In 1982, the Furka Oberalp railway replaced some of the most interesting rack railway trackage on this planet with a 14km long tunnel. As this stretch, high in the mountains, was very labour-intensive to maintain due to high snows (the catenary would have to come down for the winter, some bridges were dismantled, etc.) and only operational part of the year, it was abandoned. Over the years, the Furka Dampbahn (steam train) group has been restoring the line, albeit to operate with historic steam locomotives. Bit by bit, the entire line returned to operation, as a tourist railway. First trains operated from Realp just to the Furka tunnel, then later on to Gletsch. Now the entire former operation all the way to Oberward has been completed.
The one remaining bit, from Gletsch to Oberwald, finally went into service this June. It was originally scheduled to open in 2007 or so. Tourist steam trains now run the entire length from Realp to Oberwald, these days you need a reservation (easy enough to do on the Internet), round trip fare 2nd class is some CHF 121. This year, the DFB started running an extra Historic Diesel train originating in Oberwald which needs no reservation. You can even bring your bike on the train and ride down, there is a little car for bikes, skis, sports equipment, etc. The historic diesel train runs just from Oberward to Gletsch and the stop in Gletsch is agreeably short - enough time to see and film the steam train come and go, then go across the street and have lunch. Restaurant pretty good and only slightly overpriced. The historic diesel locomotive, although it looks quite modern, is from 1969 or so.
This stretch from Oberwald to Gletsch is itself rather interesting, it is rack all the way, plus just before Gletsch there is a beautiful small waterfall and rapids then a tunnel which ascends in a 340 or so degree spiral. Interestingly, there is a sprinkler system installed along the line, presumably for putting out the little bits of flaming cinders from the steam locomotives.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.