Sunday, 13 April 2014

swiss tragedy

Switzerland is generally regarded as being one of the most forward thinking countries in terms of transport, with a superb rail system reaching almost everywhere in the country. It's efficient and clean and does a superb job.

So how on earth did the Swiss ever allow a railway to close?

That's exactly what happened to the charming Sernftalbahn which ran from Schwanden to Elm in Canton Glarus in 1969.

It didn't close because it was losing money but simply because the military wanted to improve the road between the two towns. As the railway used the road for most of its right of way it had to go.

So Switzerland lost one of its most interesting railways and the towns and villages along the way were suddenly deprived of modern transport, not a great idea as the snowfalls in this area can be huge.

The line ran alongside country roads and through the heart of villages en route. It offered an excellent passenger and freight service the year round, and would surely be a huge tourist attraction if it still ran. There is a preservation/museum group and the line may of course return one day, but at the moment all is quiet along the valley.

A few other lines have closed in Switzerland, the Leuk-Leukerbadbahn was one. A few in Ticino also closed, the cantonal government there not being as forward-thinking as elsewhere in Switzerland. A few other short lines around Lake Geneva have also vanished, but generally most Swiss narrow gauge light railways are busier than ever and it would be hard to imagine many places without them.


  1. What an unworthy reason to kill a railway.

  2. This club saves the rest of this railway!

  3. But the Swiss military also backed the tunnel on the Furka-Oberalp Bahn, miles under the mountain with a side tunnel from it almost into Italy - never used since. Now there's your chance....:-)