Train to Jungfrau Mountain

Train to Jungfrau Mountain

The Jungfrau Mountain in Switzerland is a great place to visit. I reached it from Interlaken via train.

The Jungfrau railway is a 1 meter gauge rack railway which runs 9 kilometers from Kleine Scheidegg to the highest railway station in Europe at Jungfraujoch (3,454 m), between the Bernese Oberland and Valais in Switzerland. The railway runs almost entirely within a tunnel built into the Eiger and Mönch mountains and contains two stations in the middle of the tunnel, where passengers can disembark to observe the neighboring mountains through windows built into the mountainside. The open-air section culminates at Eigergletscher (2,320 m), which makes it the second highest open-air railway in Switzerland. The line is electrified at 3-phase 1,125 volts 50 Hertz, and is one of four lines in the world using three-phase electric power.

At Kleine Scheidegg the JB connects with the Wengernalpbahn (WAB), which has two routes down the mountain, to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, from where the Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB) connects to the Swiss Federal Railways at Interlaken.

The Jungfrau is the third-highest mountain of the Bernese Alps after the nearby Finsteraarhorn and Aletschhorn, respectively 12 and 8 km away. But from Lake Thun, and the greater part of the canton of Bern, it is the most conspicuous and the nearest of the Oberland peaks; with a height difference of 3,600 m between the summit and the town of Interlaken. This, and the extreme steepness of the north face, secured for it an early reputation for inaccessibility.

On the way to Jungfrau we travelled through the valley of Lauterbrunnen. I wish I had had time to stop and walk the trail from the railway station to the Lauterbrunnen, a fantastic waterfall.

The Jungfrau is the westernmost and highest point of a gigantic 10 km wall dominating the valleys of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. The wall is formed by the alignment of some of the most distinctive north faces in the Alps, with the Mönch (4,107 m) and Eiger (3,970 m) to the east of the Jungfrau, and overlooks the valleys to its north by a height of up to 3 km. The Jungfrau is approximately 6 km from the Eiger; with the summit of the Mönch between the two mountains, 3.5 km from the Jungfrau. The wall is extended to the east by the Fiescherwand and to the west by the Lauterbrunnen Wall.

The difference of altitude between the deep valley of Lauterbrunnen (800 m) and the summit is particularly visible from the area of Mürren. From the valley floor, west of the massif, the altitude gain is more than 3 km for a horizontal distance of 4 km.

The landscapes around the Jungfrau are extremely contrasted. Instead of the vertiginous precipices of the north-west, the south-east side emerges from the upper snows of the Aletsch Glacier at around 3,500 meters. The 20 km long valley of Aletsch on the south-east is completely uninhabited and also surrounded by other similar glacier valleys. The whole area constitutes the largest glaciated area in the Alps as well as in Europe.

Location: 04-E3

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