Tuesday, December 27, 2016

St. Gallen, Göschenen, Luzern

My second day, and I'm waking up in my "Nightjet" compartment in Switzerland. 
 I find some difficulties to sleep in night trains, and in this one particularly due to sudden breaks at night at different stops. Otherwise, I think it's a nice way of travelling, you wake up in a new city.
 As mentioned, the breakfast was included.
 The cabin has lot of space, a separate table for two.
 Passing by different stations in Switzerland on my way to Zurich.

 It looks like it's going to be nice weather.

 The train has arrived to Zurich.
 WLBmz and WLABmz coaches

 EN 471 "Nightjet"
 Looks like the last part of the route was hauled by Swiss Re 420 (Re 4/4II).
 Zurich main station in the morning
 ICN train
 Bahnhofplatz with statue of Alfred Escher who was a politician and railway pioneer. He was the founder of the Gotthard railway company.

 View from Bahnhofquai

 In 2014 the station was transformed from a terminus to a through station with new underground Löwenstrasse station. Today I will be travelling around Switzerland, my first destination will be St. Gallen, and I will take this Intercity train.
 Re 460 with "Mobiliar / Gottardo 2016" livery.
 IC2000 double deck coach for service Geneva Airport - St. Gallen.
 The reason for going to St. Gallen is to take Voralpen Express train.
 Last stop is St. Gallen in eastern Switzerland.

 Eurocity 196 from Munich to Zurich is arriving
 Re 421 for SBB Cargo and equipped for operations in Germany and Austria is used for Eurocity services, this one is used from Lindau in Germany.
 One of my favourite coaches is the panorama one SBB Apm
St. Gallen is the end station for both type of Swiss long distance trains: IC2000 and ICN.
ICN train at St. Gallen. InterCity-Neigezug or RABDe 500 is the tilting train of SBB.

My next train is Voralpen Express, an InterRegio service between St.Gallen and Lucerne and operated by SOB (Südostbahn).

1st class coach has wide windows.
The railway I'm taking now is named Bodensee-Toggenburg-Bahn. Here passing over Sitterviadukt, the tallest railway bridge is Switzerland (99m). From the window I can view the other Sitterviadukt for the SBB railway Wil-St.Gallen which is was passing over earlier.

There are many viaducts along the way, unfortunately I can only view the shadows from the train.

Obersee lake

Passing by Heiling Hüsli and Seedam, the most narrow area of lake Zurich.
I'm now climbing up on Pfäffikon SZ-Arth-Goldau railway, which has 50‰ (1:20) steep sleeves. For that reason the train with 7 coaches need 2 locomotives
The weather is changing rapidly as we are climbing from 432m (Pfäffikon SZ) to 932m above the sea level at Rothenthurm.
SLM Re456 locomotive hauling Voralpen Express train.
I have arrived to Arth-Goldau and here I will change to another train and destination.
The station is an important junction, for Zug–Arth-Goldau, Gotthard railway, Südostbahn line (which I came with) and Vitznau–Rigi rack railway. Trains from the latter one can be seen here. Rigi Railway is the highest standard gauge railway in Europe, reaching 1752m above sea level.
ICN train for Lugano
I'm taking InterRegio service to Erstfeld. I will later take another train to Göschenen, a place where the old Gotthard tunnel is located.
Since the opening of the new Gotthard base tunnel on 11th of December 2016, the route of the old tunnel is operated only with regional trains. IR service terminates now in Erstfeld. Here is a photo inside SBB A EW IV coach.
In the summer there will be a specially arranged train using the old Gotthard route - Gotthard Panorama Express operating between Flüelen and Lugano.
Passing by the entrance to new Gotthard base tunnel.
Final stop for my IR train is Erstfeld (to the left). Here I change to RegioExpress train (to the right).
TILO (Regional Trains Ticino Lombardia) is a joint venture between Italian railway company Trenord and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS). Here is RABe 524 (Stadler Flirt).

It's of course nice with the new tunnel, saving 30min compared to the old route, but the beauty of the old route is maybe worth the extra travel time?
Famous church in Wassen which can viewed three times from the train (with different angles) as the train is climbing up the Alps.
2nd view
3rd time I see the church and the railway I was climbing up with.

I'm getting of in Göschenen. Station is located 1106m above sea level.
Train enters the north port of Gotthard tunnel
Narrow gauge railway to Andermatt is operating here.
After opening the new tunnel, this station has lost its importance. Only 1 platform is used today.
Gotthard tunnel is 15km and when opened in 1882, it was the longest tunnel in the world.

It is of course much colder here than in St.Gallen and Zurich.

Looks like it was an old Bahnhof Hotel.
View over the station.

Walking path map along the route.
Some services of RE10 are going all the way to Milano.
On the way back I can view the Gotthard base tunnel north portal.
After changing back to InterRegio in Erstfeld I'm continuing to Luzern. Here I can see Eurocity Milano-Zurich ETR 610 New Pendolino train.

The only remaining part of the old station which was destroyed in a fire 1971. New station was opened 1991.
Pilatus mountain

Kapellbrücke - the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe.

My train back to Zurich is an InterRegio.

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