Last trip on the old Grindelwald-Männlichen aerial gondola
This Sunday, 31 March 2019, the venerable Grindelwald-Männlichen (GGM) aerial gondola ended its service after more than 40 years. At 18:15 h, the last 4-passenger gondola of the once longest aerial gondola in the world arrived at the valley station in Grindelwald Grund. As early as December 2019, the new GGM will be reopened as part of the V-Cableway project.
Today's GGM was put into operation on 23 December 1978. At more than six kilometres in length, it was considered the longest aerial gondola in the world. After more than 40 years of operation, the GGM will be dismantled after the end of the 2018/2019 winter sports season. On Sunday, 31 March 2019, the last operating day of the old train was celebrated on the Männlichen with invited guests, former employees and media. “An emotional and dignified day, where all the good memories of the old train and the joy of the new train can be celebrated together,” says Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Board of GGM.
In around eight months, on 14 December 2019, the new GGM will reopen. The replacement of the GGM by a modern 10-seater gondola is part of the V-Cableway generation project of the Jungfrau Railways and the Männlichen Railway. At the same time, another element of the project will go into operation with the “Grindelwald Terminal” station of the Bernese Oberland Railway. “The partial opening of the V-Cableway with the new GGM and the direct public transport connection will already bring a significant increase in quality for winter sports guests,” says Urs Kessler, CEO of Jungfrau Railways.
Lights out and new construction At 18:15 h, it was “lights out” for the old Grindelwald-Männlichen aerial gondola. GGM Chairman Andreas Kaufmann, GGM CEO Daniel Zihlmann and Jungfrau Railways CEO Urs Kessler arrived with the last gondola at the valley station in Grindelwald Grund on early Sunday evening. After that, the power was turned off. Starting tomorrow, Monday 1 April 2019, the construction and assembly work for the new 10-person aerial gondola will continue. At the same time, the old gondolas will be taken off the cables.
All gondolas sold The venerable 4-person gondolas were put up for sale. Interested parties rushed to buy, with all 230 gondolas snapped up over a year ago. “We had inquiries from France, Germany, England and Russia. Several dealers also wanted to buy the entire stock in one go,” recalls Daniel Zihlmann. Overall, the GGM received 1,500 purchase requests as of last week. The gondolas will be lined up in the GGM car park on Wednesday, 3 April 2019, where they will be picked up by the buyers from 08.00 h. Some of them will remain in Grindelwald.
V-Cableway on track At the major construction site of the V-Cableway in Grindelwald Grund, Jungfrau Railways CEO Urs Kessler reported on the construction progress. “The winter months were challenging. Thanks to additional winter construction measures, however, we have been able to meet the tight schedule for the 470-million Swiss franc project,” says Kessler. The construction work is currently on track. The project managers are convinced that the new GGM as well as the Bernese Oberland Railway “Grindelwald Terminal” stop will be put into operation on time on 14 December 2019. The “Eigerexpress” tricable gondola, including car park and terminal with shops and ski depots, will be opened on 12 December 2020.
V-Cableway project information
Replacement of Grindelwald-Männlichen aerial gondola
Modern 10-person aerial gondola from the company Garaventa from Grindelwald Terminal to Männlichen with a track length of 6,100 m
Reducing the travel time from 30 to 19 minutes
Doubling of capacity from 900 to 1,800 persons per hour 111 gondolas and 33 supports
Joint terminal with Eiger Express at 937 m above sea level.
Männlichen summit station at 2,225 m above sea level.
Modern tricable gondola from the company Garaventa from Grindelwald Grund to the Eiger glacier with a track length of 6,483 m
15 minutes travel time with a picturesque journey in front of the Eiger north face
Transport capacity: 2,400 people per hour
44 gondolas with 28 seats, 7 supports
Joint terminal with GGM at 937 m above sea level.
Eiger Glacier summit station at 2,328 m above sea level with connection to the Jungfrau Railway and ski slopes
Terminal with shops, bistro, ski depots
Direct access to the “Grindelwald Terminal” public transport station of the Bernese Oberland Railway
Direct access to the car park with around 1,000 parking spaces
Separate entrances for groups and individual travellers