Reflections in a Train - Glacier Express at Brig
Lots of platform activity at this major station along the route of Switzerland’s Glacier Express.
While the buildings beyond the train are of modern design, in the bright autumn sunshine of an October afternoon, the shiny red carriages of this popular train reflect an impressionistic take on the old city’s more traditional architecture.
The train began its eight hour trip through Switzerland’s alpine majesty in Canton Graubunden, at St Moritz, on the narrow gauge rails of the Rhätische Bahn, but at Disentis-Mustér, the carriages were taken over by a powerful rack and pinion electric locomotive of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, as required by the very steep gradients of the railroad that will ultimately deliver the train to its destination, Zermatt.
As may be gathered from the track numbers along the platform, Brig is a major station in the Swiss rail network, serving in addition to the narrow gauge MGB, the standard gauge high speed trains of both the SBB (Swiss Federal Railway System) and the privately owned B-L-S Lötschbergbahn. Between the latter two, it is a major nexus for trains using both the Lötschberg Base Tunnel or the more scenic B-L-S lines with brighter, if “slower,” views, SBB trains to Geneva, France, and Italy, and all manner of local services. Brig sits in the valley of the Rhone River, in Canton Valais..
After train business has been taken care of, we will depart for the final stage of the journey,
up the very steep line to Zermatt, which is largely on the rack system.
The photo was taken in October 2011, as I retraced most of my original ride on the GEX from 1989,
but in the opposite direction, in even better weather conditions – and in much more modern accommodations
(although I admit to missing those windows one could open and poke a camera through!).
It is presented here for the first time in this black and white interpretation.
©2018 Steve Ember