• Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe
  • Winter sports
  • Experience Mountains
  • Auxiliary Operations
  • Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe

    Business model and environment

    The Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe business segment is the company’s strategic core. The main attraction is the highest railway station in Europe, located 3,454 metres above sea level within the Swiss Alpine Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can experience a high-Alpine world amidst imposing mountain peaks, glaciers and snow. The cogwheel railway, which goes from Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald to the high-Alpine meeting point at Kleine Scheidegg and continues through the massifs of Eiger up to the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, takes visitors from the world over to Switzerland’s main tourist attractions. Since 5 December 2020, the tricable cableway Eiger Express takes the guests in only 15 minutes from Grindelwald Terminal to the Eiger Glacier station, where they can transfer directly to the Jungfrau Railway.  With its presence and research results, the International High Alpine Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat Research Station Foundation contributes to the attractiveness of the Jungfraujoch. Due to the corona crisis, the segment revenue of the financial year 2020 merely amounted to CHF 69.2 million, almost 54% less than in the previous year (CHF 149.8 million).

    Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is a comprehensive nature experience that is marketed as an integrated one-stop offering. Only a few supplementary and ancillary services are added as partner services (e.g. mountaineering, snow fun and Mönchsjochhütte tours). Following the full integration of the catering facilities on Kleine Scheidegg at the end of 2017, the restaurants on Jungfraujoch and Eiger Glacier were also integrated at the end of 2019. Under normal circumstances, Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is open 365 days a year. To ensure the quality of the offering, the number of visitors is limited, and a seat reservation system as well as modern rolling stock of the Jungfrau Railway and the Wengernalp Railway provide maximum travel comfort.

    Market assessment based on results

    The financial year 2020 was overshadowed by the corona pandemic. Following a very good start with plenty of visitors in January, the Jungfrau railway stood still for an extended period from mid-March, a situation that had not been witnessed since World War I. On 6 June 2020, after almost three months, Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe re-opened its gates to its visitors. The good weather during the summer months attracted many Swiss visitors to the Jungfrau region. For the first time, the deployment of the rolling stock and of the personnel was planned on a short-term basis according to the weather conditions. To meet visitor needs in the best way possible, the Jungfrau Corona Pass was launched in summer. With this pass, visitors were able to enjoy unlimited tours on the Jungfrau Railways routes and to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe until the end of November 2020.

    Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the closure for 83 days, only some 362,800 visitors came to visit Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe in the year under review. This corresponds to the average number of visitors back in the 1980s. The resulting transport revenue amounted to CHF 41.5 million, a year-on-year slump of almost 66%.

    Thanks to the go-live of the tricable cableway Eiger Express, the trip to Jungfraujoch has become much faster, providing visitors with a more suitable, flexible travel experience. The new railway underlines the long-term strategic orientation of the Jungfrau Railway Group and strengthens the company’s position in the international arena, even in times of great uncertainty.

    The integration of the catering businesses along our main axis to Jungfraujoch represents the next step of the rollout of our strategy to become an integrated tourism enterprise with the goal to offer guests a one-stop tour programme including catering services. Two years ago, the first business, Bergrestaurant Kleine Scheidegg, was transferred to Jungfrau Gastronomie AG. On 1 November 2019, the group assumed operation of the restaurants on Jungfraujoch and Eiger Glacier. The catering business was also severely affected by the measures to curb the corona pandemic. Some of the facilities were closed, guest restrictions were introduced or the services were limited to take-away offerings. The official measures and the lower demand resulted in a loss of CHF 2.6 million in this field.

    The Jungfrau Railway Group is constantly expanding its souvenir business. On 5 December 2020, a new Top of Europe shop opened in the Grindelwald terminal. The new shop joins the line-up of shops on Jungfraujoch, on First as well as the flagship store in Interlaken, which had been established in 2019. The shops were greatly affected by the measures to curb the pandemic. Apart from the partial closure, the sharp decline in the number of visitors and the focus of the product range on foreign tourists, which hardly appeals to Swiss visitors, resulted in a revenue slump of 70%. In 2020, Top of Europe shops generated revenue of CHF 2.6 million.

    Winter sports

    Business model and environment

    The Jungfrau Ski Region is a joint venture in which the Jungfrau Railway Group holds more than 60%. The Jungfrau Ski Region fare network, which covers the sub-areas of Grindelwald-First, Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen and Mürren-Schilthorn, comprises 12 companies. With their tickets, sports enthusiasts can use the facilities throughout the destination. In terms of the number of visitors and skiing mileage, the ski area is one of the largest in Switzerland.

    The Jungfrau Ski Region earns approximately half of its winter sports income from visitors who spend their winter holidays in the area. The region’s breath-taking nature and diversified range of slopes with a variety of long valley runs are renowned around the globe. The ski areas are directly accessible from the historic holiday resorts of Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren. The region also features superb winter hiking and sledging offering. In view of the high demand, this offering has been continually expanded.

    Day-trippers, who account for the other half of the winter sports customers, are more focused on the sporting activities. This results in a need to ensure the quality of the slopes and the capacity of the access and transport routes (e.g. parking). The focus on children remains strong. In the winter of 2019/2020, the “Kids Ride Free on Saturdays” promotion was used 11,883 times. The Jungfrau Ski Region has also taken part in the “Kids4free” campaign of Switzerland Tourism, which aims at making skiing more attractive for families and children.

    Jungfrau Railways is the specialist for access and service facilities, slopes and fun parks in the ski area. The others parts of the value chain are covered only partially or in cooperation with other providers. We offer rental equipment within the scope of a joint venture with local sports retailers, the Intersport Rent Network. Thus, we cooperate closely with regional businesses, hotels, retailers and local tourism organisations.

    Market assessment based on results

    Despite the abrupt end of the winter sports season on 14 March 2020, the entire Jungfrau ski region merely recorded a year-on-year decline of 16% in the number of guest visits. The Jungfrau Railway Group generated transport revenue of of CHF 22.2 million (previous year: CHF 23.5 million) from the winter sports business.

    In the highly competitive and saturated winter sports market, destinations with guaranteed snow, good quality, a variety of pistes and high standards enjoy a solid position. New offerings and price models can accommodate the trend towards short-termism and spontaneity. At the same time, however, offerings that bind customers at an early stage or for a longer time period are becoming increasingly important. In this context, the fact that the Jungfrau Ski Region cooperates with the major ski areas of the Bernese Oberland and has launched a season pass that is very inexpensive when purchased in advance (Top4 for CHF 777) plays an important role. Due to the ongoing uncertainty as to whether the ski regions would be permitted to assume or continue operations during the coronavirus pandemic, advance season pass sales (including Top4) were weaker than in past years, though a money-back guarantee was introduced in view of the extraordinary situation. Thus, a pro-rata refund was guaranteed in the event of a lockdown and resulting closure of all Top4 ski areas from 1 December 2020 to 5 April 2021. Up to 24 December 2020, some 28,400 Top4 passes were sold (previous year: 42,200).  

    The winter sports business with guests is affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting drop in hotel occupancy. The Jungfrau Railway Group continues to promote this business by continually improving the integration of touristic services. In particular, efforts are made to supplement the value chain. In this connection, the Jungfrau Railway Group – as an integrated tourism company – continues to expand its activity spectrum in the value chain with the new V-Cableway terminal, namely by improving the services in the field of ski storage rental, ski school and catering services for winter sports enthusiasts. On 5 December 2020, the Eiger Express went live, enabling an early start of the winter sports season – a positive sign in this time that is so difficult for the tourism sector.

    Start into 2021

    The number of guest visits to the Jungfrau Ski Region from 1 January to 28 February 2021 underwent a decline of 30% (previous year: leap year with 29 days in February). The Jungfrau Railway Group is committed to continuous quality improvement. Thanks to the go-live of the entire Grindelwald terminal and of the new tricable cableway Eiger Express railway on 5 December 2020 and the resulting direct connection to public transport, travel times have become much shorter. For winter sports guests, this means more comfort and more time on the slopes of the Jungfrau Ski Region. However, due to the closure of the catering facilities in late 2020 by official order, this potential could not be utilised. Especially on cold days, the average time that the guests spent in the ski area dropped significantly due to the closure of the restaurants.

    Experience Mountains

    Business model and environment

    The Experience Mountains are a strategic ancillary offering. The mountain railways and the adventure worlds, some of which have been specially created and maintained by these railways, form a solid basis for the local tourism industry and the agriculture networked with it. They thus create added value for the entire region by providing a reason to stay longer in the area, to stay overnight or to spend a traditional sports and hiking holiday. In the effectively strengthened, intact and vibrant environment, our primary offering Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, too, can be positioned more successfully.

    The Experience Mountains segment includes the following attractions:

    •    Grindelwald-First, Top of Adventure
    •    Harder Kulm, Top of Interlaken
    •    Winteregg-Mürren, Top of Family

    The Jungfrau Railway Group supplements its offering with the following partnerships: Kleine Scheidegg-Eiger Glacier (from the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe segment), Schynige Platte Railway (a railway of the alliance partner Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG), Grindelwald-Männlichen gondola (shareholding of 35.5%), the Wengen-Männlichen cable car and Grindelwald bus. The multi-day Jungfrau Travel Pass is available as a connecting element. This opens up the wide range of excursion destinations for guests and is valid for up to six consecutive days.

    Market assessment based on results

    All Experience Mountains, which include excursion transport to Harder Kulm, First and Winteregg-Mürren, the Jungfrau Railway Group, suffered a painful earnings decline. The total transport income slumped by 50%. Year on year, Harder Railway recorded a decline of 56.8% in transport income, First Railway lost 47.2%, and the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren Mountain Railway incurred a loss of 46.5%. In total, the Experience Mountains generated transport income of CHF 12.6 million.

    To keep the Experience Mountains attractive even during the corona crisis, the Jungfrau Corona Pass was launched in summer, as already mentioned above in the information on the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe segment. With this pass, visitors were able to enjoy unlimited tours on the railway routes until the end of November 2020. Short-term visitors were offered the Top of Europe Pass, which enabled an unlimited number of rides on three consecutive days in the realm of the Jungfrau Railways (including one return trip to Jungfraujoch). From November 2020, this offering was followed by the Jungfrau Corona Winter Pass, which offers all visitors who do not engage in skiing or snowboarding an alternative to the season pass.


    Weather plays an important role in determining the demand in this segment. However, in terms of the meteorological conditions, the segment’s products are positioned very favourably, and combinations with the other segments can also be offered. The deployment of the personnel is planned on a short-term basis in order to enable a flexible, quick response to weather conditions. This good constellation provides a basis to hope for a more positive performance in the financial year 2021.

    Auxiliary Operations

    Power Station

    The power station supports the independence of the Jungfrau Railway Group with regard to energy, one of the most important resources, and provides services in the field of energy supply. With an annual output of 60 GWh, the balance for 2020 is positive, especially in view of the fact that the two machines stood still for six weeks in winter for a major overhaul.

    Parking Lauterbrunnen

    Thanks to its excellent location at the railway junction, the Lauterbrunnen multi-storey car park is the central hub for transfers between individual transport and the car-free resorts of Mürren and Wengen. In the reporting year, the car park utilisation averaged 68.1%, a year-on-year increase of 0.6%. Rental income in 2020 amounted to CHF 2.3 million. The Lauterbrunnen multi-storey car park was the only operation of the Jungfrau Railway Group that did not suffer from the corona crisis, as many visitors preferred to come by car rather than by public transport.

    Jungfraubahnen Management AG

    Jungfraubahn Holding AG holds Jungfraubahnen Management AG for the provision of the management infrastructure as well as services of specialist and support units. The most important asset of this company is the central IT infrastructure of Jungfrau Railways. The compensation of CHF 4.8 million that Jungfraubahnen Management AG receives from third parties for its services results from cost allocation, especially from the collaboration with Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG and direct billing of services. This company increasingly also generates commission income from online sales, especially of tickets.