Swiss rack railway closed for the day as entire team visits Welsh counterpart

The entire workforce of famed Swiss rack railway Brienz Rothorn Bahn visited the Snowdon Mountain Railway in an unprecedented cultural exchange.

The historic Alpine railway, which has climbed to the summit of the Brienzer Rothorn since 1892, was closed for the day as all its staff were in Snowdonia, closely monitoring how the Welsh railway is run and sharing some ideas of their own.

The team from Swiss rack railway Brienz Rothorn Bahn pictured with Snowdon Mountain Railway No. 5 Moel Siabod. SMR

The BRB team was taken on a journey to the top of Wales’ highest peak, one which rivals the spectacular sights of the Swiss Alps.

Steam engines on both lines were manufactured by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works of Winterthur and both work on a rack and pinion system to help their trains climb the mountains.

BRB general manager Simon Koller said: “We’ve wanted to bring all our staff to Wales for a long time so they can see how a similar railway to their own is run in the UK.

“Both the experience and the Welsh hospitality have been wonderful. I know we learned a lot from each other.”

Snowdon Mountain Railway general manager Alan Kendall said: “It gave me great pleasure to welcome our Swiss cousins at the end of another hugely successful season.

“This is the first time we’ve had the entire workforce of another railway come to see how we do things on Snowdon.

“This visit continues a tradition of exchanges between our two historic railways, dating back to 1899. Hopefully we’ll continue to share ideas and information for a long time to come.”

The Snowdon Mountain Railway, which welcomes over 130,000 visitors a year, is part of Heritage Great Britain plc, a group which owns and manages tourist destinations like Land’s End, John O’Groats and the Needles on the Isle of Wight.

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