Switzerland is the second most mountainous country in Western Europe (after Andorra), and is also best known for its formidable engineering feats.
The Swiss have known how to overcome the challenges posed by the rugged terrain of their country with formidable bridges and tunnels for their roads and railways. One of its most impressive railway works is underground and, at the same time, at an altitude of 3,454 metres. This is the Jungfraujoch station, an impressive mountain pass located between the tops of the Jungfrau and Mönch mountains and on the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais. It is the European railway station located at the highest altitude.
The station is located on the south side of the Jungfraujoch and most of its facilities are underground, including the railway that leads to it. It is not the only station in Switzerland at such a high altitude: Gornergrat, at 3,090 meters, is the highest open-air station in Europe. These two stations are part of an exclusive world club of 12 stations located at more than 3,000 meters. Right now the highest is that of Tanggula, in communist China, at 5,068 meters.
The construction of this railway line began in 1896 and the Jungfraujoch station was inaugurated on August 1, 1912. The station has three tracks and two platforms, and is connected to the town of Kleine Scheidegg through a 9.3-kilometre railway line. 80% of this line is underground.
This extraordinary railway line allowed the construction of another of the jewels of Swiss engineering: the Jungfraujoch Observatory, located at 3,571 meters and which is the second highest observation platform in Switzerland. The interest of scientists in the Jungfraujoch began in 1920, when they began to settle in rooms dug into the ice. The observatory was inaugurated in 1937, and in 1967 it was equipped with a 76-centimeter lens. diameter.
Today, the Sphinx Observatory is still active and has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Switzerland, next to the Jungfraujoch station. Another of the attractions of this mountain are the tunnels dug in the ice in 1934, which can be visited by tourists. Of course, properly sheltered, since the maximum temperature inside them is -2º Celsius.
For a quick tour of the Sphinx Observatory, Jungfraujoch Station and Ice Tunnels, check out this awesome video from Jungfrau Railways takes you through them in just over a minute from a drone view (WARNING: if you suffer from vertigo, the video may make you dizzy):
If you want to explore the Jungfraujoch more calmly, you can watch this video from the channel Aplins in the Alps showing the observatory, station and ice tunnels:
Main photo Martin Stoppler.
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