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Out & About in Switzerland: Steaming over the Brünig pass

Steam locomotives are back on track across Switzerland. Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway

A locomotive belonging to the Ballenberg Steam Railway is to take passengers on a nostalgic ride over the Brünig pass on September 3 and 17. The railway is one of several in Switzerland, owned and operated by fans of the steam era.

The round trip starts in Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland and chugs along to Brienz and Meiringen before climbing over the Brünig to Giswil in canton Obwalden.

The Ballenberg Steam Railway was founded 15 years ago to keep on track two steam engines destined for the Ballenberg Open Air Museum. Both were built by the Swiss Locomotive and Machinery Factory in Winterthur about 90 years ago. The railway has since added a third locomotive.

A trip by steam over the Brünig will give passengers a glimpse of what travel was like around the end of the 19th century when the railway line was built. The combined adhesion and rack railway – the first in Switzerland – links Lucerne with the Bernese Oberland. The line was electrified at the beginning of the 1940s.

The nostalgic return trip costs SFr48 ($28). It leaves Interlaken Ost in mid-morning and arrives back in the early evening. It stops in Giswil for two hours before making the return journey.

A hotel in Giswil hopes to cash in on the event: it’s offering a special “Steam Railway Menu” including “variable brake fluid soup” and “fare from the station master’s garden”.

Passengers will also be able to bring a packed lunch.


Out & About in Switzerland is updated regularly to keep you informed of upcoming events, which may provide a different insight into the country and its people.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR