Luxembourg: travel back in time aboard the Pétrusse Express

The Pétrusse Express, the city’s tourist train, takes travelers on a journey through time thanks to virtual reality.

Nerdy the little tourist train? Not at all! On the contrary, that of Luxembourg has just plunged full speed ahead into modernity! Now equipped with virtual reality glasses (VR, for virtual reality in English), the Pétrusse Express, which leaves from the Casemates du Bock to head towards the Rham plateau and the Grund, offers a 360-degree immersion for about fifteen minutes in 19th century Luxembourgand century.

As they approach the old mustard mill, the “Muerbelsmillen”, in Pfaffenthal, Pétrusse Express passengers are indeed invited to put on their VR glasses and choose between one of the four languages ​​(Luxembourgish, German, French or English ). Here we go!

A dive in the year 1867

Time travelers are therefore immersed in the past, in the year 1867 of our era precisely. The driver is no longer at the controls of a locomotive, but now pulls a horse-drawn carriage through the narrow streets of the Pfaffenthal. For 1.2 kilometres, wherever you turn, you can see the old buildings and the reconstructed casemates. You will come across a few ladies in their old-fashioned clothes, and you will hear about some local celebrities, in particular Laurent Menager, famous composer and organist of the district.

This is a unique experience offered by the City of Luxembourg, the tourist operator Moyocci and the company Urban Timetravel: virtual reality is implemented within a geolocated vehicle, which means that the visit is followed rhythm of the train driver (the real one!), the carriage accelerating when the driver accelerates, and above all, the glasses showing exactly where you are in real life!

Welcome to the Luxembourg of the 19th century! Photo: city of luxembourg/urban timetravel sa

“Very close to historical reality”

The project had been in the pipeline for several years, 2017 to be exact, but with the covid crisis and above all the research and design work involved, it saw the light of day only a few weeks ago.

“We discussed with historians and studied many documents from the Photothèque as well as from the two museums of the City of Luxembourg to recreate the streets. Then we moved to 3D. The result is really very close to historical reality”, comments Johannes Berdin, general manager of Urban Timetravel.

1652632407 676 Luxembourg travel back in time aboard the Petrusse
Equipped with glasses, passengers can immerse themselves in the history of the capital.

A one hour tour

The train runs 7 days a week, eight times a day for a total circuit of one hour. Only the first of the three cars, which can accommodate 15 people, is equipped with VR glasses. If it is already possible to enjoy the trip, the project is still in a test phase until at least next November, in order to study the returns of tourists and to be able to refine the concept and thus adapt it to possible requests. . For example, soon, a simple button on the glasses will make it possible to switch from virtual to real, to be able to compare places without having to remove the glasses, as is currently the case.

In any case, the designers are already teeming with ideas to further develop the project, notably by offering other languages, other circuits and other eras, but also stories specially adapted for children, as well as special visits, for Halloween for example.

Practical information

When purchasing the ticket, tourists will be able to choose between a normal small train ride with an audio guide for 14.50 euros. They will then take place in the second or third car. Travelers who have chosen the virtual reality tour at 29.50 euros will be installed in the first wagon equipped with VR glasses. A strict hygiene concept (protective masks and individual headphones) will guarantee the smooth running of the tour in complete safety. Tickets can be purchased online at: moyocci.com, sightseeing.lu or at the mobile ticket office of the tourist operator Moyocci.

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Luxembourg: travel back in time aboard the Pétrusse Express


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