Monday, July 30, 2018

Glacier Express to Filisur

Today is my birthday, and what can be a better way of celebrating it than taking a ride on Glacier Express - one of the most scenic train journeys in the world.
 Before the departure, I'm visiting Andermatt
 Deh 4/4 EMU is an electric railcar with a baggage compartment,
 Schöllenen Gorge with a mosaic from 1956 saying "The Old Road to the New Age"
 The reason I'm visiting this place located near Andermatt is to see the Suvorov monument.

 From Wikipedia: "A 12-meter-high cross carved in the rock commemorates the fighting since September 1899 on 25 September 1799 in the context of the Second Coalition War in this area between Napoleonic troops under Claude-Jacques Lecourbe (1758-1815) and General Alexander Suvorov commanded Russian troops took place."

Schöllenenbahn from Göschenen to Andermatt.
Before the departure of my train I have time to take the Gütsch Express cable car.
The first lift is travelling from 1441m to 1832m

The railway that I'm going to take later that day
The middle station where I'm changing for my next gondola cable car
The 2nd lift is taking me from 1832m to 2367m above sea level

During the winter there is a popular ski resort here
Top station at Gütsch (Nätschen) mountain

On the other side of Andermatt is the Gemsstock mountain which is 2961m. There is a lift up there as well, but it was closed during this summer.
Me at the clouds

Andermatt station opened in 1917

My train is already waiting for me
HGe 4/4 II locomotive is manufactured by ABB and SLM
The whole journey between Zermatt and St.Moritz is taking about 8 hours, I will be just taking part of this journey today. Since 2017 the train is operated by the Glacier Express AG, a cooperation jointly owned by the former operators Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) and Rhaetian Railway (RhB).
From 2006 all coaches in this train consists of panorama types. The basic unit of Glacier Express consist of 6 coaches: First class with wheelchair-access (Api), First class (Ap), Panorama-bar (WRp), 3 Second class (bp).
A 1st class ticket for the trip Andermatt-Chur costs 89CHF + a seat reservation 13CHF (low season) or 33CHF (high season). With Interrail, the price is only for the seat reservation.
There is also possibility to pre-order a three-course lunch which cost 43CHF (drinks are not included). Here is the first course which is a sallad
Between Andermatt and Disentis, the train travels on the Furka Oberalp Railway. The 10km journey between Andermatt and Oberalppass is a trip from 1436m to 2033m above sea level.

Oberalpsee lake

Many tourists on this train

Main course is some kind of meat

For dessert there is an option of cheese or tiramisu

At Disentis/Mustér there is a longer stop
Disentis/Mustér is the eastern terminus of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn line from Brig via Andermatt, and the western terminus of the Rhaetian Railway line from Landquart via Chur and Reichenau-Tamins.
Disentis Abbey
At Disentis/Mustér there is a change of locomotives

FO / MGB HGe 4/4 II number 108 (manufactured in 1990) is replaced with...
RhB Ge 4/4 II number 620, manufactured in 1973

2nd class panorama coach
Panorama bar

 Reichenau-Tamins - Disentis/Mustér railway
Bridge over Vorderrhein river, one of the two sources for the Rhein river.
The line has also cargo traffic

Another Glacier Express
The last coach is almost empty
Final stop for this train is in Chur

Chur is connected to the standard gauge SBB railway network
My next train is a regional train to Filisur
Ge 6/6 II 702
Ge 6/6 II 704

At Reichenau the two Rhine tributaries Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein meet, forming the Alpine Rhine.
Reichenau is also a junction for the two railways, the right one for Disentis/Mustér, the left one to Thusis.
Thusis station
One of the coaches has windows that can be opened.
The same coach from inside. Unfortunately it was the only coach in this train with opening windows, so there was a bit of a fight over who will be taking photos.
From Thusis, our train is travelling on Albula Railway
From Wikipedia: "Albula Railway links Thusis on the Hinterrhein (697 m above sea level) with the spa resort of St. Moritz in Engadine (1,774 m above sea level). Construction of the Albula Railway was begun in September 1898, the opening took place on 1 July 1903, and the extension to St. Moritz commenced operations on 10 July 1904. With its 55 bridges and 39 tunnels, the 61.67-kilometre long line is one of the most spectacular narrow gauge railways in the world."

Albula river

From Wikipedia: "Between Tiefencastel and Filisur, the train crosses the 35 m high and 137 m long Schmittentobel Viaduct. Shortly before Filisur, it reaches one of the trademarks of the Albula Railway - and often also the Rhaetian Railway in general - the 65 m high Landwasser Viaduct, which in a curve of only 100 m radius leads directly into a tunnel through the cliff face at the opposite end."

This is it
The Landwasser Viaduct is a single-track six-arched curved limestone railway viaduct, designed by Alexander Acatos, it was built between 1901 and 1902 by Müller & Zeerleder for the Rhaetian Railway.

Arriving to Filisur station

A short walk from the station to the observation deck

Ge 4/4 II 633
Inside Filisur station

My trip back to Andermatt will consist of 3 trains, the first one is to Reichenau-Tamins
The train consists of different coaches, here is ABe 8/12 Stadler Allegra

The way back is passing through Landwasser viaduct again

Inside the panorama coach with windows that can be opened

There is a dining car in this Regio train, it is a WR Mitropa coach
From "In 1929 and 1930, the German operator of dining and sleeping cars Mitropa purchased three dining cars to be operated in luxury trains on the network of the Rhaetian Railway. The cars originally designated Dr4ü 10-12 were used to serve haute cuisine meals to rich people travelling with the Glacier Express, the Engadin Express or to Davos. All three units were manufactured by Schweizerische Waggons- und Aufzügefabrik Schlieren (SWS). RhB bought these elegant dining cars at an auction in 1949."


Burgruine Campell

RhB Ge 4/4 III 641
Bronze sculpture "Die Reisende" (The Traveller) created by Robert Indermaur in 1993.

At Reichenau-Tamins, I'm changing trains
This train has really coaches from all possible epochs
Gourmino coach
ABe 8/12

My next train to Disentis/Mustér
Ge 4/4 II 621

I have expected all trains in Switzerland to be strictly on time, but this one is actually is 5-10min delayed. It can't be easy to run so many Regional, Express and freight trains on single track railway without delays.

From Wikipedia: "Ruinaulta is a canyon created by the Anterior Rhine between Ilanz/Glion and Reichenau in the debris of the Flims Rockslide just upstream of its confluence with the Posterior Rhine at Reichenau in the Grisons, eastern Switzerland. It is sometimes known as the Rhine Gorge, or sometimes rather ironically called Swiss Grand Canyon. Protected by cliffs several hundred metres high, the area is forested and a haven for wildlife. It is a popular location for rafting."


Due to the delay of this train, I was worried that I would miss my connection at Disentis/Mustér, but the connecting train was waiting for the delay.

The last train to Andermatt

It's late, and the train is almost empty

Chapel S. Brida

Cogwheel railway starts here near Tschamut Selva

A red lighthouse at Oberalppass is a landmark since 2010. It is a downsized replica of the 14 meters high leading light "Hoek van Holland", which was located at the mouth of the Rhine in Rotterdam for 70 years.

From Wikipedia: "The public road that crosses the pass is closed in winter, but the Furka-Oberalp railway line, now part of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, runs year round and provides a limited shuttle for cars in winter (reservation required). When the road closes depends on snowfall and varies between the end of October and the beginning of December. The road opens again in spring, usually by the end of April but sometimes not until mid May."

Oberalp lake is located on the left valley side of the Oberalp Pass. It is a natural reservoir with an area of approx. 1 square kilometre and is located at a height of 2,207 metres above sea level.

The railway line began its operation in 1923. For the first 16 years prior to the electrification of the line, steam trains operated in summer only.


Andermatt station seen from above
Cheese fondue at local restaurant in Andermatt

Railway works at night

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