East Switzerland – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich

grusch3 1024

The Swiss trains and railways system is undoubtedly the best in the world.

You would be hard pressed to find something this neat and efficient that covers all the country, with amazing scenery on every journey.

grusch rail 1024.jpg

DSCF0809 1024AS you can see, the pretty town of Grusch I think is quite typical of many of the idyllic looking villages in Switzerland.

There several characteristics of trains here.    There are several classes of trains with different stock and track like the funicular trains that go up impossibly steep hills.

The platforms are not high.  Often you can walk across flatter parts of the track.   The trains don’t actually go very fast, and the barriers, lights and sirens come on well in advance.   Some of the modern trains have a small motorised platform that appears to help you get up.

SBB is the Swiss railway operator, and it is also easy to buy your ticket using your smart phone and therefore know exactly where you are going and where to change and the right platform.   I didn’t get any pictures of Zurich’s station, but it is huge and has 45 platforms.

DSCF0783 1024  DSCF0784 1024

grusch2 1024

There is a lot of freight I see going past.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation – 3. Motorbikes, cars and kebab shops in Vaduz, Liechtenstein – 4. Small country topography – 5. Road up to the castle – 6. The Prince’s castle and vineyard – 7. bars, shops, Olympics –

Advertisements

Jungfrau – the Swiss mountain train

If you haven’t been following previously, I took a break from my normal charity IT work in Israel to visit my friend in Switzerland and taking advantage of cheap flights that make landlocked central European nation a good stopping point in between coming back to Israel.

The railway that goes to the Jungfrau is an interesting one, not quite as radical as the Funicular railways, but this system is made of a mixed type trains for normal linear track and hill climbing, I walked about 3 miles to this station, and asked in the office for getting to the Jungfrau which is the highest mountain in Europe.   Had to gasp and almost walked away, as it turns out this was the most expensive railway journey I have been on, 186CHF, which is about £130.

This ordinary railway stops halfway up at a stop called Wenger, then you change trains onto whats known as a cog railway, the carriages are quite spartan, they have wooden seats, probably because people are carrying skis and equipment with snow or moisture on them, and the interior of the train has to be durable to cope with this.   The train has a third rail in the middle not for power (this is done by overhead wires) but is actually a ‘toothed’ rack, I think this provides better traction for the train to go up hill.

Second stop, halfway up, is the ski slopes of Grindelwald.

I realise now, was a kind of bit jealous of not being able to do any skiing after seeing so many people having fun whizzing around the slopes here, the path with the blue sign above it, is a slope for new beginners.   It seems that like yachting or owning a horse, skiing is one of those expensive hobbies out of reach of a lot of us, as well extra payment needed for an actual ski pass, the equipment, (renting it, or shlep your own gear around with you) and very necessary insurance as well of course.

There seems to be a helicopter permanently hovering around the slopes with someone keeping an eye out for anyone that could of had an accident.

Normally the Swiss are polite and civilised sort of folk, although I think the driver of this sweeping type vehicle is deliberately clumsy with the spray of excess snow to any tourists not paying attention!

From right to left, a small skidoo (for the kids?), a nice clean snowplough (the Mrs? 🙂 ) and one that’s been out busy! (driven by a chap I think)

  

A few amusing sites to be found is the teepee shaped bar which I think its fab!! its also nice and warm inside!

On the right, is a place where you can get German style bratwurst sausages, notice the bottles of sauce are upside down attached the chains!   I wondered how concerned the owners is about theft of condiments or people making a mess to have this kind of setup!

To be honest finding which trains and where I needed to change was not at all simple, it was only from asking a chap on the carriage when I left the first station, who was a British gent who comes here every year did I get to understand where to get the right train to get up the top of the legendary mountain.

Right: the Swiss are fun and outdoorsy, but like their peace and quiet in the evenings, this poster is a reminder to foreign visitors I think!

This oddball vending machine lets you lock your skis whilst you pop in for a beer, with a non-refundable 2 CHF coin.

Next: the strange hidden complex of tunnels inside the Jungfrau mountain….