Gotthard Mountain Route Cab Ride
I just returned from my eight day Swiss train riding trip that included a cab ride in an Re4/4 II (11191) pulling a southbound "Gotthard Weekender" train. The train actually started in Zürich but the cab ride began in Flüelen and ended in Bellinzona. It cost me CHF 490. Here are some of my better pictures:
The ride was two hours long and as you can see from the clocks in the pictures, went from 09:30 to 11:30. When it ended, it felt like fifteen minutes. My guide/escort was a younger fellow who drove FLIRTS. He was extremely nice and spoke very good English. I have been on this train ride as a passenger a dozen times as well as taking the bus to Wassen and walking up to the front door of the church to watch the trains go by. I really just wanted to see things from a different perspective. My guide tried to explain some of the basic features of the European track signaling system but a lot of it went in one ear and out the other. My brain was concentrating on the visual aspects. I was given an eight page brochure which highlighted the trip. I wish I had it a week before to know in advance what to look for. In terms of the experience I would rate it a 10/10 but as a value proposition it was about a 3-4/10. It was also disappointing to read in the brochure that the ride was stated as going from Arth-Goldau to Locarno so I missed at least another hour in the cab. On YouTube a Norwegian train driver recorded the entire eight hour ride from Trondheim to Bodo with a dashcam. You can watch it for free. Another interesting tidbit. After the ride ended, my guide traveled to Locarno with me (on a different train) since my plan for the day also included a ride on the Centivalli train. He showed me a great travel tip. If you ride in one of the "panorama" trains there is a single seat in the front of the train that is right next to the driver's booth. That section is First Class and it cost me CHF 8.50 to upgrade from my Second Class Swiss Travel Pass and claim the seat. Almost the same as the Gotthard ride but without a guide.