5-11-2015

Glacier Express

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This was a very special run of the Glacier Express, celebrating 75 years of operation


For the occasion, Crocodile 412 made its first public appearance after being painted blue to match the Alpine Classic Pullman Express coaches


The Crocodile is pulling into St. Moritz fresh from its remodeling at the Samedan maintenance shops


Since we would be departing in the other direction, it was uncoupled from the coaches so that it could be driven around to the other side


The baggage car


The RhB provided our gracious host who entertained us with Glacier Express history throughout the trip



The coaches were restored to their original elegant condition just a few years earlier



We peeked into the Gourmino dining car where we would be enjoying a gourmet meal in just a few hours


Everyone is onboard, and ready to begin the nine hour trip from St. Moritz to Zermatt


We're finally on the way. The red car just behind the engine was a restored antique coach. We didn't get a chance to ride in it as the baggage car blocked the way











Now there's a happy camper!


Some of the beautiful woodwork in our coach




There's a webcam at Filisur. I tried to wave at it while taking this blurred photo to prove I had been there








We're on the siding, waiting for a train to emerge from the tunnel. There are 91 tunnels and 291 bridges on the Glacier Express route between St. Moritz and Zermatt!




Once again our engine is being uncoupled and moved to the other end of the train so that we can leave in the opposite direction


This gives us an opportunity to examine the train in the mid-afternoon sun



The antique coach. At the far right, our blue Crocodile can be seen approaching



We're on the way again





We have arrived in Disentis, elevation 3,700 feet, the terminus of the RhB. Our engineer bids us farewell


Our new locomotive is from the MGB (Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn) formed by the 2003 merger of the BVZ (Brig Visp Zermatt) and the FO (Furka Oberalp). However, it still carries FO markings


The FO locomotive has a cogwheel drive which is needed to tackle the 11% grades ahead. Just out of the station, the engine latched onto the cog rail with a jarring "clang"




The highest elevation on this route is 6,670 feet at the Oberalp Pass







We will be using the cog track below in a couple of minutes



In case you're wondering about the elaborate windows at each end of the coaches, they are in the toilets!







We have arrived in Brig, where we had about an hour to look around the town before we were to proceed on the last leg of the trip to Zermatt


The large station at Brig gives us another opportunity examine the train


I wonder if any of these "mountain climber" locomotives will ever be painted blue


We stretched our legs in Brig for a while






Back at the railway station, I had an opportunity to inspect the cab of the locomotive. A full set of wrenches are on the wall; I hoped they wouldn't be needed


The locomotive was built in 1948. But we wouldn't be using it again. An unprecedented problem had occurred; power on the entire Swiss railway system failed as we reboarded the train


As there was no way to know when power would return, the crew rolled out a baggage cart with champagne (of course) followed by more hor d'oeuvres


After a couple of hours, we were put on a bus to Zermatt. Power was out for four hours, and nearly 100 trains had been trapped in tunnels