Swiftly upwards with cogwheel and rack rail
The history of the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway is a success story. Especially in the first years (at that time still BVZ and FO) and during the time of the world wars, the prevailing conditions did, admittedly, represent just as steep a challenge as the mountain line proper. The right strategy and a great deal of effort and commitment by the respective teams have led the company purposefully and successfully into the 21st century.
The Matterhorn Gotthard Railway today operates the Zermatt-Brig-Disentis and Andermatt-Göschenen stretches. The trains cover a distance of 144 kilometres, run through 29 tunnels and 20 galleries and cross 60 bridges. The variedness of the regions is fascinating: just like in a picture book, and almost romantic, the red narrow gauge train travels through a changing scenery of captivating natural beauty. The point of departure is Zermatt (1605 m above sea level). From the village at the foot of the Matterhorn, the line leads through the Matter valley and then through the Rhone valley to Brig (670 m above sea level). The journey continues through the picturesque Goms region into the Canton of Uri. On the Oberalp Pass, the railway reaches the highest point on the line (2033 m above sea level). The end of the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway is in Disentis (1130 m above sea level), with a direct connection to the RhB Rhaetian Railway.
The Matterhorn Gotthard Railway today has some 500 employees on its payroll. This motivated team skilfully steers a total of some 2.5 million passengers and 100,000 tonnes of goods in 462 rail vehicles through some 47 stations and health resorts.
The first train of today's Matterhorn Gotthard Railway (at that time BVZ) ran already on 3 July 1891 on the line from Visp towards Zermatt. In 1926, the Brig-Disentis line (at that time FO) was opened and in 1930, the completion of construction of the track between Visp and Brig joined the two networks together. At the same time, this marked the birth of the world-famous Glacier Express: St. Moritz (via RhB) and Zermatt were linked together by a continuous track for the first time. What an event in the history of Swiss railways!
|Opening to traffic||Visp - Stalden/Saas||03.07.1890|
|Stalden/Saas - St.Niklaus||26.08.1890|
|St.Niklaus - Zermatt||18.07.1891|
|Brig - Disentis||04.07.1926|
|Göschenen - Andermatt||11.07.1917|
|Visp - Brig (connecting line)||05.06.1930|
|All-year-round operation||Brig - Zermatt||1933|
|Electrification||Visp - Zermatt||01.10.1929|
|Visp - Brig||05.06.1930|
|Stations and stops||44|
|Electric system||single-phase alternating current||11 kV 16 2/3 Hz|
|Route mileage||Zermatt - Disentis, Andermatt - Göschenen||144 km|
|of that, rack railway (System: Roman Abt)||31.9 km|
|Maximum gradient||rack-and-pinion section (Schöllenenschlucht)||181 o/oo|
|adhesion section||25 o/oo|
|Difference||in altitude Zermatt - Disentis, Andermatt - Göschenen||3300 m|
|Longest bridge||Grengiolsviadukt (Track Grengiols - Fiesch)||173 m|
|Highest bridge||Grengiolsviadukt||48 m|
|Tunnels and galleries||Number: 29 + 20||Total: 26'277 m|
|Longest gallery||Kalter Boden - Schilten (Track: Täsch-Zermatt)||730 m|