Thursday, March 23, 2017

Montreux Circular


Funicular at Territet

The funicular trip to Glion

Glion-Montreux train (ex Rochers-de-Naye)

The view from the Buffer de Gare

The trip down from Glion to Montreux

Montreux station

(All pics 15.3.2017 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

We just spent a brilliant 3 days in Montreux, on Lake Geneva. On day one we did a short trip up the mountain, all was free using the City Card you get from the hotel. First stage was the short ride to Territet, although we could have gone by trolleybus. Then under the SBB station to the adjacent by separate funicular station. The funicular was waiting (there's one every 15 minutes) and we were soon climbing up the mountainside. The funicular station at the top (there is one intermediate station) was right next to the railway station. We quickly found the Buffet de Gare and spent nearly an hour there with cakes and beer before catching the next rack train down the mountain. After a nice run through the hillside old town of Montreux we reached the main station at Montreux. From there we had the choice of local train back to Territet, the trolleybus or a walk back. We chose the latter. In season there is also the option of a boat back to Territet pier.

All in all a nice two or three hours in unusual warmth and bright sunshine.

I took my very first Swiss photo back in Montreux in 1975. Rather than staying in a lovely four star hotel with a balcony overlooking the lake I'd been sleeping on the trains. Rather than a nice breakfast in the Buffet I'd had a loaf's worth of cheese sandwiches in my rucksack to keep me going for a week! Interrailing was fun but could be hard at times!

Shots from 1975

(All 20.7.1975 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

how to cope in snow

(All Villars 12.2.1988)

With Britain in disarray due to falls of snow it's nice to see how things should be done!

I was living in Leysin in winter 1988 and rarely left the village - it was all skiing and nights in the Vagabond - but one trip out was to Villars. We'd had a huge dump of snow which started the day before, so being British I assumed that trains would be delayed or cancelled. Or course they weren't. The snow was about four feet deep (fresh snow) and at times visibility was almost zero, but the whole journey, with four connections, went like clockwork.
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

aigle developments

(All 22/08/09)

I was surprised to find a whole new narrow gauge station had sprung up at Aigle, replacing the former pick up area in the station square. There are now separate platforms for each of the three narrow gauge routes.

The AOMC has also now lost it's street running section in Aigle and trains now follow the SBB main line for about a mile before regaining the original track.

Most of the old route is still clear although part of the street running track has vanished under new tarmac. The rest still exists, but on the roadside section only the crossings still have track. In one or two spots the old line has almost disappeared.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

the bernina railway

The train at St Moritz.

1st class luxury observation coach - fantastic!

Typical view from the window.

The return train at Tirano.

We made a fantastic trip from St Moritz to Tirano over the Bernina pass today.

The observation car on the down trip was incredible - hard to believe the line is metre gauge. We were shadowed most of the way to the summit by a helicopter filming the train. At the summit the snow cuttings were a good fifteen feet deep. After the summit we entered Italian Switzerland with the language, architecture and culture changing. The last mile or so is actually in Italy and is a former Italian tramway so runs through the streets, quite impressive with a 9 coach train!

At Tirano the Rhatische Bahn has its own station, next to the Italian State Railways standard gauge one. Customs and passport control consists of two genial Italian policeman standing by the front door of the station who just waved us and everyone else through with a smile. This will all finish in ten days' time when Switzerland joins the Schengen group and passport and customs control will stop altogether.

Tirano's a lovely small Italian city with nice shops, a great atmosphere, dozens of restaurants and all surrounded by towering mountains.

The train back was very different. A power unit pulling one coach. It was very congenial, we were sat with an American, his Croatian wife and Italian-speaking 6 year old son, and we chatted most of the way. All in all a great advertisement for both swiss trains and Alpine scenery, with the added benefit of a very nice Italian town at one end and the glistening Swiss number one resort at the other.

The scenery all the way is, needless to say, breathtaking!
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

St Moritz and Davos

Top three St Moritz, bottom Davos Platz - all taken today, 3.12.2008

It's great to be in Switzerland again!

We flew to Geneva from Bristol on Monday, then took trains over to St Moritz. Surprisingly all the trains were late or had problems - the line between Bergun and Preda was closed due to the avalanche risk. So we changed at Landquart and came via the Vereina Tunnel and the Engadine branch (all new territory to me). There was quite a lot of snow here!

Today we took a short trip on the now open line to Filisur and on to Davos Platz. Tomorrow it's the Berninabahn, then back to Geneva on Friday.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

excellent webcam

This webcam at Grindelwald was, until recently, pretty awful. But over the last few days it looks like they've revamped it and the new pics are superb. Today was fun watching a team of rail workers clearing the rack by shovel of the fresh snow before the trains came. Looks like they'll be doing the same tomorrow morning too!
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A few shots from Switzerland's narrowest gauge line from 1987.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BVB on Bex webcam

This is the view from the Bex webcam. In the foreground is the Place du Marche halt on the Bex Villars Bretaye line. Twice an hour you'll see a BVB train appear! The webcam refreshes every few seconds so it's almost real time ...

Some shots from 1987 of the tramway style route through Bex. The line eventually ends high in the Alps, using several rack sections.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

mystery location

Spotted on the Swiss Camion webcam today is this intriguing location which appears to be a double track standard gauge industrial line worked by a yellow diesel somewhere in the Aarau area. Any ideas? I love the avalanche shelter over one of the lines which seems a little excessive, even in Switzerland!
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