a cafe on your train where you could have coffee, chat with fellow passengers, and maybe get some work done? Seem like an odd request? Not for the Swiss.

Remember that time the Swiss had a Starbucks train cafe?

In 2013, Starbucks, in partnership with Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), opened its first cafe on a train. The idea, according to Starbucks, was to offer travelers "a new place and way to enjoy their favorite Starbucks coffee."

It's not surprising this happened in Switzerland, as it was the first continental European nation to open a Starbucks way back in 2002, per Starbucks. The outlet also reports that the cafe car, a double-decker, could seat up to 50 people. The car's design was meant to elicit feelings of comfort and connectivity, with a color scheme inspired by coffee. The walls were the color of a blonde roast, while the ceiling acted more like a nice crema atop an espresso. The leather upholstered seats and wooden community tables could almost make one forget they're on a train.

Though it's not like putting a Starbucks on a train was all that easy. Concept director Lix Muller contended with the train's movement, space limitations, and strict Swiss safety regulations (from Starbucks). It's not clear whether or not these Starbucks train cafe's are still running. One source via TripAdvisor claims they are no longer running, and SBB doesn't offer any indication of continued partnership with the Seattle coffee giant. If indeed the Starbucks coffee trains are no more, it was a short-lived gimmick. Still, as Business Insider put it: "we'd be glad to see good coffee on an early morning train ride through the mountains."