Bahnhof Eismeer (Eismeer Railroad Station) – Grindelwald, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

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Bahnhof Eismeer (Eismeer Railroad Station)

Grindelwald, Switzerland

The second-highest train station in Europe. 

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This station can only be reached by train because it is located at an altitude of 3,159 meters (10,364 feet), directly in the Eiger mountain in the Bernese Alps. The station is the second-highest in Europe, and part of the Jungfrau Railway, which runs from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfrauenjoch. The destination station, the Jungfraujoch, is the highest station in Europe, located at 3,454 meters (11,332 feet). The main use of the train station Eismeer is to give passengers a view of the surrounding mountains.

Construction of the Jungfrau Railway began in 1896. The first section was completed in 1898. An additional section with a station followed every year, until the Eismeer station was opened on July 25, 1905. Since the initiator of the Jungfrau Railway, Adolf Guyer-Zeller, had died in the meantime and his successors, his sons, had financial difficulties, the Eismeer station remained the terminus for a few years until the Jungfrau station was completed in 1912.

The route runs over just nine kilometers (5.6 miles), approximately seven kilometers (4.3 miles) of which is inside the mountain. The train climbs some 1,400 meters (4,593 feet) in altitude, a journey which takes about 35 minutes. On the way up, the train has always stopped at Eismeer station, allowing passengers to enjoy the view. Today this stop lasts about five minutes. While initially there were only balconies with metal grilles on the viewing platforms, these are now completely covered for safety reasons.

From here, visitors have an exceptional view of the surrounding mountains and in particular of the Ischmeer glacier. In 1973, the Ischmeer glacier was 8.3 kilometers (5.1 miles) long. Due to global warming, the length of the glacier has shortened significantly. By 2015, the length had shrunk to just 6.2 kilometers (3.9 miles).

Originally there was another such station on this line, the Eigerwand station, right on the north face of the Eiger. This station opened on June 28, 1903, and was the terminus until the Eismeer station opened. The station can also only be reached by train, but has a door that leads directly out onto the cliff. This door played a major role for the rescuers during the Eiger North Face disaster in 1936, in which five climbers lost their lives.

Originally, the Jungfrau Railway stopped at two points, at the Eigerwand station and the Eismeer station. Since 2016 there is no longer a stop at the Eigerwand station, which has been abandoned. All that remains of this station is the light, which is still switched on every night. Anyone who sees a light in the north face of the Eiger at night knows that the abandoned Eigerwand train station is there.

Know Before You Go

The Eismeer Station can only be reached by train on the way up from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch. The train parts at Kleine Scheidegg about every two hours.

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March 11, 2022

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