The Wengernalp Railway (WAB) and the Schynige Platte Railway (SPB) are superlative mountain railways. While the WAB, at 19.11 kilometres, is the longest fully cogwheel railway in the world, the SPB is the only train in Switzerland to operate daily with vehicles from the early years of 1909-1914. Both opened in 1893 and are turning 125 years old. They will be celebrating a combined 250 years of mountain railway history in 2018.
To mark both anniversaries, the post office is introducing two stamps for sale. The CEO of Jungfrau Railways, Urs Kessler, and the Post Office Head of Product Management, Bernhard Kallen, both travelled to Kleine Scheidegg for the occasion on Thursday, 1 March 2018 on the brightly painted WAB anniversary train. They both revealed the oversized stamp design in front of invited guests and the media at 2,000 metres above sea level. A Schynige Platte Railway locomotive was also transported to the mountain on the WAB rail network for the ceremony. "We already had the privilege of accepting a special issue stamp from the post office in 2012 for the 100-year anniversary of Jungfrau Railways. We are proud that this honour is now also bestowed upon the WAB and SPB", said Urs Kessler.
Available from 1 March
The Schynige Platte Railway and Wengernalp Railway will be realistically depicted on the 1 franc stamp. They were designed by illustrator Fabienne Bertschinger. The stamps come in two small sheets, which together take the form of a travel journal from bygone days. When laid side by side, it appears as if they are bound by rings. The background forms the scene of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. "Stamps have always symbolised a piece of Switzerland and, just like Schynige Platte and Wengernalp Railways, they convey a sense of identity. Simultaneously modern and traditional – a piece of Switzerland", said Bernhard Kallen after unveiling both the stamps.
Both anniversary stamps are available from 1 March 2018 in all post office branches and at post-shop.ch. They have unlimited validity. They will be sold until March 2019, or while stocks last.
Facts and figures on the WAB and SPB:
Wengernalp Railway (WAB)
- June 1890: Granting of a concession by the Federal Assembly and granting of the construction contract to the company Pümpin & Herzog.
- 20 June 1893: Opening of the Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald route
- Construction contract to Pümpin & Herzog for CHF 4 million (established as a fixed price)
- Final construction bill: just under CHF 4.3 million
Length: 19.11 km – longest fully cogwheel railway in the world
Rack system Riggenbach-Pauli, today: slats rack system
Track gauge: 800 mm
1893 – 1909: First generation, steam operation:
16 cogwheel steam locomotives and 27 passenger cars. Number 1 has survived and operates to this day on the Brienzer Rothorn Railway route
1909 – 1947: Second generation:
15 He 2/2 electric locomotives and 46 passenger cars
1947 – 1988: Third generation:
24 electric railcars with 31 control and middle cars
1988 – today: Fourth generation:
10 modern panoramic railcars and 4 double railcars + 9 low-floor control cars, 2 freight locomotives
- 1893: From 20 June to 15 October (118 days)
- 1894: Extension of summer operation to 142 days
- Until 1910, the WAB was only in operation during the summer
- Today: The WAB is in operation 365 days a year
Visitor number and
Visitor numbers: 37,742 visitors
Price: CHF 9 per person (Lauterbrunnen – Kleine Scheidegg – Grindelwald)
Visitor numbers: 1,819,932 visitors (+4822% on 1893)
Price: CHF 61.80 per person 1893)
Schynige Platte Railway (SPB)
- 1870: Bern government official / district engineer Aebi and Federal Councillor Jakob Stämpfli propose a project for a railway from Interlaken to Schynige Platte.
- Construction firm Ott & Cie develops a project for a railway from Bönigen to Schynige Platte with normal track width
- 4/11/1871: Awarding of concession to engineers Naeff (St. Gallen) and interested parties for construction & operation of a railway from Interlaken to the "Gumihore" (Schynige Platte)
- Project fails. The reason: construction costs could not be raised
- 1887: First submission and modification of route for a train from Gsteig to Schynige Platte
- Sept. 1890: Awarding of concession by the Swiss Parliament
- 04/10/1890: Construction approval from Swiss authorities
- Construction contract awarded to Pümpin & Herzog
- 14 June 1893: official start of operations
- Construction contract to Pümpin & Herzog for CHF 2.85 million.
- Final construction bill: CHF 2.92 million
Length: 7,257 metres
Riggenbach-Pauli rack system
Track gauge: 800 mm
1893 – 1914: First generation, steam operation
6 steam locomotives, type H2/3 of SLM 1891 to 1894
Open passenger cars B4 1-6 from 1893
Steam locomotive no. 5 from 1894 and 4 cars still in operation today
Electrification to date: second generation
1913: Electric locomotives He 2/2 no. 11-14
1964-1996: Takeover of used WAB locomotives
1964-1970: Takeover of used WAB cars until 2002, partial reconstruction and modernisation
- At the time, the Schynige Platte Railway was only in operation during the summer season, just as it is today.
- Start time: 150 days
- Today, 156 days
- Opening times 2018: from 26 May to 28 October
Visitor number and
Visitor numbers: 21,404
Ticket price: CHF 10 per person (return)
Visitor numbers: 117,485 visitors (+549% on 1893)
Ticket price: CHF 64 per person, return (+640% on 1893)