2022-09-09 Furkabahn

Route Furka  -->  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/Furka Base Tunnel"  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. DSC03331  -->  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). DSC03333  --> DSC03336b  -->  in full splendor
DSC03337  -->  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 It was withdrawn in 1941 and put on on display in Chur until 1988.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 DSC03339  -->  On the way from Realp to Gletsch over the Furkapass we managed to get a glimpse of the famous Glacier express. DSC03340  --> DSC03345  -->
DSC03361  -->  A striking train in a wonderful landscape DSC03362  --> P1081665 (2)  -->  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. DSC03363  -->  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.
DSC03373  --> DSC03372  -->  In Gletsch we found the steam locomotive of the day simmering before its shed. DSC03374  --> DSC03375  -->
DSC03376  --> DSC03377  -->  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) DSC03381  -->  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. DSC03384  -->  Moving forward
DSC03387  -->  Taking water DSC03389  -->  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. Gletsch oud  -->  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 1970-gletsch-mit-rhonegletscher  -->  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.
DSC03391  -->  That said we turn our attention the proceedings in the station. The locomotive's watertanks are being topped up. DSC03393  --> DSC03397  --> DSC03400  -->
DSC03401  --> DSC03398  --> DSC03399  --> DSC03402  -->  The lids are closed
DSC03403  --> DSC03404  --> DSC03405  --> DSC03407  -->
DSC03408  -->  Some oiling and greasing DSC03409  --> DSC03410  --> DSC03411  -->
DSC03412  --> DSC03413  --> DSC03414  --> DSC03415  -->
DSC03416  -->  Ready to move on DSC03418  --> DSC03419  --> DSC03420  -->
DSC03428  -->  On a side spur awaiting for the diesel hauled train from Oberwald to arrive. In the background the winding road up the Grimselpass DSC03430  --> DSC03441  --> DSC03442  -->  Time for some more checkups.
DSC03443  -->  Here comes the cavalry! DSC03444  --> DSC03450  --> DSC03453  -->
DSC03456  -->  Uncoupled and also directd to a side spur. Time for steam to take charge! DSC03459  --> DSC03486  -->  Diesel on the retreat. Returning to Oberwald light engine DSC03492  -->
DSC03493  -->  And I turned to the road crossing at the Realp side exit of the station to catch the train leaving the station ... DSC03494  -->  ..  and moving onto the rack section. DSC03499  -->  The train pulled out of the station ... DSC03510  -->  ... 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
DSC03511  -->  I waited DSC03514  -->  and waited DSC03515  -->  and waited DSC03516  -->  There was no sign of any sort of obvious activity
DSC03518  -->  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. DSC03520  -->  One last view. Bye bye, we enjoyed it nonetheless.