Riffel Alptram

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Riffel Alptram
Riffelalptram with Matterhorn, June 2003
Riffelalptram with Matterhorn, June 2003
Gauge : 800 mm ( narrow gauge )
Power system : 550 V / 40 Hz (until 1961)  
Maximum slope : 50 
Top speed: 10 km / h
Route length up to 1961 : 469 m
Route length from 2001 : 675 m
Motor car until 1961
Number: 2
Length: 4.76 m
Width: 1.70 m
Weight: 2.3 t
Manufacturer Eisenwerke Bern
Construction year: 1899
Motor car from 2001
Number: 2
Length over buffers: 5.3 m
width 1.5 m
Empty weight 3.3 t
Seats 12
Standing room 10
battery 80 volts 320 Ah =
Manufacturer STIMBO electric vehicles Zermatt
Freight / baggage wagons (from 2001)
Number: 1
Length over buffers 5.82 m
Loading weight 2.5 t
battery 80 volts 320 Ah =

The Riffelalptram ( RiT ) is a 675 meter long narrow-gauge railway in the Swiss canton of Valais , which is advertised as “Europe's highest tram line ”. It leads from the Riffelalp station of the Gornergratbahn to 2211  m above sea level. M. Höhe to the Hotel Riffelalp and is only open from mid-June to mid-October. The track width is 800 millimeters.


When planning the route for the Gornergratbahn, the Hotel Riffelalp could not be connected directly. The cogwheel railway has passed a few hundred meters from the hotel since 1898. In order to give guests a comfortable way to the hotel, the hotel pioneer Alexander Seiler planned a short connection road to the nearby mountain railway station. However, disputes between Seiler and the municipality of Zermatt prevented the acquisition of the land intended for the road. As a result, Seiler applied for a license for a railway line, which was immediately granted to him by the Federal Council. Now the people of Zermatt had to give in and sell Seiler the land he needed, as the concession also gave him the right to expropriate the land he needed.

The Riffelalptram was opened on July 13, 1899 after a short construction period. The line originally had a length of 469 meters and was operated via a two-pole catenary with 550 volts three-phase current.

Until 1960, the railway only ran in the summer season, in winter - provided the Gornergrat Railway was also in operation - horse-drawn sleighs drove. After the hotel burned to the ground on the night of February 14th to 15th, 1961, rail operations were stopped; the last day of operation was on September 30, 1960. The vehicles survived the fire undamaged and were subsequently set up in Zermatt.

During the construction work for a new hotel, which began in 1998, the Riffelalptram should also be put back into operation. However, due to the long break in operation, a complete renewal of the tracks was necessary. The track width was retained, but the route was extended to its current length and provided with a turning loop . The overhead line could not be restored because of the legal requirements that have now existed. The two rebuilt vehicles therefore draw their energy from accumulators . The line was reopened on June 15, 2001, and the train runs from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


  • Wolfgang Finke: The vehicles of the Zermattbahnen in over 1100 vehicle drawings. (A book on DVD). Tram-tv publishing house, Cologne 2010, ISBN 978-3-9813669-0-7 .
  • Florian Inäbnit: Riffelalp Tram; Then and now . Buffer stop Druck & Verlag, Leissigen 2005, ISBN 3-907579-34-8 ,
  • Florian Inäbnit: Mürren tram, Riffelalp electric tram and Bellavista horse-drawn tram . Prellbock Druck & Verlag, Leissigen 1995.
  • Hans G. Wägli: Swiss rail network and Swiss rail profile CH + , in a slipcase. AS Verlag , Zurich, 2010, ISBN 978-3-909111-74-9 .

Web links

Commons : Riffelalptram  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 46 ° 0 '11 "  N , 7 ° 45' 5.5"  E ; CH1903:  six hundred and twenty-four thousand two hundred thirty-nine  /  94659