Trains have been around for a long time already, marking the height of industrialization. However, the railway of these trains dates back as early as the 16th century. These railways are also preceded by wagonways, also known as tramways. The first wagonway was developed in the 1550s, by the Germans to facilitate the transport of ore to and from mines. The first railway ever recorded, Wollaton Wagonway, was built in around 1604. From this, trains accelerated and progressed through the years. Now we have bullet trains that are well-known for their alacrity. We always associate trains with speed, but did you ever ask yourself what is the slowest express train in the world?
The slowest express train is found in the small and landlocked country of the Swiss Alps. Switzerland is known for its trains as a major transportation to explore and appreciate the beauty of its natural attractions, the alpine scenery. The trains of Switzerland connect its cities, remote regions and valleys, and towns such as St. Moritz in Upper Engadin and Zermatt in the Valais. The train connecting these two towns is recognized for its unusual speed, or should we say slowness. So what is this train? What is the slowest express train in the world? It is the Glacier Express.
The Glacier Express is operated by the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) and Rhaetian Railway (RhB). This express train first ran into business in the 1930s and was originally operated by three railway companies: Furka Oberalp Bahn, Brig-Visp-Zermatt Bahn, and the RhB. In 1981, the operations of the Glacier Express were put to an end with the final closure of the Furka Oberalp (FO) line during the winter of that year. However, in June 1982, the FO line was replaced by a newly established line, the Furka Base Tunnel. This allowed the Glacier Express to be operated again and on a year-round basis. The Glacier Express was relaunched and is now a major tourist attraction in the alpine country.
The train ride down the Glacier Express railway lasts for about 7 ½ hours. This railway journey covers around 300 bridges and 90 tunnels within 200 km. In the year 2005, more than 250,000 passengers enjoyed a travel around the Swiss Alps aboard this express train. These passengers recognize the fact that a ride on the Glacier Express and an appreciation of Swiss culture and landscape can easily be done within a day. The slow speed of the train also adds up to the perfect opportunity of capturing these natural wonders through one’s lenses; talk about picture-perfect.