Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday 5 October - Rhein Falls, Stein am Rhein and Uetliberg

The Swiss railways have some interesting vinyls on some of their locomotives.
Another busy day today.  We caught a train to Schaffhausen and changed to a local for Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall  There was a big climb up to the castle then down the other side to cross the Rhine river above the falls.  There then followed a level stretch then more steps down to see the falls proper.  They are quite spectacular although the drop is not very great.  I enjoyed watching the ducks and a wagtail searching for food.
We caught a train coming over the bridge

A train took us back to Schaffhausen and after a quick coffee we caught a local to Stein am Rhein.  This is a pleasant little town with some wonderful old painted buildings in the centre.  The reason for coming here was to see the miniature railway which was operating today.

The railway runs in a pleasant riverside park for maybe a quarter of a mile.  The track runs around the main shops and shed and returns to the terminal station. The line is dual gauge with three rails.  At the junction for the loop around the shed area there is an interesting switch with no moving parts.  Trains run around the loop clockwise.

Having walked along the line we had a pizza at a restaurant close by and then walked into the town which provided a very pleasant surprise from the wealth of beautifully decorated buildings.

The buildings have all been painted, some of the scenes were very detailed and we wondered how frequently they would have to be repainted - the buildings are obviously several hundred years old.
I was just one of many tourists admiring the town when I was approached by three girls and a boy, about 14 years old.  They were from Zurich on a school trip by boat from Schaffhausen.  I explained that I spoke no German and they quickly switched to French and then English which they spoke perfectly.  They recorded my interview on a cell phone.  Where was I from? Why did I come here?  What do I think about the town?  It was a lot of fun.  I was particularly interested in the ease with which they switched between English and French when their mother tongue was German.

The local train took us Winterthur and we quickly returned to Zurich.

The Uetliberg Railway is part of the Zurich suburban network yet it is unusual in many ways.  It is the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe and the overhead electric wires are offset because these trains share part of the route with another railway which uses the standard Swiss railway overhead system.  The line climbs up to the summit through dense forest.  It is surprising to find such a dense forest so close to the city centre.  Paul and I went up the line two years ago but the summit was covered in thick fog and we did not venture off the platform.  (This was where we saw a cat sitting on a pole looking for prey). This time the weather was fine, if cold, and the views across Zurich were wonderful.  We could see the airport and follow the planes coming in to land.  Lake Zurich was very easy to pick out.
On the way back to the hotel we noticed the Fondue Trolley serving customers during the rush hour.
Another good day although there was a lot of stair climbing.

To see all pictures taken at Rhein Falls and Stein am Rhein click here

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