Perhaps suggesting to our readers that they consider taking a train journey whilst on holiday may not be a good idea. Especially if you’re unfortunate to enough to live in the Southern catchment area and so are getting caught up in this week’s strike action.
But train travel can be fun (trust us!) and would-be train lovers would be mad not to consider Switzerland as a potential holiday destination for one simple fact; it has more railway lines per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. On reflection, this is a pretty impressive statistic but added to which, the country is the most mountainous in Europe.
Those two facts taken together mean train lovers have lots of trains to choose from and can take some pretty impressive journeys along the way, including getting to the top of 11,454 feet high Jungfrau mountain.
Sitting on top of the mountain is the highest railway station in Europe and, although permanently shrouded in ice (Health & Safety must have field day!), the journey is a true wonder of the modern age; a staggering feat of ingenuity and engineering, with breath-taking views only previously enjoyed by intrepid mountaineers.
It took over sixteen years to build the railway, which included cutting a 4 mile long tunnel. Given this was done over 100 years ago, and that on the glacier itself, temperatures can drop to -24C, you can see why building clocks represents such a doddle to the Swiss.
Of course, all that efficiency and punctuality comes at a price, and at £160 for an individual ticket to the top, some would argue that the price, like the mountain itself, is quite steep.
But despite the high price, this journey’s popularity is increasing, so much so that up to 5,000 people a day cram onto the trains. To counter against overcrowding, the railway company has had to introduce a seat reservation system and individual passengers are advised to get the early trains so as to avoid the bigger tour groups.
High ticket prices and overcrowded trains? Sounds just like home.