High altitude engineering

Switzerland is not a large country.  Its population even today is under 8.5 million people, which is only slightly greater than London.

One thing which can be said most definitely about this country though is that what it lacks in people, it makes up in ambition.  That is especially the case when it comes to building projects.  Tunnels, bridges and railways abound throughout the country.

Here in the Jungfrau region, we have one of the most impressive projects imaginable, the nine kilometre railway from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch, running in a large switchback through the Eiger mountain.  It took more than sixteen years to build, at the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century.

Now in the twenty-first century, work is well underway to add to that railway.  It has for the last hundred years been a long trip to Eigerletscher, the point on the mountain close to the start of the tunnel.  Soon that journey will be shortened by a gondala, the cars departing every 40 seconds, each with 27 people on board.  So at the moment, with construction going apace, we have not only the highest railway station in Europe at the Jungfraujoch but, quite probably, Europe’s highest tower crane at the top of the Eigernordwand chair lift.

Crane near the top of Europe

Of course, this has benefits for skiers as well. It will be possible to ski from Eigernordwand to Grund, below Grindelwald, and return in, well, next to no time.  As a bonus, the “V Bahn” will have a second limb to Mannlichen, making the long ski from there to Grund an enticing prospect.  What’s not to like, as they say.

Another sunny day brought 9,863 vertical metres in 21 lift rides with 51 kilometres travelled.

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