Published: June 26th 2011June 24th 2011
Pilatus Bahn Station
The Pilatus Railway Station at Alpnachstad
The weather is reasonably clear. Good enough for a journey to Mt Pilatus. We took the train to Meirengen/Lucern which goes over the Brunigg Pass and on down to Lake Lucern. We got off the train at Alpnachstad where the cog railway to Pilatus leaves from. Many people thought the engineer who put forward the idea of building a railway up this mountain was crazy. I think he was too. It was built in 1889 and was steam until 1939. It is the steepest cog railway in the world and has a 48% gradient. It is 4.6km long and virtually goes straight up the steep mountain side to 2132m. The journey takes half an hour and is an absolute wonder. We all see pictures of the Schilthorn - well, this is like putting a railway up there. Nuts. You arrive up there with the hoards and disembark in a brand new station on a high ridge dropping away on all sides.
It was very cold and we soon had all of our reserve clothes on despite it being a day of high cloud but otherwise quite clear around the mountains.
The view out over the mountain tops, Lake Lucern
Trains up Mt Pilatus
Note the two trains and the station at the top of Mt Pilatus. This is not the steepest part of the train line either.
and the lowlands of northern Switzerland is spectacular. There are numerous view points up there. We took a half hour trail along the mountain side which did have a railing but dropped straight down. For most people it is fine but the feeling of being suspended in the air with large drops straight down was a bit much for me. Narrow paths are fine but like a horse, sometimes I need blinkers..... Linds continued on to the end of the ridge to see the views from there.
After spending some time looking about we took the long gondola cable way back down to Kriens which is a suburb of Lucern. Another bus took us to the Lucern main railway station and by 5pm we were headed back home to Grindelwald. A 2 hour journey because of the grind up the Brunigg Pass and then slowly down to Meirengen.
This trip is well worth the effort if time and weather permits. It really is a treat and made more interesting by hikers and bikers staggering up the zig-zag path or slithering back down it. Viewing the train from afar makes the feat of engineering seem even more astounding. These Swissies sure do know how to put structures up mountains, on top of mountains, or straight through them.