Jungfraujoch. The Top of Europe.
The Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Three peaks at the top of the Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps.
The fable is that the Mönch (Monk) which is in the middle protects the Jungfrau (young woman) from the Eiger (Ogre). Mountain lore.
Jungfraujoch is a train station, observatory, and restaurant on the shoulder of the Mönch. The entire area is served by a network of electric trains and various cable cars and tramways. But Jungfraujoch is at the top. To get there the train leaves the high plateau station at Kleine Scheidegg and climbs up to a tunnel of more than four miles through the Eiger and the Mönch. The station at the top is inside the mountain in a great hall. The buildings outside the station provide views and access to the ice fields for tourists from around the world.
These mountain trains and cable cars are mind-boggling engineering accomplishments. The remote and extreme terrain at high altitude would challenge any engineering/construction enterprise today. But the electric train through the four mile tunnel (blasted through the mountains) to Jungfraujoch began operation in 1912! The rail line began extending up the mountains from Kleine Scheidegg in 1898.
Moving the concrete and steel to those locations and constructing the intricate electrical systems and rail bed was a great achievement during the early years of the 1900’s.
The train ride is expensive. When the winds howl and the rain and snow pelt the buildings there is no visibility at the top. That was the case when we were there in the spring. So we did not get to photograph at the top. Each morning during our visit I would get up before dawn and go to the train station in Wengen to check the weather. The video displays from the cameras at the top told the disappointing story each morning.
The photo above shows the train to Jungfraujoch in the station at Kleine Scheidegg. There are more photos of Switzerland in galleries. Please follow the Photography link above.