Europe’s highest railway at the time
August Haag was 45 years old when he stood on the Gornergrat in front of many excited faces on 20 August 1898. Born in Stuttgart, he was a partner in the construction company Haag & Greulich, which was involved in the two-year construction of the Gornergrat Railway.
An opening celebration
At 10 am on this bright blue summer day, the first scheduled train left Zermatt for the Gornergrat.
“Welcome here to where, not long ago, there was still a lot of snow lying. We have brought you up here on a pleasant trip on Europe’s highest mountain railway. The railway has been created safely. With a clear conscience, we can now hand it over for public transport. So now – enjoy the great spectacle that is on offer here,” said Haag at the opening ceremony.
Just over two hours later, August Haag was able to enjoy the ride down. He watched many guests admiring the new facility and enjoying the smooth ride on the train.
A day of praise
After the banquet, which took place in the evening at the Hotel Mont Cervin in Zermatt, several speakers paid tribute to the work and achievements of the various participants. Workers and contributors received thanks, and former National Councillor Ernest Francillon hoped that share prices would soon follow the curves of the railway.
Magnificent lighting with fireworks, bonfires and headlights, all in honour of the Gornergrat Railway, rounded off the opening ceremony. A moment that Haag would never forget until his last day at work.
Newspaper reports on the opening of the Gornergrat Bahn
Le Confédéré ¦ Walliser Bote ¦ La Gazette