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Centovalli railway closed due to subsidence


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1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 28, 2022 - 5:55 PM

The Centovalli Railway is closed for direct international trains because the railway is partly closed for the foreseeable future between the Switzerland/Italy frontier stations at Camedo and an intermediate station in Italy: Re.

www.vigezzinacentovalli.com/en/

www.vigezzinacentovalli.com/en/news-eventi/Bus-sostitutivi.html

The replacement bus service will however travel via a scenic route along a lake. I think this means Lake Maggiore, but have no confirmation. If so you would see lake views but miss the valleys that the 'Centovalli' is famous for

Last modified on May 28, 2022 - 6:16 PM by 1960man
Dedsoccer
Dedsoccer
2 posts
new member
May 29, 2022 - 4:28 PM in reply to 1960man

Thanks for the heads up!

I will be there in mid-September, so hopefully the powers that be will have the train back in service by then.

In your opinion, if the bus service is still required then, would you recommend the Gotthard Panorama route instead to travel from Interlaken to Lugano?

I understand it is subjective, but looking for anyone that has done both to lend their perspective.

Thanks!

Bebe
Bebe
22 posts
new member
May 30, 2022 - 12:01 AM in reply to 1960man

Hi, 1960man,

I am always amazed with your train info posts! They’ve been invaluable in understanding how the train systems operate there.

We are traveling from Interlaken on the Regio Express train route in September & I was looking forward to that portion on the Centovalli railway continuing to Locarno through a portion of Italy. Can we still take the Brig-Domodossola-Locarno train route? Do you know at what station we would change from train to bus to get to our destination if there is still some closure & how far we would be traveling on the bus, time-wise? I know you’ve mentioned Lake Maggiore in another post and that we would miss some of the more scenic parts of the Centovalli route. Or is there hope that the Centovalli railway will be fully functional by September? Should I make any alternate plans?

Regarding the Regio route, which do you recommend - the more scenic route (everything in Switzerland is scenic!!) or the faster train to Brig? Which station do I insert to make sure it’s the correct route? I am confused.

Thank you!!

Bebe

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 30, 2022 - 12:16 AM in reply to Dedsoccer

Even in mega-efficient Switzerland, geological problems are not always easy to overcome quickly so there is no guarantee the line will reopen by September.

Personally (1) I actually find the 'panorama' trains on the Centovalli rather cramped so I might actually be quite pleased if I found myself on a bus via the shore of lake Maggiore

(2) Try not to think of the historic Gotthard railway as the 'Gotthard Panorama route'. The Gotthard Panorama Express is just one occasional train service over the Gotthardbahn line, which now once again (since the takeover of regular trains* by the SOB railway company) has hourly regular fast trains dubbed 'Treno Gottardo'. However the trains split between Luzern and Zurich routes, so you need to look for the trains leaving Luzern every 2 hours at 9.18, 11.18, 13.18 etc

Going that way you could time it to connect at Luzern (eg Interlaken 09.04 Luzern 10.55 / 11.18 Locarno 1425

* (Swiss Federal Railways were not bothered to maintain a decent service over the old route after the Base tunnel opened.)

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 30, 2022 - 12:21 AM in reply to Bebe

The Regio Express Loetschberger travels over the old mountain line via Kandersteg, so put in Kandersteg as a 'via' between Spiez and Brig

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 30, 2022 - 12:29 AM in reply to Bebe

Although the closed section of the railway is short Camedo to Re and local trains will continue to run at both ends, it seems that no attempt is being made to provide a bus connection . This may be because the road is also affected by the subsidence

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 30, 2022 - 12:34 AM in reply to 1960man

Confirmation that the whole mountainside is giving problems:

goo.gl/maps/Eaieq9jcCVGzJf7k7

Looking at street view pictures I can see the SS337 road in the area is already badly affected by subsidence

Last modified on May 30, 2022 - 12:35 AM by 1960man
Bebe
Bebe
22 posts
new member
May 30, 2022 - 2:00 AM in reply to 1960man

Just to clarify, and I’m probably misunderstanding. I’m still not sure which train to take at Brig to reach Locarno. Does the closure of Centovalli railway mean that the Brig-Domodossola-Locarno route will be totally unavailable and we would need to reroute from Brig to Bellinzona on the “Gotthard” to reach Locarno?

thanks again!

Bebe

Anna
Anna
2900 posts
expert &
moderator
May 30, 2022 - 3:02 AM in reply to Bebe

Hi Bebe,

The subsidence affects the Centovalli Railway between Domodossola and Locarno, specifically between Re and Camedo. There are bus replacements from Domodossola to Locarno at selected times. Also, local trains still operate between Domodossola and Re, and between Locarno and Camedo.

More information here: www.vigezzinacentovalli.com/en/news-eventi/Bus-sostitutivi.html

Regards,

Anna

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 30, 2022 - 11:10 AM in reply to Anna

<removed by moderator>

The facts are:

The mountainside between Camedo and Re is clearly suffering from major subsidence.

The state of the road surface that can be seen in the area on street view (even before the latest information) shows evidence of how the road is suffering. On this section the road and railway cling to a very narrow ledges on a steep hillside .

The road is closed, so even if you take a local train Domodossola - Re, you cannot get from Re to Camedo to pick up the Swiss local train Camedo - Locarno.

We are still not clear about which route the bus will take, it could go either:

1) Locarno - Maggiore lake shore (road SS34) - Cannobio - (road SP75) Spoccia - Malesco - then to Domo on the normal route (online mapping shows 2 hours 24 journy time)

2) Locarno - Maggiore lake shore (SS34) - Verbania - direct to Domo (1 hour 30 by road)

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 30, 2022 - 11:48 AM in reply to Bebe

See my new post clarifying the situation, plus:

You have a number of choices

1) Interlaken - Luzern - Gotthard - Locarno

2) Interlaken - Brig - Domosossola - replacement bus to Locarno

3) Interlaken - Brig - Andermatt - Goeschenen - Gotthard - Locarno

4) the most unusual alternative would be to bus over the Nufenen Pass, so you would go Brig - Oberwald - Nufenen Pass - Airolo - Locarno. This would give you a trip over a rarely mentioned pass road, and also give you the spirals on the south ramp of the Gotthard mountain line

Nufenen pass timetable here:

www.fahrplanfelder.ch/fileadmin/fap_pdf_fields/2022/62.111.pdf

Last modified on May 30, 2022 - 11:50 AM by 1960man
Bebe
Bebe
22 posts
new member
May 30, 2022 - 10:20 PM

Thank you, 1960man & Anna!

Appreciate all the info on the Centovalli railway issues. Thanks for the route option suggestions too! I’d prefer taking the Interlaken-Brig-Domodossola route & then bus to Locarno. However, I’m concerned about coordinating times with the train arrival and bus departure. I’m sure the SBB timetable will be updated with any additions and/or changes due to the repairs. All in all, it sounds like it will be a lot of extra travel time from Interlaken to Locarno with the bus route, although it may be very scenic driving close to Lake Maggiore, where we had planned a boat excursion to some of the islands. If you have any other tips or suggestions, I’d be more than appreciative.

Bebe

Anna
Anna
2900 posts
expert &
moderator
May 31, 2022 - 6:31 AM in reply to Bebe

Hi Bebe,

I think the bus ride along the lakes might actually be more scenic. However do take note that there are only a few replacement buses daily operating non-stop between Domodossola and Locarno. According to the announcement, the buses depart Domodossola at 10:25, 15:25, 19:36 (except on Fridays and Sundays) and 20:36. So please plan ahead.

Regards,

Anna

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
May 31, 2022 - 8:46 AM

The way this situation is being managed is really quite bizarre. I'm not sure what would happen if the problem was wholly within Switzerland, but the cross-border nature of this railway line, with separate Swiss and Italian companies seems to be making the management of this issue more problematic, as follows:

The SBB online timetable has a note advising that online schedules will not be modified for this closure.

There is still no information on how long the replacement bus will take. However it seems almost certain that the bus will take the faster route, which online mapping sites indicates a journey time of 1 hour 29 minutes. This is in fact faster than the train would normally be...

Very odd also that the replacement bus will not operate on Fridays and Sundays - why not?!

Arno
Arno
15021 posts
expert &
moderator
May 31, 2022 - 9:37 AM in reply to 1960man

I see what you mean. Things might have been clearer if they took place within Swiss borders ;-). The Swiss timetable usually perfectly incorporates such changes and I too was surprised it's not the case this time. I guess they depend on information provided by the Italian railway company involved.

Bebe
Bebe
22 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2022 - 12:59 AM

Hi again!

With the Centovalli railway under some repairs, do you foresee any problem in getting from Interlaken to Brig on the Regio Loschberger train and then to Domodossola, with catching bus there to Locarno if the train and bus times are coordinated? I like to travel “as the crow flies” and don’t want to go to Lucerne to connect with the Gotthard train as that seems going out of the way. Am I mistaken in looking at the map routes?

1960man, what is your advice? I want to do the fastest route and I realize you have suggested some options. I’m not interested in the “panoramic” trains.

Thanks,

Bebe

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
Jun 1, 2022 - 10:07 AM in reply to Bebe

If you are not interested in 'panoramic trains' then you don't need to travel from Brig over the mountain route on the Regio Express Lotschberger. You could take the fastest inter city route, which is via Luzern and the Gotthard base tunnel:

Interlaken - Luzern (change) - Bellinzona (change) - Locarno

However, this itinerary still gives you scenic views as follows:

Interlaken - Luzern over the quite scenic Brunig Pass railway

Luzern - Bellinzona has scenic views north and south of the base tunnel section (ie Luzern - Altdorf and Biasca - Bellinzona

And don't forget the Gotthard base tunnel is an experience in itself. You will be able to tell people you have travelled through the longest traffic tunnel in the world (57km)

Bebe
Bebe
22 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2022 - 5:05 PM in reply to 1960man

There clearly is no wrong route choice, and the experience of going through the long tunnel is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Time-wise, do you know exactly how long it takes in the tunnel?

Appreciate all the info! Incidentally, I’ve enjoyed reading the interesting “myth-buster” posts on the different trains and routes!

Thanks so much!

Bebe

1960man
1960man
3626 posts
expert
Jun 1, 2022 - 8:57 PM in reply to Bebe

The GBT travel time is - spectacularly - just 20 minutes - for 57km!

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