Swiss steam trains

This item appears on page 80 of the June 2011 issue.

The Furka Pass train route, which runs past the Rhone Glacier in Switzerland, was to be shut down with the opening of the Furka Base Tunnel in 1982, which made the route obsolete. Thanks to a private initiative, restored steam locomotives and reassembled original carriages from the early 1900s are traveling the route. The steam trains stopped running in 1968 and began again in 1999.

From late June to early October, travelers can take a two-hour trip from the Realp station (in Uri canton) through tunnels and across bridges to Gletsch (in Valais canton). From Gletsch, yellow PostBuses offer service to Oberwald or to Meiringen via the Grimsel Pass.

A round-trip ticket from Realp to Gletsch costs CHF94 (near $108) per adult in second class or CHF156 in first class (one way, CHF57 and CHF95, respectively). Children six to 16 with a paying adult ride free in second class. Shorter legs and train/PostBus combo trips are available. Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway (Andermatt, Switzerland; phone +41 848 000 144).