The Furka Mountain Railway, by Jim Stancliffe

The Furka Mountain Railway, by Jim Stancliffe

Booklet published by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society, 30 pages. A4 size Booklet (N7674)

From the introduction: The Furka Mountain Railway has in recent years developed into one of the most successful narrow gauge tourist lines in Switzerland. The railway crosses the Furka Pass, one of the most impressive high alpine passes in the country, using rack and pinion drive for much of the journey.

The railway has its origins in the early 20th century, when there was a need for better transport links throughout the Swiss Alps. It achieved early fame as a result of the challenging terrain through which it passed and the severe winter weather that forced it to close for eight months every year. Over the years, this annual closure became more and more of a problem, severely affecting the tourist economy in the region. The problem was not resolved until 1982 when, with the opening of the Furka Base Tunnel, an all­weather route became available for the first time between the major winter centres in the Alps.

The opening of the Furka Base Tunnel led to the closure of the original route over the Furka Pass between Realp and Oberwald. This was a matter of great regret to many people in Switzerland. In 1983, a group of enthusiasts in Lucerne formed a society, with the eventual aim of restoring the closed section as a tourist railway. After many years of hard work, the first section was re-opened in 1992. The dream was not fully realised until 2010, when the final section between Gletsch and Oberwald was reopened.

The development of the railway forms an interesting story that, in my view is well worth re-telling. Before looking further at the Furka railway, however, I shall briefly outline the history of transport in the Alps, and consider some of the other railways serving the area...

The condition of the booklet is generally very good. The covers are clean and bright, the staple spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.