Another big day today.
I’ve diagnosed the issue, it was my laptop being out of space on the C: Drive due to temporary files. I’ve got a backlog of photos to edit and upload.
Today was the day, the Glacier Express. One of the key reasons I came Switzerland was to do this train journey after seeing footage of it online. The slowest express train in the world takes 8 hours to get from St Moritz to Zermatt, a distance of around 160km. It winds its way along the Rhone to Visp and then turns to follow the Matter Vispa towards the Matterhorn.
For me, I was catching the Chur to Zermatt leg of the journey, still 6 hours of the 8 hour journey. The downside was that I was going to be on the isle, but hey, at least I had a seat.
I jumped on the bus at the hotel and made my way around to the station. Bought a couple of souvenirs for the Bernina and Glacier Express and sat in the station for a while as I was there early. I think I finally figured out that this artwork is the Rhaetian Canton in blue, and the country Switzerland in red.
I headed up to the platform early as there wasn’t really much else happening and found a service with Camera Panorama cars.
Needed those on the Bernina Express with everyone fighting for time with the small opening windows we had. The SBB conductor (who double as the train’s ticket inspectors) was using a pole to whack the brakes of this particular train. When I asked what the purpose behind this process was, she explained it was to ensure the brakes were aligned with the wheels as the turns and bumps of the railways sometimes knock them out of alignment. They just use the pole to check if it’s completely broken or just needs a light tap back into alignment. I assume if any of the brakes are completely broken they would need to take the carriage out of service for repairs.
That train left (on schedule of course, we are in Switzerland). And the display updated to show the train to Zermatt. A few moments later the train arrived and those of us joining the journey at Chur were able to jump on board. I was boarding carriage 22 (though it wasn’t actually 22 carriages long) with an isle seat facing away from the direction of travel. Possibly the worst of seating positions one could get.
Interestingly though, the two window seats that were booked, were never occupied. The woman sitting opposite me asked if I was travelling with people, I said no I’m on my own and so we both took the opportunity to sidle over to the window seats. That’s a score but I am left to wonder who would book first class seats on this train that ends up being worth about $300 and then not turn up for it? Unless there was a medical emergency that prevented me from being there, I was 100% boarding that train for how much it cost.
For the next 6 hours we wound our way through the Swiss Alps along the Rhone valley. Crossing multiple times and making a few stops along the way to get out and stretch our legs (and take a lot of photos).
At just before 6pm we arrived in Zermatt. The ride up the Matter Vispa line included various sections of rack rail to assist the trains in getting up and down the steep grades. I had a short walk up the main street to the hotel and got checked in before taking a quick walk around the town and grabbing a bite to eat from one of the many cafe’s.
I’ll leave you with the photo of Binny in front of the latest stop on our adventure.