Question on scenic route from Murren to Zermatt

Question on scenic route from Murren to Zermatt

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traveljet
traveljet
80 posts
active member
Dec 23, 2016 - 7:02 AM

Hi,

i checked the sbb timetable for Murren to Zermatt (weekday 10:28am). One was a shorter 3hr 23min and the longer route around 4hr 23min (via Kandersteg). This is tentatively scheduled for 28 Sept 2017.

Bearing in mind before this journey, we would already taken train rides from Zurich airport to Engelberg, Engelberg to Luzerne to Wengen, Wengen to Murren. So for this last segment Murren - Zermatt, is it basically the same scenery on the longer route from what we would experienced on the earlier rides and if we should just save the extra hr of travel to Zermatt from Murren.

We will be taking 1st Class on the main routes.

LONGER ROUTE: Interlaken Ost - Spiez - Brig - walk - Brig Bahnhofplatz - Zermatt

Can anyone advise if the longer route is worth taking for the scenery?

The longer route shows that when we arrive at Spiez, we take the Lotschberger Train to Brig. At Brig, we have to walk 139m to Brig Bahnhofplatz to catch the train in 7 mins. Then from Brig Bahnhofplatz we carry on to Zermatt.

1) Is the walk from Brig to Brig Bahnhofplatz to catch the train in 7mins rushed if we have roll on bags?

SHORTER ROUTE: Interlaken - Spiez - Visp - Zermatt

2) Is the portion from Spiez to Visp on the IC train via the tunnel?

3) From Visp to Zermatt, is this journey the same scenery as the one on the longer route from Brig Bahnhofplatz to Zermatt?

Annika
Annika
4859 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 24, 2016 - 8:29 AM

Hi traveljet,

The longer route passes Kandersteg and Goppenstein and skips the tunnel. The shorter route largely consists of a tunnel between Frutigen and Visp, so it's much less interesting. There's no difference for the last part Visp-Zermatt. Generally 7 minutes in Brig should be sufficient, but in case you miss out on your train that's no problem. Simply catch the next one to Visp/Zermatt.

If you have time and if weather is nice, I'd definitely recommend the longer one as it actually crosses the mountains and offers great scenic views. It has its own charm, compared to the other scenic rides you've already scheduled. You don't need reservations for either alternative, so you can decide on your preferred route shortly before leaving Interlaken.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3492 posts
expert
Dec 25, 2016 - 2:31 AM in reply to traveljet

Hi Traveljet-

I really like the route via Kandersteg. Unless you are in a hurry to get to a destination with strong appeal, I'd try to find the time for the longer routing.

I like to hike the "Rail-Trail" beside or near the tracks down to Brig from approximately station Hohtenn:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/bls-sudrampe-trail

You will not see all that from the train, but is gives you some idea what that part of the route is like. It is more interesting than the inside of the new, fast, " Lötschberg basis tunnel."

Slowpoke

traveljet
traveljet
80 posts
active member
Dec 25, 2016 - 4:14 AM

Thanks Annika and Slowpoke.

We are still adjusting our plans and may do Bettmeralp - Wengen instead of Zermatt. The longer route via Kandersteg takes 4hr 26 mins compared to 3hrs with the half hr tunnel. Both routes for departure from Bettmeralp at 09:55am. I am not sure if I should still go via Kandersteg but if the scenery is really worth 1hr 30 mins more, then maybe.

If we decide to stay at Bettmeralp, we still get to see the Matterhorn from afar from the hotel room in Chalet Hotel Bettmerhof. This may be more conducive for our tastes as there are less crowds and the place isnt so "touristy", yet plenty to see especially the Altesch glacier etc.

Have a great Merry Christmas everyone. 😄😄

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3492 posts
expert
Dec 25, 2016 - 9:04 AM in reply to traveljet

Hi Traveljet-

We stayed in Bettmeralp many years ago on our first trip to Switzerland together. We stayed there for exactly the same reasons you note, and enjoyed the low key nature a lot. That was the first time we tried raclette.....the old fashioned way, scraped from a large wheel of cheese with the surface heated.

On that trip we also took the 3-4 km easy downhill trail ( about 200 meter descent) from Fiescheralp to Bettmeralp after riding up to and back down from the views at Station Eggishorn.

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,true&X=14 0465.42&Y=650330.13&zo om=5

Nice views toward the Matterhorn, which is visible from up there. Please note that it is actually quite some distance away -about 60 km. It is not the same experience as seeing it from Zermatt or nearby.

If you are going to Zermatt in order to see Zermatt, and want to maximize your time there, then, you might be in a hurry to get there. If you are going in order to enjoy the train ride, it is a different story.

If you are intrested in some history, you will note that the route Spiez- Kandersteg - upper short tunnel - Goppenstein - Brig - Simplon tunnel- Domodossola was the first trans-Alpine rail route.

Another piece of history - at Goppenstein, there is a side road that provides access by car or bus to the Lötschental. The valley was quite isolated until a road was constructed after WWII.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ L%C3%B6tschental

In that Wiki article, quoted here, there is mention of the "Tschäggättä" which is/are a kind of "wildman" -

<<"Tschäggättä

............

The Lötschental is famous for its unique local custom involving the so-called Tschäggättä: frightening figures wearing furs and carved wooden masks that walk the streets during carnival tossing soot at their unsuspecting victims. The custom developed during the valley’s long history of relative isolation, though its exact origins are a matter of debate. The first official mention of the Tschäggättä occurs in a church chronicle of Kippel dating from 1860, and witnesses the local Prior lamenting the difficulties of enforcing a ban on “the terrible misuse of the so-called Tschäggättä” [1].">>

Picture attached

Slowpoke

Last modified on Dec 25, 2016 - 9:41 AM by Slowpoke
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traveljet
traveljet
80 posts
active member
Dec 25, 2016 - 9:22 AM

Hi Slowpoke,

Thanks for the info. We have decided to skip Zermatt and Grindelwald in favour of the "quieter" towns. We will be using the Swiss 4D Flexi Pass so it will be easier to decide about whether to take the shorter or longer route without worrying about buying tickets.

Hope the moderators can let me know if the Swiss Flexi Pass covers the cable car ride from Betten Talstation to Bettmeralp.

So tentatively:

Sun 17 September: Fly into Zurich Airport - Bettmeralp 5N

Bettmeralp - Wengen 4N

Wengen - Murren 3N

Murren - Engelberg 5N (side trip to Lucerne, Titlis, Jochpass etc)

Zurich 1N

Fly home Thur 5 Oct 2017

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3492 posts
expert
Dec 25, 2016 - 9:29 AM in reply to traveljet

I added a bit more history and a picture after you posted.

Slowpoke

traveljet
traveljet
80 posts
active member
Dec 27, 2016 - 2:44 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi,

Thanks for the pics.

Can anyone here asvise on which side of the train to sit on (facing in the forward direction) for:

Lotschberg train from Brig to Spiez and the

IC train from Spiez to I terlaken Ost?

Regards.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3492 posts
expert
Dec 27, 2016 - 9:14 AM in reply to traveljet

Hi Traveljet -

From Brig to Spiez, the route has two differnt charcaters.

Climbing the Südrampe along the wall of the Rhonetal from Brig as far as Hohtenn, sit on the left. That stretch goes quickly; keep your eyes open. No reason to change sides for the brief trip from Hohtenn onward to Goppenstein, where you enter the upper (old) tunnel; going through the tunnel, I have never noticed any significant difference between the scenery on the two sides. ;-)

After you emerge from the tunnel at Kandersteg, on the journey to Frutigen and Spiez, the train will alternate sides of the Kandertal with loops at Blausee-Mitholz:

map.search.ch/?pos=619328,153700&z=64

From Kandersteg onwards to Frutigen and Spiez, there is little reason to prefer one side over the other. I tend to sit on the right, but don't make much fuss about it.

From Spiez to Interlaken, the train is on the south side of the Thunersee heading to the East , so you would have better views from the left side of the train.

Play with the map that I linked above.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Dec 27, 2016 - 9:19 AM by Slowpoke
traveljet
traveljet
80 posts
active member
Dec 27, 2016 - 10:31 AM

Hi Slowpoke,

I did get some idea of the scenery from a YouTube video of this journey. But it was taken from the front of the train so much of the side scenery was not as evident. However it was good enough to get a glimpse of what to expect.

Thanks for the tips.

andrew
andrew
39 posts
active member
Jan 3, 2017 - 2:51 PM

Hi Traveljet,

Most of your questions have been well answered but you – and others – may enjoy hearing of an experience we had last July. We were coming down by train from the Bettmeralp direction and expecting a 16 minute slot to walk from outside the front of Brig station to the inside, which is what that change of train amounts to.

Our train was delayed and when we came to a halt 15 of those 16 minutes had gone. The doors unlocked and most of the passengers erupted from the train and ran for the station entry. Buses and taxis had to stop to avoid being run down by the stampede. It was very funny even though we were taking part. We boarded our train to Spiez at exactly the time it was due to leave which shows that it can be done in a minute even with the injured but healing ankle I had at the time. (Moral: beware of tripping on mountain railway tracks while wearing skiing gear. It prevents skiing for some time!)

The mainline train delayed its departure for a couple of minutes and I far as we could tell, everyone from the MGB train who wished to had made the connection. Have a good holiday and sit on the left side of the train between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen but be ready to swap sides, if you can, in the 180 degree tunnel.

Have a good holiday. Andrew

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3492 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2017 - 3:08 PM in reply to andrew

Hi Andrew-

Thanks for example.

Although it is harder to do that kind of pause on the main lines and at main stations, it doe happen. In particular, the tracks from Luzern and also from the Gotthard overlap north of Zug on the way to Zürich. Those tracks are very busy, and there are ( or were) frequent minor delays. We have seen departing trains wait a few minutes for delayed arriving connections along that route in the morning, when inbound to Zürich is heavy. We were concerned about getting to the airport on time, but always made it OK.

There is however, always another train coming along in a while, if you have no need to rush.

Slowpoke

traveljet
traveljet
80 posts
active member
Jan 4, 2017 - 1:32 AM in reply to andrew

Hi andrew,

Thanks for sharing your experience. When the timetable says walk from Brig Bahnhofplatz to Brig to catch the train to Spiez, does it involve crossing main roads etc?

We have roller bags so I am not sure what is a realistic estimate to do the walk and catch the train. Timetable says 7 mins. It is good to have an estimated time it would take to walk from the Brig Bahnhofplatz to Brig with some luggage although I know we can catch the next train if we missed the first one.

I hope your ankle has healed.

Last modified on Jan 4, 2017 - 1:50 AM by traveljet
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3492 posts
expert
Jan 4, 2017 - 1:45 AM in reply to traveljet

Hi Travel jet-

This quote from Andrew's post may help you:

<<" walk from outside the front of Brig station to the inside, which is what that change of train amounts to............. at exactly the time it was due to leave which shows that it can be done in a minute even with the injured but healing ankle">>

Slowpoke

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