1 The same day we visited the depot in Erstfeld we travelled on to Realp (right top) and Gletsch to meet the Furka steam train. The Furka Steam Railway has an interesting story. After de (a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FurkaBaseTunnel" target = "_blank">Furka Base tunnel from Oberwald to Realp (in red on the map) was openend in 1982 the arduous line over the Furkapass (yellow) was abandoned. Enthusiasts however succesfully battled to get the line reopened and even managed to repatriate some of the original steam locomotives from Vietnam. Since then it is a magnet for tourists.
2 I managed to get a few shots in the depot at Realp, but I had only little time because we had to get to Gletsch for the departure of the steam train. This HG 3/4 no 1 (duh, it says so) "Furkahorn". Built in 1913 and one of the original locos to work on this line. Sold to Vietnam in 1947 and repatriated in 1990 and subsequently restored to running order. See the film of the repatriation (in German).
4 in full splendor
5 HG 2/3 no 6 (1902) was not an original loco as it was built for the neighbouring Visp-Zermatt railway. It was withdrawn in 1941 and put on on display in Chur until 1988. I must have a photo of it from back in the seventies. It is now restored to running order
6 On the way from Realp to Gletsch over the Furkapass we managed to get a glimpse of the famous Glacier express.
9 A striking train in a wonderful landscape
11 On the border of the kantons Uri and Wallis (Valais) on the Furkapass. In the background under my armpit the road up to the Grimselpass.
12 On the right the Furkapass road. In the distance the Grimsel pass road. On the left you can see the line of the steam railway descend towards Gletsch and cross the Furkapass road.
14 In Gletsch we found the steam locomotive of the day simmering before its shed.
18 HG 3/4 no 9 "Gletschhorn" is also a loco that returned from the far east (built 1914, sold to Vietnam 1947, return to Switzerland in 1990)
19 The man walking to the loco told what was going to happen: the steam loco would come forward to a side spur, a diesel hauled train would come up from Oberwald and enter the station, the diesel loco would then uncouple and run round and return light engine to Oberwald, the steam loco would reverse onto its train and then leave for Realp. This pre[ared us for the things to come.
20 Moving forward
21 Taking water
22 In a stunning landscape. Gletsch never fails to impress me. Although the town itself is a heap of dead hotels, glory lost in time, its surroundings are awesome. The Rhone glacier used to lay quite close to the boarded up hotel on this photo. Nowadays the glacier is not even visible, hidden the ridge left above the hotel.
23 An photo made from almost the same spot. Udated but before 1940 as the line was electrified during WWII. It shows how far the glacier reached down in the 1930s
24 And this postcard from 1970 still shows the glacier hanging over the ridge. This is how I remember it from my 1970-1980 holidays in Switzerland. The postcard also show a regular Furka-Oberalp Bahn train leaving the station towards Andermatt in a time when the old line was still in commercial use.
25 That said we turn our attention the proceedings in the station. The locomotive's watertanks are being topped up.
32 The lids are closed
37 Some oiling and greasing
45 Ready to move on
49 On a side spur awaiting for the diesel hauled train from Oberwald to arrive. In the background the winding road up the Grimselpass
52 Time for some more checkups.
53 Here comes the cavalry!
57 Uncoupled and also directd to a side spur. Time for steam to take charge!
59 Diesel on the retreat. Returning to Oberwald light engine
61 And I turned to the road crossing at the Realp side exit of the station to catch the train leaving the station ...
62 .. and moving onto the rack section.
63 The train pulled out of the station ...
64 ... and stopped short of the road crossing. Flashing lights, sounding sirens. And then all stopped. Everything went silent. The loco stood there for five, ten minutes. And then backed the train into the station again
65 I waited
66 and waited
67 and waited
68 There was no sign of any sort of obvious activity
69 After half an hour waiting our time was running out. So we decided to to leave and continue our journey towards Saas-Balen. It was a deception no to have seen the train leave, but hey, that's life.
70 One last view. Bye bye, we enjoyed it nonetheless.