Kathi’s Swiss Rail Adventure, part 3: A little more fanning and a ride on a funicular

Posted by Kathi Kube
on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Swiss funicular

Earlier in my trip to Switzerland, I had enjoyed train rides through the countryside, a ride in a cable car, a zipline, a trottie bike, and an amazing journey to Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe.

On this day, we slowed down a bit and visited Harder Kulm, which is very near Interlaken Ost. (In fact, my first day wandering around the station, I found the tracks not knowing what they were, just amazed they seemed to travel nearly vertically right up the mountain.

Swiss Railways

All week the weather had been dreary and rainy in the valley and snowy in the mountains. This day was no different, except that it was perhaps snowier at a lower elevation. Oh well. It was Switzerland! It's supposed to snow there.

The cars are actually designed on this steep incline, since they only go up and down this particular line. It looked odd at first glance, but provided a great view for all.

Harderbahn

Basically, electricity provides the power for the cables to pull the cars up the incline and return them safely.

Harderbahn

 

Harderbahn

The cars passed each other midway as they ascended or descended but the rest of the twisting route was single-tracked with bridges and even a tunnel.

Harderbahn

Harderbahn

 

But once again, clouds overtook us at the higher elevations, so I quickly took a photo of the view into the valley that is Interlaken before we were swallowed in clouds again.

Interlaken

The summit is Harder Kulm, and it includes a lovely restaurant with a porch overlooking the view. Which, the waitress told us, is really incredible. When you aren't coated in snow and clouds and can actually see it. Sigh. Once, more, I'll definitely need to go back and actually see these views of the Alps that the snow and clouds were determined to keep from me.

This sign provides details about the funicular. As far as I can understand, it's telling us the funicular was built in 1908, and it's about meter gauge (3.28 feet). It uses 380 volts electricity and is 1,447 meters (nine-tenths of a mile) long with seven bridges totaling 293 meters (about 961 feet), and one tunnel 208 meters (682 feet) long. The difference in elevation between Interlaken and Harder Kulm is 739 meters (just shy of half a mile), and to get there, the funicular travels at a maximum 64 percent grade.




Finally, I had a little more time for railfanning before dinner with the tour group.

Swiss Railways

Next up: Pilatus Bahn

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