This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Winding through the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland, the Lauterbrunnen-Murren Mountain Railway – a hybrid cable car and rail line – provides rail service to Murren, a resort village situated above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. With limited road access to the village, the Railway offers a safe – and scenic – mode of transportation for passengers and goods.
Opened in 1891, the Railway took two years to build before it was ready for public use. That year, the Railway’s grand opening was scheduled for June but was pushed back to August due to a derailment. Despite its rocky start, the Railway has successfully operated for over 100 years, even incorporating cable cars into its service.
Offering breathtaking views of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains across the valley, the Railway’s route starts in Lauterbrunnen. The first section is taken on an aerial cableway rising 2,263 feet high. Next, the aerial cableway and railway connect at Gratschalp station where both lines converge into a single building. Inside is the workshop and transfer area for goods. From Gratschalp to Murren the line continues nearly three miles along a narrow gauge electric railway.
The cable car section is operated by a single cable car and can shuttle up to 100 passengers between Lauterbrunnen and Gratschalp in as little as four minutes. The rail section is operated by single electric rail cars which also tow or push flat cars for transportation of goods. The rail section of the route take 14 minutes.
Owned by the Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen-Murren AG company, the Railway plans to continue to modernize its rail operations and stations, including the Murren railway station and the Gratschalp workshop.
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