Opening the door of the engine driver’s cabin, the snowscape came as a complete surprise. From the carriage behind we’d had no idea we were this close to the Eiger, nor how impressively austere it was. To be trundling uphill towards it full on was quite simply breath-taking. You know how often superlatives, metaphors, similes and other words are used to describe the Swiss Alps – and then you see a sight like this and words can’t do it justice.
I was on a railway trip to Switzerland and this train journey to the top of the Jungfrau was the highlight – in all senses of the word. I’d travelled on the Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris, through France into Switzerland. Now I was on the train journey from Interlaken to the top of the Jungfrau. Travelling up this mountain range, I became aware of the air getting thinner and the scenery becoming more impressive every metre we went up. From the open cabin window, I could feel the cold, sharp air as it thinned and became pin-bright. The sound of the cogs clanking rattle out across the valley, causing skiers and tobagganists to look up and wave, as people must have done since the day 100 years ago that this impressive engineering was finally opened. The skis in front told of the skilled athletes who were planning to zoom back downhill from the Jungfraujoch – the Top of Europe, at 3454 metres Europe’s highest-altitude railway station in a world of rock, ice and snow.
Watching the mountains loom larger and glitter brighter in the winter sun, it was impossible not to be impressed by the vision that those engineers must have had to even consider attempting to conquer these peaks … I was so very glad they had.
Many thanks to Railbookers who organise magical railway trips to Switzerland and around the world and all the wonderful people I met on this wonderfully luxurious and enjoyable trip to Switzerland. Hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did …