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European Railroad Discussion > Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn: Riding Through the Furka Base Tunnel


Date: 03/03/19 13:16
Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn: Riding Through the Furka Base Tunnel
Author: Milepost_130

Occasionally, when encountering a river, lake, bay or sea, our travels have included the need or desire to transport our car via a ferry. Until February, 2019, however, never have we been required to transport our car via a railway freight car.

While in Switzerland in February, 2019, I was required to travel from the northeast side of Furka Pass to the southwest side of this pass. During winter months, the road over Furka Pass is closed account deep snow.  Drivers wanting to negotiate Furka Pass when roads are closed are consequently required to transport their vehicles via the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, a meter-gauge electric railway, which makes the trip between Realp and Oberwald via the Furka Base Tunnel.  Opened in 1982, the Furka Base Tunnel is 9.6 miles in length.  The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn was created in 2003 through an amalgamation of Furka Oberalp Bahn and BVZ Zermatt-Bahn (source: Wikipedia).

Vehicles are loaded and unloaded at Realp and Oberwald, stations located at each end of the Furka Base Tunnel.

Upon arrival at one of the stations which offer vehicle loading and unloading facilities, drivers are first required to purchase a ticket from the station agent.  The ticket is then used to open the gate to the waiting area.

Loading and unloading of the vehicles was surprisingly efficient.  The trip from Realp to Oberwald was almost entirely within the tunnel itself.  The westbound trip required almost 30 minutes, as we were required to wait inside the tunnel on a passing track for an oncoming train.  The return, westbound trip, taken the following day, was non-stop, and required only about 15 minutes.

Several images follow:

Image 1: Automobiles waiting at the Realp station for the arrival of the next train to Oberwald.
Image 2: At Realp, the arrival of the train from Oberwald.
Image 3: At Realp, headed toward Oberwald, the view from my rental car.








Date: 03/03/19 14:17
Re: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn: Riding Through the Furka Base Tunne
Author: andersonb109

Fascinating operation. The original tracks over the pass were also closed seasonally. Here's a photo from part of that line bypassed by the Furka Base Tunnel from a charter in 2012. Location is Gletsch with the former location of the Rhone Glacier in the background.  




Date: 03/03/19 14:31
Re: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn: Riding Through the Furka Base Tunne
Author: boejoe

Nice shots.  Do you stay in your vehicle for the trip or relocate to a passenger coach? 



Date: 03/03/19 15:19
Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn: Riding Through the Furka Base Tunnel
Author: Milepost_130

During the trip through the Furka Base Tunnel, passengers remain in their vehicles.



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