The Jungfraujoch railway station is located at an altitude of almost 3,500 meters in the Swiss Alps. Its construction was a pioneering technical achievement. Find out why in part IV of our series “Extreme Places.”
In August 1893, Swiss industrialist Adolf Guyer-Zeller made a bold decision: he wanted to build a railway that would lead up to the peak of the 4,158-meter (13,641 ft.) Jungfrau. Up until that time, ascending the third-highest mountain in the Bernese Alps, with its eternal blanket of snow, was reserved for experienced mountaineers only. The first successful climb to the summit did not take place until 1811, and the planned railway line was intended to make it more widely accessible.
It took 16 years from the breaking of ground to the completion of the route. The line doesn’t go all the way up to the summit as Guyer-Zeller had envisaged, but with its terminus on the Jungfraujoch at 3,454 meters (11,332 ft.), its construction is still considered an engineering masterpiece. If that wasn’t enough, more than half of the nine-kilometer track is in a tunnel, which had to be cut by hand. On August 1, 1912 ― the Swiss national holiday ― the first train finally made the whole journey from the mountain pass Kleine Scheidegg up to the Jungfraujoch.
DW reporter Hendrik Welling traveled to the highest railway station in Europe for the series “Europe to the Maxx” on the lifestyle and culture magazine “Euromaxx.” Of course, he took the train, the so-called Jungfraubahn. Once at the top, he not only enjoyed the view over the impressive Alpine panorama, he also learned a lot of interesting facts about the adventurous construction of the line more than 100 years ago. In the video, you can accompany him on his discoveries.
News source: DW