Work is reported to be underway on a huge upgrade to the rail and lift network in Switzerland’s iconic Jungfrau region, location of the classic ski resorts of Murren, Grindelwald and Wengen.
470 million Swiss Francs (about £370m) is being invested in the upgrades which are due to be complete ahead of the season after next, 2019-20.
The project, known as V Bahn, will increase capacity on routes up to Europe’s highest railway station, the Jungfraujoch, pictured above, and dramatically cut travel times. For example from Grindelwald Gmund to the Jungfraujoch will take 45 minutes, 43 minutes less than before so almost halving the journey time, or from the City of Bern the trip will take just over 2.5 hours, 49 minutes less than the previous 3.2 hours.
Key aspects of the project include the replacement of the old Grindelwald-Männlichen cable car at the end of this season. It will be replaced by a modern gondola with cabins for 10 people, doubling capacity on the route from 900 to 1,800 people per hour and reducing the ascent time from 30 to 19 minutes. The new lift will begin operating on 14 December 2019
The new Eigerexpress lift will also be installed with a capacity of 2,400 people/h and a travel time from Grindelwald Grund to the Eiger glacier of 15 minutes, it will start operating a year later in December 2020.
There will also be major other upgrades to the rail and bus network and associated buildings as part of the wider project.