Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday 20 September - Brienze, Innertkirchen and Luzern

It was fine and sunny this morning, but there was steam on our breath first thing, and the views of Lake Thun were superb.  In fact we had full sunahine all day although the air was cold.  At Interlaken the train disgorged hundreds of Asian tourists who were going to the Jungfrau leaving just a few to take the narrow gauge train to Brienz.  This was hauled by an electric locomotive originally built in 1941, although it was rebuilt in the 1980s.
1941 builder's plate
The views across Lake Brienz were superb.  We took some time in Brienze, looking at the steam engines on the mountain railway and enjoying the town. The steamer arrived from Interlaken, the Post Bus drew up and our train to Meiringen arrived.  Integration!
A relatively new locomotive.
This is one of the few non-electrified lines in Switzerland

The steamer from Interlaken arriving at Brienz in time to connect with the railway and the Post Bus.
 We had a quick transfer to the little train to Innertkirchen, a run of only ten minutes. It goes up a valley and into the next one through a long tunnel. The train stopped in the tunnel and the driver opened the door and a door in the tunnel wall also opened to allow passengers to get off. The train continued on through pleasant country to the end of the line which is at a hydro station. We had just 8 minutes before our return - time to look at the locomotive just purchased from the CF du Jura.  On the way back we didn't stop in the tunnel so I presume this was a request stop and prospective passengers had a way of signalling to the driver.  There was a Post Bus in the parking lot of a cafe.  The Destination sign said "Pause" and there was a picture of a cup of coffee. 
Meiringen Innertkirchen tram at Innertkirchen.  We were given 8 minutes to see what we wanted and get back on the train.  It was enough time.
MIB locomotive 12 recently purchased from the CF du Jura.
Back at Meiringen there was about half an hour to wait for the next train to Lucern.
The new trains will be unveiled to the public this weekend.
It won't be very long before these old locomotives will be replaced
This section has some steep grades and beautiful views over several lakes as we descended into the valleys.
Lucern was beautiful in the sunshine. We had lunch at a restaurant by the water.  I had to try the spam and chips which was also described as home made meat loaf.
Spam and chips The gravy quickly congealed to maintain its authenticity.
The decoration on some of the buildings is very intricate.

The second wooden bridge has a small chapel under the turret.
Afterwards we walked across the bridge and then along by the water.  There were a lot of swans and they made good use of the tourists.  We crossed back across another wooden bridge into the historic old town.  The tourists were all on one street but we went one street back where the locals were.  The kids were just coming out of school.  Back close to the water there were more great views of Lake Lucern with the snow peaked mountains in the background.

We caught a direct train back to Bern travelling upstairs in the double decker.

Back at Bern we walked into the old part and right through to the bridge over the river Aare.  There were three bears in their fairly new location and they seemed happy enough.  We walked back into the centre on a street which paralleled the main one where the tourists are.  This was a bit funky in places but again it was where the locals were.  In the station area there are hundreds and hundreds of bikes, even though the SBB has a safe storage area in the station itself.
We haven't been able to figure out what this is.  A set of steps up to a broken off column.
 We had a sandwich watching the trains from the platform.
Click here to see all pictures of the Zentralbahn
Click here to see all pictures of Meiringen - Innertkirchen
Click here to see all pictures of Lucern
Click here to see all pictures of Brienx Rothorn

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