The Pétrusse Express, the city’s tourist train, takes travelers on a journey through time thanks to virtual reality.
Geeked out on the little tourist train? Not at all! On the contrary, Luxembourg has just thrown full speed into modernity! Now equipped with virtual reality glasses (VR, for virtual reality in English), the Pétrusse Express, which departs from Casemates du Bock to drive towards the Rham plateau and Grund, offers a 360-degree immersion for about fifteen minutes in the 19th. century Luxembourgand century.
As they approach the old mustard mill, “Muerbelsmillen”, in Pfaffenthal, Pétrusse Express passengers are really encouraged 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, precisely in our time reckoning year 1867. The driver is no longer at the service of a locomotive, but now pulls a horse-drawn carriage through the narrow streets of Pfaffenthal. In 1.2 kilometers, wherever you turn, you can see the old buildings and the reconstructed casemates. You will encounter a few ladies in their old-fashioned clothes and you will hear about some local celebrities, especially Laurent Menager, well-known composer and organist in 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 in a geolocated vehicle, which means that the visit follows the rhythm of the train driver (the right one!), The car that accelerates when the driver accelerates , and above all, the glasses show exactly where you are in real life!
“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 just a few weeks ago.
“We discussed with historians and studied many documents from Phototheque as well as from the two museums in the city of Luxembourg to recreate the streets. Then we went over to 3D. The result is really very close to the historical reality”, comments Johannes Berdin, general manager of Urban Timetravel.
One hour tour
The train runs 7 days a week, eight times a day in a total cycle 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, to investigate the return of tourists and to be able to refine the concept and thus adapt it to any wishes. . For example, a simple button on the glasses will soon 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 full of ideas to further develop the project, especially by offering other languages, other circuits and other eras, but also stories specially adapted for children, as well as special visits, for example for Halloween.
When buying the ticket, tourists will be able to choose between a normal small train ride with audio guide for 14.50 euros. They will then take place in the second or third car. Travelers who have opted for the virtual reality tour for 29.50 euros will be installed in the first carriage equipped with VR glasses. A strict hygiene concept (protective masks and individual headphones) will guarantee a smooth running of the trip in full safety. Tickets can be purchased online at: moyocci.com, sightseeing.lu or at the mobile operator Moyocci’s mobile ticket office.