Europe's highest altitude tramway resumes service

The restored tram will once again bring guests to the luxury Riffelalp hotel Keystone Archive

A relic of the Belle Époque, the Riffelalp tramway above the resort of Zermatt, has come back into service - 40 years after it ceased operations. It was first inaugurated in 1899 to transport guests to the Riffelalp grand hotel.

This content was published on June 21, 2001 - 07:39

The re-opening of the tramway caps efforts to recreate the glory days of the Belle Époque in Zermatt. It was originally built 15 years after the Riffelalp grand hotel first opened its doors, offering guests a commanding view of the Matterhorn.

But a fire destroyed the hotel in 1961 and it took 40 years before plans to rebuild a luxury hotel on the site were carried out. The five-star Riffelalp Resort was the result, unveiled at the end of last year, and the re-opening of the tramway completes the work.

Located more than 2,000 metres above sea level, the tramway is the last leg in the railway journey from Zermatt. Consisting of only two carriages and running only a few hundred metres, it connects the hotel with the Gornergrat railway.

While the hotel complex has been built in a chalet style - unlike the original grand hotel - the tramway has been faithfully restored.

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