From 1898 to 1900 the construction and setting up of the company was all organised by a single source. The company “Haag & Greulich” thus also provided the operations manager. In 1900, the Board of Directors of the Gornergrat Railway faced one of its most important decisions for the future.
Independent or third-party operation?
At the Extraordinary General Meeting of 28 December 1900, the shareholders decided to start operating the railway independently as of mid-1901 at the request of the Board of Directors. The operating contract with the construction company was terminated and they decided to advertise the position of Director of Operations.
The first Director of Operations is hired
Theodor Ammann, who was born in Oerlikon, read the Gornergrat Railway job advertisement in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung with great interest. The advertisement was for an electrical engineer with experience in railway operations. As a trained engineer and with his experience as an employee of the electricity company Alioth & Cie., he met the requirements. His employer in Basel was an important supplier of electrical equipment and vehicles for numerous metre-gauge railways. He decided to apply for the interesting and challenging position in the Zermatt mountains. He was delighted when the Board of Directors told him he had prevailed against 19 competitors, hiring him as Director of Operations.
Diverse job profiles
Shortly after taking up his post in April 1901, he got to know his staff well and was amazed by the different job profiles. Together with him, the Gornergrat Railway employed 33 people.
Theodor Ammann successfully managed the Gornergrat Bahn for 19 years. He died in May 1920 after a long illness. His position was temporarily taken over by engineer Briedel, director of the Anatolian railways.