Daily Archives: February 14, 2015
Kleine Scheidegg (elevation 2,061 m, 6,762 ft) is a high mountain pass below and between the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. It connects Grindelwald with Lauterbrunnen. The name means “minor watershed”, even though it is actually higher than the neighbouring Grosse Scheidegg. Possibly this is because Kleine Scheidegg is a watershed between the two arms of the Lütschinen river, while Grosse Scheidegg divides the Lütschinen valleys from the Reichenbach.
Located at Kleine Scheidegg is the Hotel Bellevue des Alpes and the Kleine Scheidegg railway station, which serves the two rack railways, the Wengernalpbahn (since 1893) and the Jungfraubahn (since 1896). The Wengernalpbahn has two branches: one begins at Grindelwald; the other commences at Lauterbrunnen and climbs to the pass via Wengen. The Jungfraubahn climbs steeply through tunnels inside the Eiger and Mönch mountains up to its terminal at the Jungfraujoch.
F/9, 1/1250 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
Adolf Guyer-Zeller first thought of the idea of a tunnel in 1893, and at that point, he had planned to have 7 stations inside the tunnel before reaching the peak of the Sphinx. The building of the tunnel started on July 27, 1896 and took 16 years to complete. The construction phase was troubled by many problems including monetary shortages, inclement weather and mounting deaths due to construction accidents. The worst accident occurred in 1908, when 30 tons of dynamite accidentally exploded. When construction finally finished, the railway reached only to the height of the Jungfraujoch col, rather than the summit of the Sphinx, and had only two intermediate stations. However, even in its current state, the Jungfraubahn is a significant achievement in engineering and construction, still holding the title for highest railway in Europe.
The train into the mountain leaves from Kleine Scheidegg, which can be reached by trains from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. The train enters the tunnel running eastward through the Eiger shortly after leaving Kleine Scheidegg. It runs close behind the Eiger’s north face, stopping at Eigerwand, where there is a window about 8 m long and a metre high, halfway up the face. The windows have been placed in holes used to remove excavated rock from the tunnel during construction, and are also occasionally used as access points, by climbers, and also rescue parties. This window was used for one of the final scenes of a Clint Eastwood spy movie the The Eiger Sanction. There one can get off the train to admire the view before the train continues five minutes later. The tunnel then turns west, heading towards the Jungfrau. There is a second stop at a window looking out on the Eismeer (“Sea of Ice”) before the train continues to the Jungfraujoch. The tunnel was constructed between 1898 and 1912; it is about 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) long, with gradients of up to 25%. The journey from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch takes approximately 50 minutes including the stops at Eigerwand and Eismeer; the downhill return journey taking only 35 minutes.
F/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6