The Matterhorn-Gotthard Railway – an essential part of the mountain village Goms

I carry you safely to your destination. I have been doing so for more than 100 years. I used to puff heavily. I emitted clouds of steam and sparks. Today, you can hardly hear me coming. I wind my way calmly through the valley. I connect people. I astonish you. I connect cantons and glaciers. All aboard! I am your locomotive.

The Matterhorn-Gotthard Railway has had an essential impact on the development of the mountain village Goms for the past century. What would the valley look like today if the railway did not exist?

A RAILWAY FOR A MOUNTAIN VILLAGE

The MGBahn from Zermatt via Brig to Goms, to Andermatt, Disentis and Göschenen is a kind of life line for the mountain village Goms. A ride on the MGBahn will open your eyes to a panorama of the stunning landscape that is the high valley of Goms. Every village is connected to the railway, which is a unique transport system in the Alps. Sort of like metro trains in a metropolitan area, this is our mountain village train. But the railway does not only ensure the region’s connection during all seasons and under all weather conditions. It is also a great facility for hikers, cross-country skiers, bikers, cyclists to benefit from the great adventures the mountain village Goms offers. The MGBahn is no mere train, it is an attraction. If you have been on the world-famous Glacier Express, you know what this is all about.

FACTS AND FIGURES

The whole narrow gauge rail (track gauge of one metre) is 144 kilometres long at the present. It runs through 50 tunnels and protection galleries and crosses 126 bridges. The 13 gearwheel passages measure 39.7 km and the railway climbs slopes with gradients of up to 17.9 %. The Matterhorn Gotthard Railway employs around 500 people who help transport more than a million passengers every year.

GLIMPSE AT THE HISTORY

Construction of the route Brig-Sedrun started in 1911. The opening ceremony for the section Brig-Gletsch was held in 1914. After that, the chaos of war and financial difficulties slowed down the progress. Once the Furka route was completed in 1926, the Furka Oberalp Railway (FO) between Brig and Sedrun started operating. Since 1930, the world-famous Glacier Express runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz.

When a lack of coal set in in 1941, the entire route was electrified and the Oberalp Pass was made weatherproof mostly for military reasons. 1982 saw the landmark opening of the Furka tunnels, which allowed the trains to cover the whole route network in all weather conditions. Moreover, the car transport via the Furka tunnel was now possible.

In 2003, the FO Railway and the Brig Visp Zermatt Railway (BVZ) merged under the new name of Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn. Its owners are the Swiss Confederation, the cantons and the BVZ Holding.

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