Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 9: Reichenbach Falls; and Furka Pass

Today started out as a ride on a chartered Grindelwald bus. The coach was a setra of some sort and our path took us on some very narrow back roads over the grosse Schidegg which are only used by the locals and the Grindelwald bus (who has the local post bus contract). These roads are barely big enough for a 35ft coach and have a lot of blind curves. Our Grindelwald bus was equipped with a Swiss postal bus horn as well.

Dr. Moriarty died. Although a brief stop it was fun to see. After that we went for a walk through the narrow Aare River Gorge. This walkway is built out over the river and through tunnels. It’s quite impressive to walk through it narrows up through the canyon.

After that we went on a steam train ride over the original Furka pass from Oberwalp to Realp. This line was built as a steam powered line and electrified in the 1930s to a line in Vietnam. This line was replaced with the Furka base tunnel in the early 80s and was mothballed. A group of volunteers rebuilt and reactivated line after it had closed, and even located the locomotives that were sent to Vietnam and hadn’t been used since WWII started.

The steam train ride also has shuttles that are operated by an outfit that has old restored post buses. There were two or three buses used for the shuttle, all looked to be good shape and running in service for this shuttle.

The train we rode today was pulled by one of those locomotives that were rescued from Vietnam and rebuilt and restored to use. The ride was fun; it was slow as it was mostly on cog. After the steam train ride we took a regular Matterhorn gotthard bahn train from Realp to Andermatt, we had a reserved coach for this 20 minute stretch. At Andermatt we went to change trains however the train we changed to did not have a first class car, but we finally saw the MGB crew switching the coach off our previous train onto the new one. After that small fiasco we got to Disentis/Muster where we got dinner on a chartered "glacier express" diner on the Rhatische Bahn. The dinner was a catered meal and I passed on it. The car was nice, it was an articulated diner built in the 30s but it had been modernized over the years. After that we arrived at Chur and got checked into the hotel.

RhB Train at Chur

Damphfbahn Furka bergstrecke at Ferka DFB

The Aareschlucht

One of the restored Postal Buses used on the shuttles for
the DFB operated by

The Aareschlucht

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