Brienz Rothorn Bahn

Brienz Rothorn Bahn

The Brienz–Rothorn Railway (German: Brienz Rothorn Bahn, BRB) is a tourist rack railway in Switzerland, which climbs from Brienz, at the eastern end of Lake Brienz, to the summit of the Brienzer Rothorn mountain. The railway is 7.6 kilometres (4.7 mi) long, is built to 800 mm gauge (2 ft 7 1⁄2 in gauge), and uses the Abt double lamella rack system. Unusually for Switzerland, the line is not electrified, and most trains are operated by steam locomotives.
The Brienz–Rothorn railway reaches a height of 2,244 metres above sea level and is the fourth highest railway in Switzerland.

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn History

The railway was opened on 17 June 1892, after a two years construction period. The two designers, engineer Alexander Lindner and contractor Theo Bertschinger were supported by the mountain railway pioneer Roman Abt, who had responsibility for equipping the line with his newly developed Abt double lamella rack system.

The line connected at Brienz with the Brünig railway, which had been opened in 1888 from Brienz eastwards towards Lucerne. However the Brünig railway was not extended westward to Interlaken until 1916, so many early travelers to the Rothorn had to arrive by boat service on Lake Brienz.

The line was quickly in financial difficulties. The line was designed to carry 25,000 passengers per year but only managed 5,000 passengers in the first year. Tourist traffic was further affected by the opening of Schynige Platte Railway in 1895 and the Jungfraubahn in 1898. The train service was suspended on 1 August 1914 as a result of the First World War, but did not re-open when the war ended.

Essential maintenance was carried out and a small amount of timber traffic was carried from Planalp in 1918. Carriages were hired to the Schynige Platte Railway in 1924 and 1925, providing money for the maintenance work. The line was finally re-opened on 13 June 1931, the first train to reach the summit in 17 years having run 4 days earlier. The railway was in good condition because of the continuing maintenance.

Unlike other Swiss mountain lines, the BRB was not electrified and this made the railway a special attraction as from 1953 to 1990 it was the only steam-operated line in Switzerland. Although other Swiss mountain railways offer special "steam" trips this is the only line which offers a full steam service, the diesel locomotive only being used for additional trains and for light traffic periods.

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn Route

The BRB is 7.6 kilometres (4.7 mi) long with a maximum gradient of 1 in 4 (25%) and includes 5 tunnels. It begins in Brienz at 566 m (1,857 ft) above sea level, from a terminus opposite the Brienz station of the Zentralbahn railway company's Brünig line. Also nearby is the quay used by the BLS AG shipping services on Lake Brienz.

The railway is single track with three passing loops. The first passing loop is at Geldried, 1,019 m (3,343 ft) above sea level. The halfway passing loop of the line is at Planalp station at 1,341 m (4,400 ft) above sea level. The older steam locomotives stop to take water. The third passing loop is at Oberstafel, 1,819 m (5,968 ft) above sea level.[4]
The upper terminus of the line is at Rothorn Kulm station at 2,244 m (7,362 ft) above sea level, a little below the summit of the mountain.

A popular hiking trail runs between the summit station, and the Brünig-Hasliberg station at the point where the Brünig line crosses the Brünig Pass.

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn Locomotives and Rolling Stock

All steam locomotives are Class H2/3, indicating that 2 axles of the 3 are driven, giving a wheel arrangement (Whyte System) of 0-4-2. The older locomotives are a side tank, "kneeling cow" design of a standard SLM product. The modern steam locomotives use an efficient "light oil" fired steam technology and were built by SLM (former Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works) of Winterthur.

A prototype diesel locomotive, class Hm2/2, number 8, was delivered in 1973 but sold to the Chemin de fer Montreux-Glion-Rochers-de-Naye in 1995 as their number 4. New diesel locomotives were constructed by Ferdinand Steck Maschinenfabrik and are of (Whyte System) 0-4-0 wheel arrangement to a "kneeling cow" design.

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn Timetable

Rothorn Kulm from June 4 until October 23, 2016 The Brienz Rothorn Railway operates 7 days per week from June 4 to October 23 2016 all the way up to the Rothorn. They try to ensure that all their services are steam powered.

Departures from
Brienz Brienz BRB        07.30* 08.36 09.40 10.45 11.45 12.58 13.58 14.58 16.36
Planalp                          07.56* 09.03 10.07 11.12 12.15 13.27 14.27 15.27 17.03
Rothorn                         08.25* 09.31 10.35 11.43 12.45 13.57 14.57 15.57 17.31

Departures from
Rothorn Kulm Rothorn  08.30* 09.38 11.15 12.20 13.28 14.28 15.28 16.28 17.40
Planalp                          09.02* 10.10 11.50 12.58 14.02 15.02 16.02 17.02 18.12
Brienz BRB                   09.30* 10.38 12.20 13.30 14.32 15.32 16.32 17.32 18.40

see also further down this website for further timetable

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn Prices

The Brienz–Rothorn Railway Individuals
All prices in CHF          1/1    1/2**    Children
ONE WAY-TICKET            
Brienz - Rothorn           57.00    28.00    0.00
Brienz - Planalp            37.00    18.50    0.00
0836 Ticket                   27.00    17.00    0.00

Combined ticket:            
Brienz - Rothorn - Sörenberg 70.00    35.00    -

All prices in CHF           1/1    1/2**    Children
Brienz - Rothorn           88.00    44.00    0.00
Brienz - Planalp            57.00    29.00    0.00
0836 Ticket                   54.00    33.00    0.00
Hiking ticket 3-stations 74.00    37.00    0.00

Combined ticket:            
Brienz - Rothorn - Sörenberg 108.00    54.00    -

**Prices with Swiss Pass/Swiss Half fare card

Reka payments are accepted for 50% of the total amount. No Change!

Single seat reservations not possible

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn Season Ticket

For unlimited rides during the whole season. Valid on all regular scheduled trains. Price CHF 260.00

Unlimited rides also with the TellPass

Per adult 2 children up to 16 years travel free.

Each other child pays CHF 10.00 (one way and round trip).

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn Groups

All prices in CHF                        Adults    Half-fare card    Children
SINGEL TICKET            
Brienz - Rothorn                        45.00      22.50                0.00
Brienz - Planalp                         29.40      14.70                0.00
Combined tickets:            
Brienz - Rothorn - Sörenberg*   57.30      28.65    
BACK TICKET            
Brienz - Rothorn                         70.40      35.20               0.00
Brienz - Planalp                          46.00      23.00               0.00
Wanderbillette 3-Stationen         60.00      30.00               0.00
Brienz - Rothorn - Sörenberg     89.00      44.50    

The Brienz Rothorn Bahn Group Bookings

For groups of more than 10 people, an advance booking, not less than 2 days in advance, is necessary to enable us to guarantee the places required.
Every 10th member of a group travels free!
Payment may be made at the railway ticket office in Brienz via EC/Postcard or with the major credit cards. Payment may also be made via a bill upon advance application. In addition we accept REKA Checks for up to 50% of the total value.

Further Information Regarding Groups

School classes
School classes (children from 6 to 16 years) pays the half-fare card like groups. Free travel for every 10th person!

Local Residents Welcome!
All local residents from the Amtsbezirk Interlaken-Oberhasli need only pay a flat rate price.

On presentation of a valid orange Einheimisch-Ausweises the Brienz Rothorn Railway will allow the residents from Gadmen to Leissigen the reduced Halftax-Price:

Beatenberg, Brienz, Brienzwiler, Bönigen, Därligen, Gadmen, Grindelwald, Gsteigwiler, Guttannen, Gündlischwand, Habkern, Hasliberg, Hofstetten, Innertkirchen, Interlaken, Iseltwald, Lauterbrunnen, Leissigen, Lütschental, Matten, Meiringen, Niederried, Oberried, Ringgenberg, Saxeten, Schattenhalb, Schwanden, Unterseen, Wilderswil

The Brienz–Rothorn Railway Reductions

With the Junior Card or Grandchild Card children ride for free!

Regional-Pass Berner Oberland: according separate terms

No reductions with Eurail Pass and Interrail Pass

50 % at the following cards
  • Halfe-Fare Card
  • Generalabonnement (GA)
  • Day-Ticket SBB
  • Duo Day-Ticket Migros
  • Day-Ticket commune
  • Swiss-Saver Pass
  • Swiss-half-fare Card

Per person one dog rides for free. 
Each additional dog costs CHF 10.00

Brienz Rothorn Bahn Timetable 2016

We take full steam since 125 years!
Enjoy your trip with the 125 year old steam train trough the beautiful scenery of these wonderful Swiss mountains. After passing the forrest, the graze with cows, you slowly climb up to the Rothorn. On top you have an extraordinary view over more than 100 mountains! Don't forget to visit our restaurant on top which offers you a wide range of typical swiss foods and drinks. Just relax and enjoy your day up on the Rothorn!

Reduced Timetable to Middle Station Planalp

May 13 to June 2, 2017 and from Ocotber 23 to November 5, 2017* the trains operate until middle station Planalp.

On Planalp there is a cute little Restaurant with delicious foods and drinks:

*no service on October 26 and 27, 2017

Brienz BRB     10.45    12.00    13.45    15.45
Planalp            11.15    12.30    14.15    16.15
Planalp            11.20    13.00    15.00    16.45
Brienz BRB     11.50    13.30    15.30    17.15
  • Full steam ahead to Rothorn Kulm from June 3 until October 22, 2017
  • The Brienz Rothorn Railway operates 7 days per week from June 3 to October 22, 2017 all the way up to the Rothorn.
  • We try to ensure that all our services are steam powered.  

Departures from Brienz
Brienz BRB      07.30*    08.36    09.40    10.45    11.45    12.58    13.58    14.58    16.36
Planalp             07.56*    09.03    10.07    11.12    12.15    13.27    14.27    15.27    17.03
Rothorn            08.25*    09.31    10.35    11.43    12.45    13.57    14.57    15.57    17.31

Departures from Rothorn Kulm
Rothorn            08.30*    09.38    11.15    12.20    13.28    14.28    15.28    16.28    17.40
Planalp             09.02*    10.10    11.50    12.58    14.02    15.02    16.02    17.02    18.12
Brienz BRB      09.30*    10.38    12.20    13.30    14.32    15.32    16.32    17.32    18.40

Key to symbols:
* Trains 07.30 from Brienz und 08.30 from Rothorn operate on Sundays only from 3rd to 24th September 2017.

Please note:
  • No single seat reservation possible.
  • Be here on site at least 30Min before train departure.
  • Insertion of additional trains and seat reservation cards on high frequented days. Waiting times on those days are possible.
  • Train services may be cancelled in times of insufficient frequencies or bad weather.
  • Pushchairs can only be transported when folded.
  • A maximum of 2 non-motorized wheelchairs can be transported per train
  • Advance notification is required.
  • Diesel locomotives may be used in the event of the failure of a steam locomotive or to expand services.
Brienz Rothorn Railway Operation

Brienz Rothorn Railway Opened:                 17 June 1892,
Brienz Rothorn Railway Re-opened:            13 June 1931
Brienz Rothorn Railway Closed:                   1 August 1914
Brienz Rothorn Railway Line Length:            7.6 kilometres (4.7 mi)
Brienz Rothorn Railway Number of Tracks:  single track with passing loops
Brienz Rothorn Railway Track Gauge:          800 mm (2 ft 7 1⁄2 in)
Brienz Rothorn Railway Electrification:         None

Brienz Rothorn Railway Elevation and Incline

Brienz Rothorn Railway Highest Elevation:   2,244 m (7,362 ft)
Brienz Rothorn Railway Maximum Incline:    25 %
Brienz Rothorn Railway Rack System:          Abt

Brienz Rothorn Railway Route
  • 0,0 Brienz BRB    566m above the sea
  • Zentralbahn from Interlaken and Meiringen
  • Wellenberg bridge
  • Schwarzfluh tunnel (18m)
  • 2,1 Geldried    1,019m above the sea
  • Erd tunnel (119m)
  • Fluh tunnel(3 Fenster) (290m)
  • 3,6 Planalp 1,341m above the sea
  • Chüemaad tunnel (133m)
  • 5,7 Oberstaffel    1,819m above the sea
  • Schonegg I tunnel (37m)
  • Schonegg II tunnel (133m)
  • 7,6 Rothorn Kulm 2,244m above the sea

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