Golden Spot auf dem Gornergrat

Travelling through different eras with locomotive 3

Story 97

Locomotives have a long service life. As the example of locomotive 3 from the opening collection shows, they not only provide an insight into the most important tasks of railway operations over the past 125 years, but also create an emotional bond with the Gornergrat Railway. 

In use from 1898 

On 24 November 1897, in preparation for the opening, the Gornergrat Railway carried out test rides with the first electric train composition on the line between Zermatt and Findelbach. The tests determined which changes had to be taken into account in the train compositions still to be delivered – locomotives 2 and 3. 

Working for passengers 

Equipped with the corresponding adaptations, locomotive 3 was in use from the opening summer of 1898 and transported Rowan carriages (passenger cars) with up to 110 people at 7.2 km/h and 180 hp to the Gornergrat. The journey took 90 minutes.  

In 1930 the locomotive was given new electric equipment and reached 260 hp. The improved performance meant the journey took just 70 minutes.

Damage caused by a snowslide 

On 11 April 1935, a snow slide near Findelbach damaged composition 3 during an empty run. Despite the damage, the employees managed to repair the locomotive. They had less luck with a Rowan carriage, which had to be demolished and replaced by a spare carriage.  

New task in winter 

In 1943, the Gornergrat Railway converted locomotive 3 for snowplough operation. The steady increase in winter tourism meant that snow clearing had to become more efficient. In 1944, the X51 centrifugal engine was used for the first time with locomotive 3. 

Use in freight transport 

Between 1947 and 1965, the Gornergrat Railway purchased twelve light alloy railcars. In order to eliminate difficulties in timetable design, the old Rowan compositions were no longer used in passenger transport from the summer of 1962. However, they continued to prove their worth in freight transport.

In 1973, the body of locomotive 3 was replaced and, once conversion was completed, it was given a new number: 3003. 

New task in the anniversary year 

A unique photo point was created on the summit of the Gornergrat as part of the 125th anniversary. To this end, the railway repaired the historic locomotive 3003 and showcased it, making it accessible to pedestrians by means of a themed trail. The seven-panel themed trail tells the story of the railway. With this trail, the Gornergrat Railway has created an additional experience for visitors on the summit.

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