The Gornergrat Mountain Railway runs for just
less than six miles from the pretty town of Zermatt to the summit
of the Gornergrat some 10,135ft above sea level. It is the highest
railway in Europe to run and mostly in the open air
(the Jungfrau Railway runs to a higher point but
is predominantly in a tunnel).
The journey on the Gornergrat Mountain
Railway begins as the electric train leaves Zermatt and
begins its ascent - eventually overcoming a height difference of
4,873ft across the route. Crossing over the Findelbach River, the
train soon reaches its first intermediate station in Findelbach.
The cogwheel mechanism is then put to use as the line continues
climbing sharply. The railway passes through a series of short,
curved tunnels to gain height amongst the imposing mountain
landscape, before arriving at Riffelalp station. This idyllic
hamlet boasts wonderful vistas over the towns lower in the valley.
From here the journey commences across an increasingly dramatic
landscape; the line twists and turns through the rocky crags on its
upward path. The train then passes through the freight station at
Riffelberg and ascends past other mountain peaks - often covered
with snow at this altitude - to reach Rotenboden, and ultimately
the summit station of Gornergrat. With views over 29 other
mountains in the Alps, the panorama is often tremendous.