Switzerland 2010 Part I
A second Swiss holiday less than a year after the last one! This time I based myself in Sargans in the east of the country. Sargans is a small town surrounded by mountains.
The old town is built on the hillside and is overlooked by the Schloss.
I stayed in the Hotel Zum Ritterhof, conveniently located at the end of platform 5!
The next two shots are the view from my hotel room window.
On a rather wet Monday morning I was surprised to find the Orient Express in the station. A car drove onto the platform and various supplies were quickly loaded into the kitchen car.
Mount Rigi is located in the middle of Switzerland, and a rack railway runs up each side.
At Arth-Goldau I looked for the rack railway station. Ah, there it is, in a shed on a bridge over the main station.
My train was waiting in the sunshine outside the shed.
At the summit the two rack railways end side by side. They are now operated by one company. I went up on the Goldau-Rigi Bahn which has blue trains and descended on the Vitznau-Rigi Bahn which has red trains.
At the summit I found a TV mast, a cafe and some superb views.
This is the zero point for Swiss maps.
Travelling down the other side of the mountain the train stopped at a station just as this helicopter took off.
The end of the line is at Vitznau on the shore of Lake Lucerne, where I had time to watch a small battery locomotive shunting wagons loaded with gravel ready for one of the passenger cars to push them up the mountain.
Lake Lucerne, Vierwaldstättersee in German, has a number of ferry services which are operated by paddle steamers in the summer and by diesel vessels in the winter. Fortunately my holiday was just before the steamers finished, so I was able to take a scenic ride on the D.S. Gallia to Flüelen at the most southerly end of the lake.
The ships call at many points along the lake, each stop is handled very efficiently and takes less than five minutes.
A brief call into Zürich and a chance to see the trams and trolleybuses outside the main station.
Brienz Rothorn Bahn
Another day, another mountain! But first a ride on the very scenic line from Luzern to Meiringen.
Another rack railway to take me up the mountain, with excellent views, but this time the train is pushed by a steam engine, which had to work very hard on the one hour ride up. Due to the arrival of a coach party, two trains were run and you can see the other one ahead of us in a couple of these pictures. Surprisingly, the two oil-fired steam engines are less than twenty years old.
Needless to say, the views from the top at about 7,700 feet were wonderful.
On the way down we crossed an older engine on an upward working. Number 6 dates from 1933 but they have others going back to 1891.
Swiss pictures continue in Part II.