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“The Furka Experience is now complete”

Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway
Attraction details
Level Contributor
346 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“The Furka Experience is now complete”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2013

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.

Visited August 2013
4 Thank Electroburger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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35 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Expensive but Great Day Out”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2013 via mobile

We booked the trip over email a few months back, and paid on the day. We travelled from Realp to Gletsch by steam then changed to diesel down the hill.
Only thing to be aware of is the train leaves from a seperate station in Realp which is about 10 minutes walk from the MGB one.
We had reserved seats in the front coach, the guard even came down to tell us what was going on as we were the only non German speakers on the train, this was a very nice touch.
The train stopped at Furka for about 20 minutes and we sampled some excellent cake and cheese.
The trip was very expensive 146sfr for the pair of us for a single ticket, but well worth it.

Visited August 2013
3 Thank NeiKat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“When in the Goms this is a 'must visit'!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 January 2013

We have made several visits to this wonderful little restored railway service. It lies high in the Swiss Alps between Oberwald and Realp, replacing what was the mainline traffic which now dissappears into a tunnel, missing the superb Furka Pass Scenery.
Our first visit caused the Tourist Information Service of Interlaken a great deal of wonderment. We had found something they hadn't heard of! Luckily a young lad at the Wilderswil TIO had, so we were able to make the necessary bookings. An early start from Wilderswil to Meiringen, a full coach from Meiringen to Gletsch and a dash for the train and we made a full day excursion on this magical railway. Ran by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, this makes the best kind of attraction!
When you consider that the engines were first built in the very early 20th Century for varying cog railways in Switzerland, then sold to Vietnam and latterly found deep in the jungle and recovered to Winterthur for rebuilds this must be the greatest little railway in the world!
Our latest trip involved an early cablecar from Bettmeralp near Brig, the reglio train (running up between the posher Glacier Expresses) to Oberwald in the Upper Goms, the change to the Furka Damphbahn here into the valley at Gletsch and the super run up through the old summit tunnel and down to Realp where we first had a nice meal in the old carriage Diner serenaded by the Station Master and his accordian! Changed to the main line, just a short walk, and onto 'new tunnel' car carrier back to Oberwald and back down to Betten on the reglio, then the cablecar to our rented chalet-apartment on the shelf of land known as Bettmeralp. In all a superb day out!
The dates that this railway attraction runs is very tight in the year, mainly just part of July, August and a section of September, due to the high alpine weather, so be sure to get your holiday timing right. Avoid a massive disappointment!!!

Visited August 2012
3 Thank Rumbald
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
83 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“a step back in time”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2012

For anyone who loves scenery or riding behind steam engines this is a real must.
The journey from Realp to Oberwald, along the Furka Pass, has it all - excellent scenery - including the Rhone Glacier, spotless engines and carriages and polite, enthusiastic staff.
Throw in a stop for refreshments at Furka ( with the opportunity to buy local produce as well) and you have a perfect day out.
However, as the railway only runs for about 72 days a year (owing to snow etc) advance booking is absolutely necessary for the full journey trains - so don't just turn up and expect to travel. We booked in April for a trip in September.
Don't forget to take your camera !

Visited September 2012
1 Thank mad_mikeManchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
257 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 200 helpful votes
“Beautiful old steam engine”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 August 2012

We had a comfortable journey by Swiss Rail way starting from Zurich Central via Arth-Goldau-Göschenen and to Realp where we got on that beautiful old railway train. The perfectly polished and well oiled old locomotive engine was just a dream for those who are interested in steam engines. The journey up to Gletsch was very impressive but the famous Glacier du Rhone was no longer to be seen. It was a rather ugly sight of sand and rocks unfortunately and it showed us dramatically how the climate had been changing. You can only imagine how it used to be by looking at old picture postcards. The stretch from Glesch to Oberwald was one of the most impressive train trips I ever had. After the lunch, during which we enjoyed local specialties, we took the same stretch back to Realp but it was not boring at all e.g. the Sun was shining differently. The round trip ticket for this particular railway only costs much, e.g. CHF 121.- (in July 2012) for a 2nd class ticket but after the trip I would say, it is really worth paying!.

Visited July 2012
3 Thank VincentePaulo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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