Monday, 20 December 2010

Switzerland’s Glacier Express (Part 4)

The final piece of the Dampfbahn Furka-Bergstrecke heritage steam railway over the Furka Pass is the section between Gletsch and Oberwald which was opened only four months ago. Due to the Alpine winter it is currently closed until the line is reopened in the springtime.

For the diehards here are two Youtube video clips of operations soon after opening (steam).

Here is a map of the first part of the section.

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You can see a spiral turn a little below Gletsch. This being entirely in tunnel is known as a turn-tunnel, helical tunnel or Kehrtunnel. The line continues down the Rhone valley

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Eventually we can see that the Furka Base line is coming in from the right. Here I’ll talk a little bit about what happens on this line. From Realp at 59 km, the line runs into the tunnel and about 6 km in there is a crossing loop, Rotondo. After another 6 km is another crossing loop, Geren. After exiting at the Oberalp end there are two bridges crossed and then directly from the end of the second bridge the line enters the Oberalp deviation tunnel, in which it curves around through 90 degrees passing directly under the old route. Oberwald is reached at 41 km.

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Here is Oberwald with the old route now on the right, the routes having crossed over as mentioned above.

Next time we will be continuing on the MGB to Brig. And the final part after that will cover the Mattertal Line where the route finally goes up the spur on the mountain to reach its terminus.