Jungfrau Railways and the Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway plan to jointly develop a V-Cableway that provides access to both the Männlichen and the Eigergletscher. The Y Project was cancelled in favour of the new railway.
There is a plan for two branches of the valley station in Grindelwald Grund to lead to the two mountain stations. Gondolas with 27 seats will depart every 40 seconds from the valley station, transporting guests to and from the Eigergletscher. A cable railway with eight seats will travel between the same valley station and Männlichen. In order to facilitate arrival by public transport, an additional stop for the Bernese Oberland Railway is being built in the Rothenegg area of Grindelwald. This will allow passengers arriving by train to transfer directly to the V-Cableway and to avoid the unnecessary detour to Grindelwald village. The travel times will be reduced. In the future, you will be able to reach the Eigergletscher and Männlichen from Bern in less than two hours. Those travelling from Bern to the Jungfraujoch will arrive at the highest railway station in Europe in two and a half hours, 50 minutes earlier than today.
Various railway alternatives tested
The concession for the existing Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway expires in 2016. For this reason, Jungfrau Railways has been rethinking the development of the ski region and the Jungfraujoch. In June 2011, they submitted the proposal to build a Y-shaped railway in conjunction with the Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway. This would have branched at an intermediate station and been accessible from Grindelwald Grund as well as Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg. The Y-rail project was met with resistance from landowners and mountain communities. The project was also problematic from an ecological perspective. A work group was set up with representatives of the Jungfrau Railways, the Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway and the affected mountain communities for the examination various railway alternatives. The authorities were involved in the discussions led by the governor of Interlaken-Oberhasli. The clarifications revealed that the construction of a V-Cableway is feasible and the environment would be less affected than with a Y-Cableway. Therefore, the Y-project has been withdrawn. In order for the two companies to realise the V-Cableway, the branch to Männlichen will be built on the site of the current Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway, and the branch to the Eigergletscher will be built outside the "Itramenwald" wildlife preserve.
It is planned that the Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway and Jungfrau Railways will jointly finance the valley station. The branch to Männlichen will be operated by the Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway and the branch to the Eigergletscher will be operated by Jungfrau Railways. The two companies expect that the project will cost a total of approximately 200 million francs. There will be savings due to synergy effects.
Jungfrau Railways will require nine fewer offices because of the V-Cableway. In addition, they will also reduce their headcount by an additional 33 positions, as they will procure new rolling stock and adapt operations accordingly. Redundancies are not expected, however. Jungfrau Railways will reduce the number of positions through attrition and retirements. It is expected that tourism in the Jungfrau region will be stimulated by the V-Cableway and that additional jobs will be created as a result.
The planning application will be submitted within the next year for the intended inauguration of the V-Cableway in 2016. The branches may possibly be put into operation somewhat gradually. Jungfrau Railways and the Grindelwald-Männlichen Cable Railway place importance on leading an intensive dialogue with the affected landowners, mountain communities, authorities, environmental protection and conservation organisations.
New rolling stock
Jungfrau Railways will coordinate the operational concept of Wengernalp Railway with the new cable railway. In the future, a portion of the passengers will be transported by the V-Cableway instead of the Wengernalp Railway. The cogwheel railway's capacity will be reduced due to the changeover. Jungfrau Railways will continue to operate the Wengernalp Railway's existing lines and acquire six additional panoramic trains. The rolling stock from the 1940s will no longer be used. Having direct access to the Eigergletscher station with the V-Cableway will also affect the Jungfrau Railway's operational concept. Its capacity should increase by 20 per cent, and at the same time reduce travel times. In order to make this possible, four three-part low-floor articulated railcars will be purchased for Jungfrau Railways.
Urs Kessler, CEO Jungfrau Railways +41 (0)79 407 90 52
Andreas Kaufmann, GGM Board President +41 (0)79 445 03 07