Goeschenen entrance to Switzerland's Gotthard Tunnel, 9.3 miles long and opened in 1882.
Four electric locomotives lead a container train north through Giornico, Switzerland, on the southern approach of Gotthard Pass.
InterRegio passenger trains slide past one another at Giornico, Switzerland, on the southern approach to Gotthard Pass. With heavy passenger traffic on a holiday weekend, 8,000-horsepower Re 460 locomotives built in the mid-1990s handle both trains.
Three electric locomotives lead a container train north through Giornico, Switzerland, on the southern approach of Gotthard Pass. The view is from the hilltop church-fortress Santa Maria del Castello, which dates from the eleventh century. The train is passing the twelfth-century Church of San Nicola at far right and the thirteenth-century Church of San MIchele.
Giornico's medieval churches of San Nicola and San Michele glow at twilight as InterRegio passneger train no. 2442 heads north.
Twilight gathers around Giornico, Switzerland, as EuroCity passenger train no. 25 heads south on its run from Zurich to Milan.
As twilight fades to night at Giornico, ICN 696 streaks north en route from Lugano to Basel.
InterRegio passenger train crossing the Polmengo Viaduct over the Ticino River near Faido, Switzerland. The train has just exited the Prato Tunnel, one of four spiral tunnels on the southern ramp of Gotthard Pass, and is passing the short Boscerina Tunnel on the adjacent track.
Unfortunately the cloud gremlins were against me for the best train of my four days on the Gotthard Railway, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. In hindsight, shooting straight down on the white-roofed cars wasn't the best decision anyway.
Two Swiss electrics lead an intermodal train south over the Ticino River at Biaschina. Two additional levels of track are visible behind the train, connected by the Piano Tondo and Travi spiral tunnels.
Two Swiss electrics lead an intermodal train south at Biaschina. Two additional levels of track are visible behind the train, connected by the Piano Tondo and Travi spiral tunnels. The A2 motorway, completed in 1980, soars over the scene at upper left.
InterRegio passenger train north crossing the Piano Tondo Viaduct while climbing the dual spirals at Biaschina.
InterRegio passenger train north crossing the Polmengo Viaduct over the Ticino River near Faido, Switzerland.
With extra cars for holiday weekend traffic, an InterRegio passenger train rolls south over the Polmengo Viaduct and Ticino River near Faido, Switezerland, behind an Re 460 electric locomotive.
Re 460 locomotive in special blue paint for the 2016 opening of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel leads an InterRegio passenger train north near Faido.
EuroCity train from Milan to Zurich crossing the Ticino River in the middle of the Piottino Gorge.
ICN passenger train south in the Piottino Gorge. In mid-May the sun sets directly in line with narrow gorge.
Passengers at Faido station prepare to board an InterRegio train north.
As low clouds roll up the Reuss Gorge at Wassen, Switzerland, a container train heads north behind two workhorses of the Swiss Federal Railways.
A container train climbs southward on the highest level track at Wassen, Switzerland, on a foggy May evening in 2016. The trailing Re 620 locomotive still wears its original green paint.
The last car of EuroCity 22 streaks north through Wassen on its way from Zurich to Milan. The former lineman's house in the background is now a private residence.
A double set of tilting trains descends through the middle level of track at Wassen with a late evening passenger service as fog rolls up the Reuss Valley and the famous Church of St. Gallus glows in the darkness. The notion of photographing this scene at twilight is what compelled me to visit the Gotthard Railway; both the fog and the overall experience vastly exceeded my expectations.
Running on the left-hand track just moments behind the tilting train in the previous view, an InterRegio passenger train descends the middle level of track at Wassen.
Even at 9:30 p.m., twilight still glows blue at Wassen as a container train north rolls geographically south thorugh the middle level of track.
Wassen, Switzerland, on a misty May morning. This was the view from my room on the top floor of the Hotel Gerig.
The Meienreuss flows into the River Reuss at Wassen just below the 1733 Catholic church. The old highway crosses the Meienreuss in the foreground, with two levels fo the railway visible beyond.
Hiking trails follow the railway over the entire northern slope of Gotthard Pass. Here the tracks and trail share a concrete gallery that protects the line from snow and landslides. Two Deustche Bahn class 185 electrics enter with a downhill freight.
An InterRegio passenger train heads south near Wassen; having traversed the track at lower right and passed through the Pfaffensprung spiral tunnel. In the background, Chli Windgällen reaches a height of 9,797 feet.
With clouds shrouding Gotthard Pass in the background, ICN 672 from Lugano to Basel rolls downgrade approaching the Pfaffensprung Spiral Tunnel just north of Wassen.
EuroCity 15 from Zurich to Milan heads south after passing through the Pfaffensprung Spiral Tunnel just below Wassen.
The late morning sun finds a break in the clouds at Gurtnellen as an ICN passenger train heads north along the River Reuss.
Each day around noon, a unit train of steel made a southward trek over the Gotthard Line, seen here at Gurtnellen.
A few of Gurtnellen's sheep consider the presence of a foreign photographer.
The hydroelectric plant at Amsteg helped power the trains of the Gotthard Railway from the beginning of electrification in 1923 until a new plant built inside the mountain opened in 1998.
ICN passenger train 873 from Zurich to Lugano crosess the Chärstelenbach Bridge at Amsteg. The steel girders replaced an earlier (and much better-looking) deck truss structure.
EuroCity train north from Milan to Zurich passes through Erstfeld station while a train of new automobiles waits for clearance south. At right is the enginehouse that serviced helper locomotives and today maintains a fleet of historic equipment.
A reflective window in the Erstfeld station presented a self-portrait opportunity too good to refuse, especially with the red Deutsche Bahn class 185s matching my rain jacket.
InterRegio train 2331 from Basel to Locarno arrives at Erstfeld as two Deutsche Bahn 185 class electrics wait to take a freight north.
ICN train 692 from Lugano to Basel has just exited the Gotthard Tunnel and is passing through Göschenen station at the start of the steep descent to Erstfeld.
At Göschenen, the narrow-gauge Schöllenen Railway meets the Swiss Federal main line at the northern portal of the Gotthard Tunnel. At dusk, a narrow gauge train of the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway is crossing the River Reuss as it begins the rack-assisted climb to Andermatt.
Two Deutsche Bahn electrics lead a short freight north at Wassen, running geographically south here across the Middle Meienreuss Bridge and past sheep grazing on the steep hillside.
Swiss Federal Railways electric locomotives haul a freight train south across the Upper Meienreuss Bridge at Wassen. A 10,700-horsepower, six-axle Re 620 leads a 6,300-horsepower, four-axle Re 420.
A Swiss Federal Railways Re 420 electric locomotive pushes on the rear a container train south crossing the Upper Meienreuss Bridge at Wassen, Switzerland.
InterRegio train 2314 from Locarno to Basel descends through the middle level of looping track at Wassen at 7:17 a.m., still more than an hour before the sun would reach the deep valley.
A well-worn trail follows the two tracks of the Gotthard Railway to the "Wassen Command Post," which offers a breathtaking panorama of mountain railroading.
An InterRegio passenger train climbs the top level of track at Wassen, Switzerland, in brilliant morning sunshine with snow-capped Chli Windgällen towering in the distance at 9,797 feet.
Swiss Federal Railways electric locomotives lead a container train down the middle level of track at Wassen, Switzerland, over the Middle Meienreuss Bridge with 9,797-foot Chil Windgällen in the background.
Two Swiss Federal Railways Cargo locomotives lead a container train north into Wassen, Switzerland.
An InterRegio passenger train rolls south on the upper level of track at Wassen, Switzerland, on a beautiful spring morning.
European standard couplers use hooks, turnbuckles, and buffers.
Swiss Federal Railways Re 420 electric 11156 (built in 1966 and fifty years old at the time) leads an InterRegio passenger train north near Giornico, Switzerland.
The Church of Saints Peter and Paul offers a panoramic view of Biasca, Switzerland, with the Leventina and Blenio valleys to the left and right, respectively. Railway builders considered both routes and ultimately chose the Leventina Valley leading to the Gotthard Pass on the left.
Medieval frescoes dating from the thirteenth century inside the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Biasca, Swizterland.
The Santa Petronilla waterfall spills down toward the Biasca station as an ICN passenger train passes.
Looking down the Riveria Valley in Biasca; both the valley and the railway lead to Italy.
An ICN tilting train breezes through Biasca station with the Santa Petronilla waterfall in the background.
Two German electrics lead a freight south in the Piottino Gorge; the train is about to enter the Freggio spiral tunnel and will pass the tracks in the foreground in about two minutes.
The same train from the previous view emerges from the Freggio spiral tunnel onto the lower level track, crossing the Ticino River in the Piottino Gorge.
An InterRegio passenger train north climbs the grade between Faido and Rodi-Fiesso; the train is about to enter the Freggio spiral tunnel.
An ICN tilting passenger train runs high above the Ticino River just above Faido.
An InterRegio passenger train south exists the Freggio spiral tunnel and crosses the Ticino River.
Taking in all of the railway infrastructure in the tight confines of the Piottino Gorge requires a very wide lens. This fisheye perspective includes a deep cut, lineman's house, bridge over the Ticino River, lower portal of the Freggio spiral tunnel, and upper level of track beyond it in the background. An ICN passenger train south descends the grade.
A pair of Swiss Federal Railways electrics in the blue and red Cargo scheme cross the Ticino River in the Piottino Gorge.
An InterRegio passenger train north enters the Dazio Tunnel just below Rodi-Fiesso.
An InterRegio passenger train north emerges from the Dazio Tunnel just below Rodi-Fiesso. The road descends into the Piottino Gorge at a much sharper angle, which the railway mitigates via the Freggio spiral tunnel.
The Gotthard Railway's steep grade is evident in Faido station as two Railpool 187-class electrics lead a container train south.
Railpool electrics of Bombardier's TRAXX series lead a container train south over the Intschireuss Bridge, highest on the Gotthard route at 253 feet. The Chärstelenbach Bridge at Amsteg is visible in the background at left.
Container trains pass just above the Intschireuss Bridge; leading the downhill train is Re 620 no. 111632, a four-decade veteran of Gotthard freight service.
After assisting a container train south, a single Re 420 rolls thorugh Wassen on its way back to Erstfeld to help another train.
Freight climbs the grade on the upper level of track at Wassen while an ICN passenger train descends. Note this is a merging of two separate exposures made ten seconds apart from one another.
As twilight envelopes the mountains at Wassen, the lights of InterRegio train north glow warmly.
After assisiting a container train up the grade to Goeschenen, a single locomotive streaks across the Upper Meienreuss bridge in Wassen on its way back to Erstfeld to help another train.
Two red Deutsche Bahn electric locomotives haul a freight train over the Upper Meienreuss Bridge above Wassen on a rainy spring morning. Only a fisheye lens can take in the full scene of this tight but spectacular vantage.
Deutsche Bahn electrics lead a mixed freight north out of the Wattingen Tunnel and across the River Reuss.
An InterRegio train north rolls down the Reuss as clouds shroud the hills around Wassen.
An ICN tilting train leans into the Wattingen curve as it rolls across the River Reuss just above Wassen.
An InterRegio train south cross the River Reuss on the lower bridge at Wattingen. The famous 1733 church at Wassen is visible near the center of the image.
While the trains move quickly over the Gotthard route, not everything is so fast. This Burgundy snail, also known as escargot, seems to be enjoying the rain at Wassen.
A container train north exits the Gotthard Tunnel at Goeschenen. This is likely the last freight train I will ever see on this spectacular mountain railway. A few minutes later, I made the biggest mistake of my life as a railroad photographer. I left.