Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tuesday 4 October - Lake Luzern and the Gotthard

Zurich on a sunny and bright day, like today.
In the Luzern market both sweet chestnuts and horse chestnuts were on sale

The Luzern bridge was well decked out with flowers.
As planned, this morning we took an early train to Luzern and caught a boat on Lake Luzern.  Our original plan was to get off at Vitznau and ride the mountain railway up to Rigi Kulm and back down again to Arth Goldau.  However it looked as if the Rigi summit was socked in by cloud and there were a very large number of Asian tourists who were more interested in selfies than learning anything.  Having been up to the summit last lime, Paul and I decided to stay on the boat as far as Brunnen where we thought we would be able to get a train through to Ersfelt on the Gotthard main line. The additional hour's cruise was peaceful after the tourists had got off and First class was very pleasant indeed.

Our plan worked out well.  It was about a half mile walk to the station where we had to wait about 15 minutes for a train to Ersfelt.  In the meantime there were a succession of trains to watch on the main line to the Gotthard Pass. The traffic regulation was interesting to watch.  The high speed train came first but the dispatcher stuffed a large freight in between it and our stopping passenger train.  This made sense although the stopper was delayed by a couple of minutes - otherwise the freight would have been slowed at every station to Ersfelt.
First an Italian 610 high speed train came through 
This heavy freight came through with four locomotives on the front, an amazing mixture of Re 4/4s and at least one Re 6/6.
At Ersfelt we caught the "local" to Locarno hauled by an Re 4/4
Many of these trains have one First class car with panoramic windows which I was looking out for. 
At Ersfelt we had a sandwich and caught the train up the old winding line to the summit at Goschenen.  We enjoyed good views of the loops as we passed the church at Wassen three times.

We took a quick trip up the narrow V shaped valley to Andermatt and back and then decided to return to Zurich, changing trains at Arth Goldau.

The narrow gauge MGB train ready to depart for Andermatt on the rack line.  These trains leave from the station forecourt, along with the buses.
A double headed BLS headed freight entered the tunnel with this 187 class Traxx locomotive painted for Railpool  but leased to BLS on the rear end.
A number of freights were headed by a Re 4/4 and a Re 6/6 making a 10/10.  The 4/4 invariable was in the lead, possibly because it was equipped with ETRMS signal capability.
It was a good day during which we sorted out how to get to good places around Wassen planned for Thursday.

Click here to see all pictures of the Luzern - Gotthard area

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