Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday 28 September - Pilatus and Swiss Railway Museum

We were out in good time this morning to catch a train to Luzern and on to Alpnachstad. It was misty and very foggy in places.  We didn't have to worry because the ride to the top of Pilatus was in full sun although we could see the early mist hanging in some valleys.

I don't know what to say about Pilatus. It is the steepest rack railway in the world at 48%. However they have been operating for 150 years so they know what they are doing. The trains are run in flights, we passed a group of five at the half way point. The first part was steep alpine meadows with tiny yellow and purple flowers and tiny butterflies. There are many cows and their bells make quite a din.   There were a number of walkers and the up trains were all full, it being Sunday.
The second, upper, part was more stark with several patches of bare rock and a few tunnels.  There was time to look around at the top but photography was difficult because of the haze. There was hardly any wind and I didn't really need my fleece.
As we descended into the base station we could see the steamer approaching and we wondered how we would be able to get there in time across a busy two lane road. Of course there was an underground passage so that we made it with plenty of time to spare.

Click here to see all pictures taken on Pilatus

Our pass allows us to go in the first class lounge on the steamers.
Steamer arriving at Alpnachstad
The Museum of Transport was good. The exhibits were quite interesting and well captioned. What impressed us the most was the great variety of neat things for children to do. There was a building site where kids could shovel gravel into dump trucks and move it around. There was a sailboat lake which had been fitted out with fans to make a breeze. There was a complete container system where gravel or wooden blocks could be loaded and then winched on to a rail vehicle, then transfered to a barge. Many kids were working hard together at this. There were radio controlled boats, scooters - things kids could do rather than press a button. At the end of the day many of the kids would be very tired indeed.   

This Climax steam locomotive was giving rides
There was even a train simulator that Paul and I tried. We didn't do too badly until it came time to stop when we both stopped short and were told to speed up.
To get back to Luzern we had a choice of a trolley bus, a suburban train or a steamer. We chose the steamer and there was just time to have a beer in the first class lounge.
We caught the first train back to Zurich and had dinner sitting on a bench on the platform enjoying the sun and the trains - at one point six trains arrived in 5 minutes. A train of old coaches came in hauled noisily by a CARGO locomotive in need of attention. It had made a round trip to Munich. I hope the coaches ride better than the locomotive. Maybe the locomotive was used because it is equipped to work in Germany. It seems Octoberfest starts in September.