If That's The Worst Thing that Can Happen.... (very belated trip report)

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
At the western end of the lake the ship turned into the Aare River and docked.

17-37.jpg 17-38.JPG

At Interlaken, it was a 50m walk to Interlaken West station for the 5 minute ride to Interlaken Ost station. Spotless train again. You’ve just got to love the Swiss transport system – everything is linked and all connections are timed to the minute. I come back to Australia and get so crabby when I have to wait 26+ minutes for a sardine-mode 109 in Collins Street at 5.30pm on a weekday. We have SO FAR to go to match European public transport prowess. (Comment written in 2018 BC).

17-39.jpg

Interlaken Ost station is very impressive.

17-40.JPG

Our hotel, the Hotel Du Lac, is right next to the station on the opposite side of the tracks. The hotel has been owned and run by the same family for two hundred years and is right on the River Aare.

interlaken_ost_hotel_du_lac_rx100m4_03917.jpg

17-41.jpg

The room itself was comfortable and quiet with a small bathroom – the squeaky floorboards merely adding to the ambience.

17-42.JPG 17-43.JPG
17-44.JPG

We ventured out for a walk through rain-soaked Interlaken. This city owed much of its early success due to its proximity to the Jungfrau and hotels reflected the era of British tourists visiting as part of the era of the “Grand Tour” of Europe undertaken in the 1800s. That target market is reflected in the wonderful Victorian-era hotels complete with very English names along the main street.

interlaken_rx100m4_03904.jpg

interlaken_rx100m4_03905.jpg

interlaken_rx100m4_03907.jpg

interlaken_st_georges_rx100m4_03908.jpg


One wonders how the good people of Interlaken permitted the construction of the monstrosity neighbouring the elegant "Victoria Grand Hotel”.

17-127.JPG

The rain showed no sign of letting up.
Certainly there was no sign of the Jungfrau. The billboard in the town centre painted an optimistic picture not matched by the reality.

17-129.JPG

As we’d eaten a substantial lunch on the Blumenslip, we returned to our hotel with a bottle of wine and an early night.
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Day #18
Today we had planned to visit the Jungfraujoch, but the webcam of the summit (provided as a TV channel in our room) showed wet pavements, low cloud/fog and minimal visibility.

Breakfast in the hotel restaurant was excellent – as we’ve found in every Swiss hotel so far. The Aare River passes by the window (the Aare River is actually the longest river in Switzerland and passes through Lake Brienz and Lake Thun thence to Bern before joining the Rhine near Koblenz). Note the lake ferry parked outside the hotel.

18-01a.jpg 18-01b.jpg 18-02.jpg 18-03.jpg 18-04.jpg

After breakfast, we checked out, leaving our suitcases at the hotel and headed for the adjacent Interlaken Ost station for a short train trip to Grindelwald, a small town near the base of the Jungfrau. At the station we were once again grateful for our Swiss Rail Passes as the sign warned that Eurall passes were not valid here.

18-06.jpg

At Grindelwald, the weather showed no sign of letting up, the Jungfrau decisedly very shy....

18-08.jpg

So after a stroll down the main street of Grindelwald, we returned to the station…..

18-09.jpg

just in time to watch a train arrive from the Jungfrau.

18-10.jpg
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
I asked one of the tourists from the train how the summit was “Don’t know, couldn’t see a thing! Waste of money!” was the somewhat brusque reply. Oh well, next time, maybe. Time to board our train back to Interlaken Ost:

18-11.jpg
18-12.jpg

We returned to Interlaken, collected our bags from the hotel and made the 50m trek to the station for the next train to Lucerne. Comfortable seats in F.

18-13.jpg

Weather didn’t look like improving (Sarnersee at Giswil).

18-14.jpg

Our hotel in Lucerne was the Monopol located literally right across the street from the station – brilliant location!

18-20_N72_9983.jpg

Reception off to the side of the foyer.

18-20b_reception.jpg

Olde-world décor, comfortable chairs on the landings and a wonderful lived-in feel

18-20c_monopol_stairs.jpg

A comfortable spacious room, separate bathroom off the entrance area:

18-21.jpg 18-22.jpg 18-24.jpg
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
A small refrigerator, no sensors, so we were able to remove the chargeable items and keep our own purchases there.

18-25.jpg

Once checked in, we went for a walk around town through the old quarter and along the Reuss with views of the Chapel Bridge and the Rigi mountain in the background – covered in cloud (of course!). Apart from cloud covering every mountain in Switzerland so it seems the weather finally seemed on the improve and visibility was far and crystal clear.

18-26a.jpg

The old quarter with its numerous small plazas and buildings that still kept a human scale to them was delightful.

N72_9937.jpg
18-26b.jpg

In a narrow street we found Manor, a department store with a restaurant on its top floor.

18-27a.jpg

A large selection of food from the buffet at very reasonable (=cheap) prices. I elected for a tasty pea and ham soup washed down with a beer.

18-28.jpg

The view from the restaurant extended out over the rooftops with Pilatus in the background – covered in cloud! WHAT IS IT WITH CLOUDS AND MOUNTAINS? Aaaargh!

18-29.jpg

Finally back to the hotel….. looks nice even at night.

18-20a.JPG

I've been used to seeing English translations in countries like China and South America where the translator has managed to mangle the process. One would think with Google Translate now ubiquitous this would not longer happen especially in a country like Switzerland where everyone seemed to speak fluent English (certianly they spoke English a lot better than I did German).

18-metropol-cattle.jpg
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Day #19
The breakfast area was located on the first floor of the hotel. Breakfast at the Monopol was excellent

19-01_brkfst1.jpg 19-02_brkfst2.jpg

After breakfast, we parted company, MrsC heading for the shops whilst I made my way to the quay and boarded a ferry for the short journey across the lake to the Verkershaus or Swiss Transport Museum.

The Torbogen stands in the forecourt plaza of the station (visible behind) and is all that was left of a fire that destroyed the original station in 1971. The central bus terminal and interchange is off to the right.

19-03_N72_9997.jpg
The original station was a magnificent structure.
luzerner-bahnhof.jpg


Everything is so compact. From the upper deck of the steamer, I can see the Monopol behind the trees and the bus interchange just left of shot.

19-04_N72_10002.jpg

Even though it’s a commuter ferry, it’s beautifully maintained, second class on the lower level – bare floor & benches, whilst upstairs gets comfortable seats, carpet and white linen tablecloths. I headed for the outside deck on the upper level.

19-04a_N72_10003.jpg 19-04b_N72_10005.jpg

Sun, glorious sunshine! I saw sunshine for the first time in a couple of days.

19-04c_N72_10006.jpg

Disembarking at the Museum dock, I had time for a quick shot of the steamer departing.

19-05_N72_10022.jpg

From the ferry landing it’s only a couple of minutes walk across a park to the Museum. A bronze sculpture seems to have some shiny bits on its otherwise grey-green patina.

19-06_N72_10025.jpg

At the entrance is the blade from the tunnel boring machine used to bore the newly-opened 56km Gotthard Base Tunnel.

19-07_N72_10026.jpg

Unfortunately the Swiss Travel Pass, whilst covering free entrance to over 500 Swiss museums, doesn’t permit free entry into this Museum: a 50% discount was on offer.
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Once inside I wandered through the rail, automotive and airline sections of the musem. Of course, train tragic that I am I had to view and admire the “Krokodil” the SBB’s articulated electric locomotive that once hauled freight over the Gotthard Pass. As a young lad, I had a Märklin train set and this was my absolutely favourite model .

19-08_N72_10034.jpg

There’s also a large display of steam locomotives and other railway rollingstock, all beautifully restored and displayed with light and space to be able to appreciate these fine pieces. Elevated walkways throughout provide an overview of the exhibits.

19-09_N72_10045.jpg

One of the highlights for a steam tragic like me was the unique SBB C 5/6 steam locomotive #2965. It was a four-cylinder locomotive: huh? You ask. Yes as well as the two large cylinders you can see as on every steam locomotive, it had two extra cylinders inboard with pistons driving an axle internally. Steam was used twice so this gave extra efficiency and hence extra tractive effort.

The loco is exhibited over a lighted pit which enables you to walk underneath the loco.

19-10_N72_10147.jpg

This enables you to see the internal rods and the axle of this amazing arrangement.

19-11_N72_10081.jpg
19-12_N72_10084.jpg

This shows the crankshaft-shaped axle outside the locomotive.

19-13_N72_10088.jpg

Many more steam and electric exhibits from all over Switzerland and beyond the scope of this report to show many more. Well one more – this is an early steam-powered railcar designed to ascend the 48% grade to Pilatus.

19-14_N72_10123.jpg

Walking across the central courtyard, I was impressed by a small section of tunnel from the Gotthard Base tunnel (currently the longest tunnel in the world), before visiting the aircraft section of the museum.. I found it interesting that this 57km long twin tunnel drilled through granite under the Alps with a depth of over 2km in places cost about €10 billion (AUD $16 billion). In Melbourne, the fortunately now abandoned East-West Link first stage called for a 4.4km tunnel and was budgeted to cost $6 billion with a total project cost of over $15 billion. Maybe Melbourne needed to employ the Swiss to build our tunnels </rant off>.

19-15_N72_10164.jpg

Outside is a Swissair Convair 990 and DC3. Inside the museum is a belweildering array of aircraft on display hanging from the roof.

19-16_N72_10173.jpg 19-17_N72_10177.jpg
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
The large building behind these two aircraft housed an amazing array of aircraft.

19-18_N72_10209.jpg

The beautifully preserved Swissair Convair CV-990A Coronado ( HB-ICC "St Gallen") was open and accessible. In their day (1962 onwards) they were the fastest commercial aircraft in the sky (1,000km/h) and flew for Swissair till 1974.

19-19_N72_10218.jpg

Entry via the rear door, the toilet at rear.

19-23b_N72_10235.jpg

A small galley

19-23a_N72_10234.jpg

Economy class

19-20_N72_10222.jpg

First class

19-21_N72_10223.jpg

A lounge at the front of the cabin

19-22_N72_10225.jpg

The coughpit

19-23_N72_10227.jpg

Just across from the Coronado and DC3 is a bathyscaphe. It seemed incongruous and out of place in a transport museum celebrating a land-locked country like Switzerland until I read the information that this deep-sea submersible is named "Auguste Piccard" after the Swiss scientist and physicist who invented the bathyscaphe.

19-23c_N72_10236.jpg
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
My rail addiction satisfied (for the time being), I returned to the lake to await my steamer back to Lucerne. These elegant old ladies of the lake make for a graceful sight as they steadily churn towards you.

19-25a_N72_10277.jpg

The "Uri" is the oldest of the current crop of paddlesteamers. I boarded her to head back to Lucerne for a late lunch.

19-25_N72_10285.jpg

As we arrived back at Lucerne we passed the unique paddlesteamer "Unterwalden" heading for Alpnachstadt.
But more of that later.

19-28a_N72_10291.jpg

Always plenty of commuter parking at Lucerne station.

19-28_N72_10318.jpg

After lunch we walked along the Reuss River along its southern bank. As I've said before, it seems that a great deal of what makes European cities so liveable is there there is a human scale to the buildings and fortunately a dearth of 50-storey skyscrapers standing cheek-by-jowl.
Thank heavens the rain had finished and the weather was clearing nicely. After all it is mid-summer.

A view of the Rathaussteg *Town Hall way) Bridge with the more famous Chapel bridge in the background.

19-reuss.JPG

Here's the Reussbrücke over the river.

19-reuss_DSC03930.jpg

The baroque church with the onion-shaped spires is the Jesuit Church built in the 1600s and dedicated to Francis Xavier, founder of the Jesuit order. Sometimes referred to as the Church's stormtroopers, the Jesuits ensured that the Catholics had a presence here as a counter to the Reformation.

zrh_jesuit_church_rx100m4_03919.jpg

19-reuss_DSC03945.jpg

A little further downstream is the (Mühlenplatz) Mill Plaza and site of water-powered mills that have been here since the Middle Ages. In the 1880s three water-driven turbines were installed in the diverted part of the Reuss to provide electricity and they continued to operate till they succumbed to old age in 1977. Renewable energy in the 1800s. Wow.
The bridge is the Spreuer Bridge and the paintings on its ceiling depict the inevitability of death that will come to all.

19-water0.JPG

However from the bridge one can see how the fast-flowing river's power could be harnessed for both millers and hydro-elctricity.

19-water1.JPG

The mechanism is now on display.

19-water2.JPG
 
Last edited:
Possibly the best subscription service on the planet, designed specially by whisky lovers for whisky lovers. Join the club to grow your collection and drink great whisky.

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Having left the Reuss River, we walked through the AltStadt (Old Town) and made our way to the famous Lion Monument. This sculpture was created to commemorate the massacre of a Swiss Guard regiment during the French Revolution. The Swiss seemd to have quite a mercenary army back in the days as we had heard of them fighting the Muslim invaders in Malta as well. Sculptured by Lukas Ahorn, it’s located in what used to be a peaceful park with a pond below. Unfortunately, it’s overrun with tourists who can’t seem to shut up for the merest moment. Grrr.

19-71.JPG

There’s a feature of this monument that may not be entirely clear on first viewing. So the story goes, Ahorn and the City fell out and the city refused to pay him for his work. Outraged, he went to the monument, but rather than defacing it, he modified the outer edge of the monument.
Can you see the outline of a pig?

19-72.JPG

As it was now getting late in the day we headed back towards our hotel. Looking across the river, we could see our hotel and Mount Pilatus..... yep, covered in clouds - AGAIN!

19-73_DSC03968.jpg

We decided to walk along the lake past the station and Culture and Congress Centre beside it. An ultra-modern building with a spectacular flat roof extending seemingly unsupported out over the concourse.

19-75_N72_10340.jpg

We soon came to the location where the lake paddlewheelers dock for the night.

19-81_N72_10327.jpg

Right beside the century-old paddlewheelers local firm Shiptec was fitting out their latest luxury motor yacht, the MS Diamant, claimed to be their first carbon neutral ship. Quite a contrast.

19-75_N72_10334.jpg

By now wilting, we were happy to head back to the hotel.

19-98_N72_10345.jpg

A nice Alsatian wine to celebrate the day.

19-99.jpg
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Day #20
Unashamedly “train-tragic” day for me today! After an early breakfast, I headed to the station and boarded an early train to Göschenen. This was just a couple of days after the terrorist attack in Nice, France and for the first time in Switzerland I saw soldiers with automatic weapons at the ready (ie not slung over their shoulders as usual) stationed throughout the station and at the entrance to every platform.

NO PHOTOS OF US! Ok, he who holds the gun makes the rules.

20-01.JPG
20-02.JPG

At Göschenen I disembarked and walked to the back of the station and boarded the meter gauge MGB (Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn) train for the ride to Andermatt.

20-03.JPG 20-04.JPG

Departing Göschenen climbing a steep grade one could see the portals for the famous Gotthard tunnel now supplanted by the 57km Gotthard Base tunnel.

20-05.JPG 20-06.JPG

At Andermatt, more carriages were added to the front of our train and we continued to Realp, starting point for the Furka-Oberalp Railway (FO). It didn't seem to fuss anyone that the loco was in the middle of the train.

20-07.JPG 20-08.JPG

At Realp a car train was stabled beside the station. These car carriers provide a drive-on drive-off service between Realp and Oberwald through the Furka Base tunnel for motorists who don’t wish to challenge themselves over the Furka Pass (visible on the slopes in the background).

20-09.JPG

At Realp I walked a couple of hundred metres to the FO’s station located just behind the trees above the loco in the previous photo. The FO is the original line over the Furka Pass that has now been replaced by the Furka Base Tunnel between Oberwald and Hospental; the high line has been restored and sees quite a busy schedule of trains (steam-hauled, of course) over summer on its metre gauge rack railway.

A magnificently restored 100+ year old locomotive was at the head of our train.

20-10.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
20-10a.JPG
20-10b.JPG

Right on time the train pulled out of the station and headed up into the mountains, running along the Reuss River valley (Reuss River runs into the Vierwaldstättersee and continues through Lucerne).

20-11.JPG

This bridge is dismantled and removed at the end of each operating season and stored over winter, being replaced once the spring thaw has melted all the snow.

20-12.JPG

I was the only English-speaking tourist on the train today (but I understand German and can speak it well albeit with a lesser vocabulary) but the conductor made sure I understood his commentary.

20-13.JPG

Halfway up to Furka, the train paused to take water, allowing the passengers a chance to stretch their legs. The melodic bells from the cattle grazing in the meadow below:

20-14.JPG

A longer stop was held near the top of the pass at Furka for both lunch and restroom facilities.

20-15.JPG 20-16.JPG

A chance for photos in this picturesque location:

20-18.JPG 20-19.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Of course a bratwurst and a beer to quell the rumbling stomach.

20-20.JPG 20-21.JPG

The restrooms were basic – left for men, right for women – and the absence of doors on either side provided minimal “privacy”! (We all hav the same equipment, give or take, vat do you want?)

20-22.JPG

The turntable is one with the pit covered – if the turntable pit filled with snow and ice, it would be impossible to turn.

20-23.JPG

The Furka tunnel (the summit) lay ahead of us.

20-24.JPG

Once through the tunnel we paused at a siding to allow an oncoming train to pass us on the otherwise single track before proceeding downgrade.

20-25.JPG 20-26_N72_10537.JPG

The road over the Furka Pass is only open through the summer months. Aficionados of James Bond movies may recognise this piece of road from “Goldfinger” where Bond is following Auric Goldfinger and Odd Job and is almost shot by Tilly Masterton (sister of the gold-plated nude).

20-27_N72_10574.JPG

Continuing on the Rhone Glacier came into view on the right of the train, retreating as all glaciers are in Switzerland. This glacier is the source of the Rhone River.

20-28_N72_10567.JPG
20-29_N72_10576.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
At the town of Gletsch (glacier in German), a large contingent disembarked for lunch at the Grand Hotel Glacier du Rhone visible in the background. They would take a later train back to Realp.

20-30_N72_10593.JPG

The loco took on more water before resuming its journey down the Rhone Valley including a loop inside the mountains to lose altitude.

20-31_N72_10602.JPG
20-33_N72_10615.JPG

As we descended the vegetation improved. Sprinklers are located track side and automatically come on for a few minutes after each train passes to minimise the risk of fires (always thought Switzerland was too green for fires!).

20-35_N72_10625.JPG

Finally the train rolled into Oberwald some two and a half hours after we left Realp.

20-36_N72_10635.JPG

My route back to Andermatt would be through the Furka Base tunnel.. Only a fifteen minute wait and we were on our way passing through the Furka Base tunnel in fourteen minutes rather that the hours over the pass.

20-36_N72_10643.JPG
20-37_N72_10665.JPG

At Hospental, we crossed the Glacier Express on its way to Zermatt

20-38_N72_10671.JPG
20-39_N72_10675.JPG

At Andermatt some carriages were cut off and our train continued on the branch to Göschenen. On the way we passed the Teufelsbruche(Devil’s Bridge) and the Reuss River below.

N72_10684.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
N72_10687.JPG

Once back at Göschenen, I waited for my train back to Lucerne. A freight train rumbled through (interesting that Switzerland has no problems mixing freight and passenger trains on the same tracks – unlike Victoria).

20-40_N72_10709.JPG

A warning in German that boomed from the PA to stand back from the platform edge as the approaching train was not stopping provided only 15 seconds notice as an ICE roared through the platform at 130+km/h. The illuminated sign on the platform reads “Please do not board this train!” Really?

20-41_N72_10717.JPG

Finally my train arrived:

20-42_N72_10725.JPG

First class with panoramic windows:

20-43_N72_10726.JPG

And complete with this traveller who decided he needed to manspread in front of me in spite of an otherwise almost empty carriage!

20-45_20160716_163052s.jpg

Due to track work the train was terminated at Art-Goldau; never mind a local train soon whisked me back to Lucerne. A great day.
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Day #21
Another brilliant clear day as we set out for Pilatus. Breakfast was taken in the front room overlooking Zentralstrasse and the station plaza.

20160717_01.jpg

A tractor with a trailer loaded with hay rolled past, reminding me that the farm sometimes comes to town.

20160718_02.jpg

On the other side of the road, council officers were confiscating bicycles that had overstayed their 48 hours parking outside the station – yes, Lucerne’s bike parking is a “tow-away zone”.

20160718_04.jpg

Back in the 70s my mother (who was German) had shown me a round trip to Pilatus that she used to take as a young woman before the war. I was eager to retrace those steps with Mrs C some 40 years on.

We boarded a bus at the station outside our hotel. At Kriens, a brisk uphill walk took us to the first of two aerial cable cars which would whisk us to the summit of Pilatus.

20160718_05.JPG
20160718_06.JPG

Halfway up, we switched to a larger cable car and climbed towards the summit, spectacular views of the small chapel perched on a ridge, Lucerne and the valley below shrinking into the distance:

20160718_07.JPG

Far off in the distance one could see the Eiger and the Jungfraujoch.

20160718_08.JPG 20160718_10.JPG
20160718_11.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
The view was superb, looking over the Vierwaldstättersee with the Rigi in the distance and Lucerne way below us.

20160718_14.JPG
20160718_16.JPG

Rigi is the pointed mountain on far sie of lake at left, Burgenstock is the large headland in foreground right.

20160718_15.JPG

The hotel at the summit also has a restaurant

20160718_18.JPG 20160718_19.JPG

We had noted many people who had ridden to the top in our cable car with their walking sticks were off down the other side of the mountain towards Alpnachstadt along a zigzagging path.

20160718_22.JPG
20160718_21.JPG

A walking path extends southwest from the hotel affording views into the valleys below and also of the Jungfrau and Eiger away to the south.

20160718_31.JPG
20160718_30.JPG

Even on a sunny day....... the Eiger's summit (black mountain) with a cloudy top whilst Jungfraujoch to the right is cloud-free

20160718_28.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Views in every direction breathtaking:

20160718_30.JPG

The pathway back to Pilatus

20160718_31.JPG
20160718_34.JPG

Once back at Pilatus a covered walkway carved out of the granite afforded a view of the cable car arriving:

20160718_35.JPG
20160718_37.JPG

After lunch, we headed for the station to ride the rack railway down the other side of the mountain. The Pilatus rack railway is the steepest in the world with a maximum gradient of 48%. The train carriages are stepped so that everyone has a horizontal seat.

20160718_09.JPG
20160718_39.JPG

Departure from the station was accompanied by gasps from the passengers as the view unfolded below as the track and other trains could be seen far down in the valley.

20160718_41.JPG

Tunnels and rugged craggy terrain

20160718_42.JPG 20160718_43.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
The trains run in groups of two or three which is practical to enable efficient crossing of uphill trains on the two passing loops

20160718_45.JPG

The railway ends at Alpnachstadt, a village on the Alpnachsee, an arm of the Vierwaldstättersee.

Note that the platform is a staircase; also trains change tracks by means of a transfer table:

20160718_47.JPG

With some time to spare, we decided to have a drink at the lakeside cafe. I ordered a beer and Mrs C a Coke. The beer was a 750ml draught stein costing CHF5 and the Coke a 330ml bottle – CHF7!

I’d been careful to plan our arrival there to catch the steam paddle steamer return to Lucerne: there are many other ferries from Alpnachstadt, but the 4.30pm steamer – the Unterwalden - is special and unique.

20160718_49.JPG

As the steamer approached the bridge at Stanssad, the ventilator tubes folded back, the smokestack retracted AS DID THE SHIP’S BRIDGE.

20160718_50.JPG

This enabled the steamer to safely pass under this low-clearance bridge.

20160718_51.JPG 20160718_52.JPG

Once past the bridge the bridge, smokestack and ventilators returned to their normal position. Amazing!

20160718_53.JPG

Once back in Lucerne, we grabbed some takeaway from one of the many shops in the mall underneath the station and a bottle of wine from one of the many the ubiquitous Coop supermarkets.

20160718_55.JPG 20160718_56.JPG

So ended yet another superb day.
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Day # 22
With our last full day in Switzerland we decided to visit the RothornBahn at Brienz. We had considered the Jungfrau, but the early start required, the cost (CHF 400 return trip for two) and my luck so far with mountain cloud was off-putting.

So it was off to Lucerne Station and train to Brienz. But first we picked up some lovely rolls from the food court under Lucerne station for our lunch, in addition to a couple of hard-boiled eggs I’d snaffled from the breakfast buffet.

20160718_01.JPG

Our train was waiting for us as we arrived at the station.

20160718_02.JPG

More chocolate-box top scenery on the way as we passed the Sarnersee:

20160718_03.JPG

Glorious weather as we arrived at Brienz, the sign pointing us to the Rothornbahn just over the road from the railway station.

20160718_04.JPG 20160718_05.JPG

The entrance to the RothornBahn is right beside the mainline station (this photo taken in the afternoon - it was packed with people in the morning)

20160718_06.JPG

Even though we’d arrived early, there was a long queue stretching out of the station. After purchasing our tickets we took our place in the queue expecting a long wait but even though the timetable said trains were running at 20 minute intervals, one departed every 5-6 minutes. Our train was diesel-powered but there are six steam locomotives on this mountain rack railway.

Soon we were climbing up sides of the mountain towards the summit, the view becoming more spectacular as we rose high above the valley. At each passing loop we crossed an empty train on its way down the hill.

20160718_07.JPG 20160718_08.JPG

As we rode between tunnels we caught glimpses of the track below and the township of Brienz.

20160718_09.JPG

Finally, we arrived at the summit.

What a view! (Interlaken at the far end of the lake).

20160718_12.JPG
 
Last edited:

coriander

Established Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Posts
1,827
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Way down the mountainside we could see the track we had traversed ,with two trains about to pass each other.

20160718_13.JPG

The turquoise Brienzersee stretched out before us with Interlaken visible at its most distant end. On the other side of the lake the mountains stood out in all their glory:

20160718_14.JPG

From left to right, the three highest peaks are the Eiger (the black one), the Monch and the Jungfrau – brilliant in clear sunshine today – hmm, perhaps could have done the Jungfrau - oh well, it is what it is.

20160718_11.JPG

There is a hotel (Hotel Rothorn Kulm) and restaurant at the summit, offering spectacular views. We found ourselves a seat beside the footpath and happily ate our lunch.

20160718_15.JPG

The locomotive crew likewise enjoyed their spectacular “lunch room” view.

20160718_18.JPG

As we watched, a cloud moved over and covered the summit of Jungfrau.

20160718_17.JPG

As well as a hotel on the summit there’s also the Sorenberg aerial cable way that glides down the back of the mountain into a valley below. The granite outcrop and mountain in the background middle of photo is Mount Pilatus.

20160718_16.JPG

All too soon, it was time to make our way back to the train for the trip down the mountain to Brienz. TIP: be sure to sit on the left side going UP the mountain and the right side going DOWN the mountain. We had arrived early for the departure (to get photos of the train, of course!) and had taken our places on the windows on the right side of the carriage, the seating being bench seats across the width of the carriage.

20160718_19.JPG

A portly woman arrived at the last minute. Her husband boarded the train as directed by the conductor but of course there were only central seats left.

The woman stood her ground on the platform and started to berate the conductor telling him (in German) to move those “auslanders” (us) so she could have a window seat. The conductor and I had become “best buds” chatting about steam in general and that steam loco in particular (as us train tragics are wont to do) so she was given short shrift. MrsC and I had been chatting in English as I was giving her a running commentary on the altercation and the angry woman was saying a few unsavoury things about us secure in the knowledge we couldn’t understand her, and generally providing entertainment for the other passengers.

I leant out of the train and said politely but quite loudly in my best hochdeutsch (high German) “Bitte steigen Sie ein - wir warten noch nur auf Sie (please board, we’re waiting only for you)”. A look of horror crossed her face as I smiled sweetly down at her, the conductor stifled a laugh, but other passengers laughed out loud….. as did her husband. She boarded, slamming the door closed behind her as chuckles sounded from all parts of the carriage. Deathly silence apart from furious heavy breathing. I felt sorry for her husband who I was sure would be punished later that day!

As we looked across the valley, the Jungfrau summit was now totally shrouded in cloud – whew, we certainly dodged a cloudy bullet there!

20160718_20.JPG

Back at Brienz, it was only a 15 minute wait for the next train to Lucerne – much longer than this morning’s train.

20160718_21.JPG

A wonderful end to our Swiss “mountain climbing”.
 
Last edited:

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..
Top