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European Railroad Discussion > Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?


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Date: 04/07/22 03:59
Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

I'm coming down from Amsterdam to zermatt and was looking at doing Lauterbrunnen instead of the Glacier express since I have already done the Bernina Express... what do you think would be the best... I would have a half day hiking in Lauterbrunnen vs all day on the Glacier express.

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/22 04:00 by goduckies.



Date: 04/07/22 04:19
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: Train29

If you choose the Glacier Express route, take a combination of local trains instead. The train marked as the Glacier Express is nothing more than a tourist trap with cramped 2x2 seating and huge glass windows that don't open. The local trains have 2x1 seating in first class and windows that open. Great for photography. Number of train changes required depends on how much of the route you are covering. All are easy across the platform changes, 



Date: 04/07/22 07:56
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: Jeff

The Glacier Express was the worst ride I had anywhere in Switzerland.  Cattle car seating and crowding. Food was so-so at best.  Jeff



Date: 04/07/22 11:34
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: rfdatalink

I have not been on the RHB, so I cannot comment there.   I have spent a few days in Lauterbrunnen,and very much enjoyed riding photographing trains there.    
Lauterbrunnen–Mürren Mountain Railway
Bernese Oberland Railway

So don't think that you won't have good railroad opportunities in Lauterbrunnen.

Stephen



Date: 04/07/22 17:34
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: birdman

Take the cable car at Lauterbrunnen (across the street from the station) to the top and transfer to the railcar.  Ride to Murren - a beautiful little village with no vehicle traffic.  Walk back to the cable car station on the hiking path that parallels the railcar right of way.  It's not that far of a walk, it's a level path, and the views of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains are spectacular.  



Date: 04/07/22 19:15
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

birdman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Take the cable car at Lauterbrunnen (across the
> street from the station) to the top and transfer
> to the railcar.  Ride to Murren - a beautiful
> little village with no vehicle traffic.  Walk
> back to the cable car station on the hiking path
> that parallels the railcar right of way.  It's
> not that far of a walk, it's a level path, and the
> views of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains
> are spectacular.  


Sounds awesome

Posted from Android



Date: 04/07/22 20:17
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: BobB

The one thing I missed during my 15 day rail tour of the Swiss Alps was getting out and hiking into the mountains.  The views from the trains are great, but you're isolated in your rail car.  So I'd say do the hiking, preferably on paths that have few people on them (if there are any such in the Swiss Alps) and that are as strenuous as you are comfortable doing.  I expect that you'll experience the mountains in a much closer way.



Date: 04/07/22 21:05
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: railsmith

goduckies Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm coming down from Amsterdam to zermatt and was
> looking at doing Lauterbrunnen instead of the
> Glacier express since I have already done the
> Bernina Express... what do you think would be the
> best... I would have a half day hiking in
> Lauterbrunnen vs all day on the Glacier express.

From Lauterbrunnen, take the Wengernalpbahn (WAB) train up to Kleine Scheidegg and hike around there. You can combine hiking with rail photography, and you'll see the metre-gauge Jungfraubahn as well as the 800-mm WAB

For your return, you can take the WAB back to Lauterbrunnen and then BOB to Interlaken Ost, or continue on the WAB down to Grindelwald and catch the BOB to Interlaken Ost from there. I'd recommend the latter.

I spent two hours around Kleine Scheidegg in late September 2019 and was able to capture some fine views. Both attached here were shot from the station and would be possible even in snow conditions, but in early fall I was able to walk around as well.

The first shot shows a WAB train departing Kleine Scheidegg for Grindelwald, with the Eiger looming above.

The second shows a Jungfraubahn train approaching Kleine Scheidegg, having descended from the Top of Europe attraction on the Jungfraujoch (saddle), which is visible just to the left of center in this shot.
 



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/22 21:16 by railsmith.






Date: 04/07/22 23:37
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

Looks amazing I will be there late may

Posted from Android



Date: 04/08/22 00:08
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: railsmith

goduckies Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Looks amazing I will be there late may
 
Great time for it -- you'll be able to hike around without any problem. You'll notice hikers in the second photo, above the train.

One hiking option is simply to follow the WAB downhill toward Lauterbrunnen from Kleine Scheidegg or from the next stop at Wengernalp.  There are trails very close to the line.

But be sure to do the Lauterbrunnen-Wengen section by train in at least one direction. There are spectacular views looking down into the narrow valley when the train is near Wengen, as below.

In this view, the train has just departed Wengen, going downhill. Lauterbrunnen in just out of frame in the lower right corner. Murren is on top of the steep escarpment at right, at the level of the heavily forested area, and "around the corner" from the view seen here.  If you only have half-a-day free while here, you'd have to choose between Murren and the ride up to Kleine Scheidegg.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/22 01:03 by railsmith.




Date: 04/08/22 02:50
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

I adjusted my schedule for a full day and a few hours the day before too. What would you do the day before vs the full day? I'd be getting in 5ish

Posted from Android



Date: 04/08/22 06:37
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: railsmith

goduckies Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I adjusted my schedule for a full day and a few
> hours the day before too. What would you do the
> day before vs the full day? I'd be getting in 5ish

That's a smart move. If you're going to spend the full day on the WAB and do some hiking, you could use that first evening to take the gondola from Lauterbrunnen up to Grutschalp (about 4-minute ride, base is very close to station) and then ride from Grutschalp to Murren (12 minutes) on the metre-gauge BLM. Have a walk around Murren (a car-less village), and then return (in my 2019 timetable, last departure from Murren was at 19:58 as of May 25, but 18:58 before that date). The gondola and train times are closely coordinated, and the combined journey is 20 minutes.

I didn't go there, so no photos from me, but googling Bergbahn-Lauterbrunnen-Murren will get you some pix. The mid-sixties rolling stock will soon be replaced.

Alternatively, ride up from Lauterbrunnen on the WAB to Wengen (another car-less village) in 12 minutes, have a walk around (and possibly a meal), then descend back to Lauterbrunnen.. But you'd be duplicating that ride the next day when you go up to Kleine Scheidegg.  Between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen is considered part of the transport system for locals, so it operates past midnight.

Here's a view of Wengen from a train descending from Kleine Scheidegg. If you look closely at the lower left corner, you can just make out yellow trains in the station.

BTW, the WAB is 19.1 km long, making it the world's longest continuous rack railway.

 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/22 18:27 by railsmith.




Date: 04/08/22 18:20
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: boejoe

Correction: I see three yellow cars on left side of photo.



Date: 04/08/22 18:27
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: railsmith

boejoe Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Correction: I see three yellow cars on left side
> of photo.

Thanks. I've corrected the error.



Date: 04/09/22 02:16
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

railsmith Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> goduckies Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Looks amazing I will be there late may
>  
> Great time for it -- you'll be able to hike around
> without any problem. You'll notice hikers in the
> second photo, above the train.
>
> One hiking option is simply to follow the WAB
> downhill toward Lauterbrunnen from Kleine
> Scheidegg or from the next stop at Wengernalp. 
> There are trails very close to the line.
>
> But be sure to do the Lauterbrunnen-Wengen section
> by train in at least one direction. There are
> spectacular views looking down into the narrow
> valley when the train is near Wengen, as below.
>
> In this view, the train has just departed Wengen,
> going downhill. Lauterbrunnen in just out of frame
> in the lower right corner. Murren is on top of the
> steep escarpment at right, at the level of the
> heavily forested area, and "around the corner"
> from the view seen here.  If you only have
> half-a-day free while here, you'd have to choose
> between Murren and the ride up to Kleine
> Scheidegg.
>  

So I can take the train up and hike down? About how long is the hike?

Posted from Android



Date: 04/09/22 03:15
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

Also should I get the Swiss pass since I have to get to zermatt and ha br a full day there too? Looks like the Jungfrau pass is better since it covers all travel in that area. May need to get both.

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/22 03:50 by goduckies.



Date: 04/09/22 03:42
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: railsmith

goduckies Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> > railsmith Wrote:
> > One hiking option is simply to follow the WAB
> > downhill toward Lauterbrunnen from Kleine
> > Scheidegg or from the next stop at
> > Wengernalp. There are trails very close to the line.

goduckies Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So I can take the train up and hike down? About
> how long is the hike?

I had to use Google Earth to get an answer. From Kleine Scheidegg down to Wengen is 6.7 km, taking exactly 90 minutes, on what is called the Eiger Ultra Trail. Of course, that is a continuous walk, not stopping for photography of trains or mountain scenery.

I couldn't get an intelligent answer from Google Earth for the final Wengen to Lauterbrunnen section.  But using Street View, I explored the original 25%-grade right-of-way that was superseded in 1910 by the current route, which has five tunnels but "only" an 18% grade.  As it happens my Street View search landed beside a signpost on that old grade near the Wengen end which stated Lauterbrunnen was a 45-minute downhill walk, and the current Wengen station was 10 minutes uphill, so about an hour all told.

The old alignment continued in use until 2007 for freight and deadhead movements, but now you can apparently walk it.  The junction of the old and current r-o-w is just west of Wengen station. The old route is much higher than the current line, so you wouldn't be getting any train photos on that stretch, until the alignments converge on the apporach to Lauterbrunnen, south of the town centre and station.



Date: 04/09/22 04:06
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: railsmith

goduckies Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Also should I get the Swiss pass since I have to
> get to zermatt and ha br a full day there too?

That's a toss up.

The Swiss Travel Pass will get you a free ride on the BOB from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen since that is considered part of the main rail network, and I believe it covers the WAB from Lauterbrunnen up to Wengen because that is used by locals for transport. But on the rest of the WAB, the Swiss Travel Pass gets you only a 25% discount.

The Swiss Pass would also have covered your trip from the Swiss border to Interlaken on your way to Lauterbrunnen.

It would cover your trip from Lauterbrunnen to Zermatt.  I assume you will ride the Gornergratbahn while there, and the Swiss Pass would get you a 50% discount on that.

And the Swiss Pass will cover your journey from Zermatt to the border of whatever country you are going to next.

An alternative is the Eurailpass, which is much cheaper pound-for-pound because it only covers rail travel on the national networks, not city buses, trams,lake boats, etc. as the Swiss Pass does

Comparing with the above, the Eurailpass would also cover your inbound trip to Interlaken and it would also have covered all of your trip from Amsterdam.

With the Eurailpass, you'd have to pay for the BOB trip to Lauterbrunnen, with a 25% discount, and you'd also get a 25% discount on the WAB.

The Eurailpass would then cover your onward travel to Zermatt, but you would have to pay full fare on the Gornergratbahn, which is one of the most expensive tourist lines in Switzerland. It cost me about $135 Canadian (98 Swiss francs) when I did it in 2019 because I was traveling on a Eurailpass and got no discount.

Assuming you are doing a fair amount of rail travel in other countries, you're probably best to opt for the Eurailpass.  




 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/22 04:08 by railsmith.



Date: 04/09/22 08:15
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

Right now I'm thinking of flying from zurich to Barcelona... where I start a cruise. I was going to take a train from zermatt to Barcelona on Friday the 27th if may, but none show available yet, so I may also do the Glacier express route, but not on that train. Only to chur though. And I would be coming in from cdg so there to basel is the only non Swiss trains....

Posted from Android



Date: 04/09/22 08:44
Re: Glacier express or hiking in Lauterbrunnen?
Author: goduckies

Also will be taking the train via luzern to interlaken instead of Bern from basel as it looks more beautiful. I see the connection of one minute is that doable?

Posted from Android



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