A new CHF47m combined rail, bus and gondola station has opened at the Swiss ski area of Fiesch, which sits below Europe’s largest glacier, Aletsch.
The new three-level facility sees buses arrive at the base level, trains on the mid-level and an all new state-of-the-art 10 seat-cabin gondola departing from the top level to the ski slopes. With the floors inter-connected by lifts and escalators it makes for a seamless connection from Switzerland’s famously comfortable and efficient rail and bus network to the slopes. All facilities have been designed to ensure accessibility for disabled visitors.
The project involved rail operator the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn moving Fiesch’s main railway station 400 metres north of the old station’s site. The new gondola up from the hub to the Eggishorn is the fastest ion Switzerland to date, travelling at 7 metres per second. Built by Garaventa it features the latest Omega V cabins with floor to ceiling glass and climbs 1,144 vertical metres up from the hub to the middle of the slopes.
The new hub opened at the weekend which also marked the start of the AletschArena’s ski season. The ski area is not especially well known on the British market with no tour operators going here but deserves to be more popular with 104km of family-friendly skiing, as well as plenty to challenge expert skiers, and great nursery slopes and ski schools for first-timers. From the top of the area there are views to the Matterhorn and spectacular views of the biggest glacier in the Alps.
The opening event included an abseiling Santa arriving from one of the old lifts with a key to the new one, and the traditional blessing of the new facility by a priest
Officially named the ‘OV-Hub F1’ the facility, which also includes ticket and information offices, a large and well-equipped ski shop and a stylish bar-restaurant, I believed to be unique in Switzerland.
Despite its significance to the future of Fiesch, it is also just the first part of a larger project with ‘Hub-F2’ already in the works which will see a connection to neighbouring Bellwald.
The new Hub makes it every easy to reach and then ski or board at Fiesch from anywhere in Europe. For British skiers Daniel Elkan who runs ski-holidays-by-rail site SnowCarbon offered this route option,
“Depart London St Pancras on the 07:52 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord; change to Paris Gare de Lyon and take the 12:22 TGV to Basel, then the 15:58 InterCity train to Bern and then the 17:06 InterCity to Brig, and then the 18:23 regional train to Fiesch, arriving at 18:55.”