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Content - V-Cableway: “Attracting tourists all year round”

  • April 16, 2018

V-Cableway: “Attracting tourists all year round”

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – The most ambitious modernization project in one of the most popular tourist regions of Switzerland is finally close to its realization. According to observers, the Swiss Federal Office of Transport will probably issue the building permit for the project in May after the Office for Towns and Spatial Planning of the Canton of Bern has approved the planning principles for the mountain railway project. This was considered the penultimate remaining hurdle. The Grindelwald-Männlichen Gondola Cableway and Jungfrau Railways are planning to build a V-Cableway that will provide access to both the Eiger glacier as well as the mountain Männlichen.

Jungfrau Railways

The V-Cableway project

What is the V-Cableway project? From a common terminal in Grindelwald Grund, a tricable gondola will run to the Eiger Glacier and a ten-person gondola will go up to Männlichen Glacier. The two cableway lines will have a V-shape on a map because they run to two neighboring mountains.  

The V-Cableway will also have a connection to public transport via the Berner-Oberland Bahn at the new Rothenegg station. The travel times to the famous Jungfraujoch mountain peak and the ski area will be significantly shortened by 47 minutes. With its eight integrated components, the V-Cableway project is designed for the entire Jungfrau region and pursues the main objectives of quality and future. 

The V-Cableway is supposed to secure the medium and long term successful future of tourism throughout the entire Jungfrau region as a top year-round destination in Swiss tourism. It strengthens the competitiveness of the Jungfraujoch as a beacon known worldwide, and it helps the winter sports destination reach the top position in international competition. The project costs are estimated at about 400 million CHF.


“Twelve Months High Season”

More than 1 million visitors traveled to the Jungfraujoch last year for the second time since 2015 thanks to attracting more Asian tourists. Market development in Asia would have paid off after the rather disappointing previous year, said Urs Kessler, CEO of the Jungfrau Railway Group, on the occasion of the publication of the annual figures last week.  

The current year will be marked by high investments in the V-Cableway. Since the building permit for the core elements of the project is expected in May, this would make realization possible by the end of 2020, Kessler added. The target is to start construction in early summer 2018, in order to open the new Männlichen cableway at the end of 2019 and the Eiger Express at the end of 2020. 

To ensure quality, the capacity to the Jungfraujoch will be limited to 5,000 visitors a day. Therefore, to grow further, the business must be expanded in the off-season. "Our vision is a twelve months high season," Kessler explained according to a report by the Swiss paper Finanz und Wirtschaft (paywall). Even today, in the off-season significantly more tourists would visit the Jungfrau region than ten years ago, he said. 

Controversial project

The project has long been controversial in the region. At the end of February, Jungfrau Railways and the last remaining objecting party signed a joint agreement. This objection was made primarily out of concern for the environment, the protection of this valuable Unesco World Cultural and World Heritage Site and the rejection of any form of mass tourism. The objecting party was never concerned about its own interests. The withdrawal of its objection solely took place so as not to endanger the Männlichen Railway. 

After years of negotiations and personal discussions, Jungfrau Railways was able to find a solution for realizing the V-Cableway project with the Kaufmann family. The family will withdraw their objection to the V-Cableway project, thus supporting the rapid realization of the Männlichen Railway. At the same time, the agreement regulates the operating situation regarding evening rides on the "Eiger Express" tricable gondola.  

Jungfrau Railways and Männlichen Railways have complied with the wishes of the Kaufmann family and donated an agreed amount to a good cause. This will benefit charitable organizations. In order to reduce the impact of the new tricable gondola on the landowners along the route in the evening, Jungfrau Railways is limiting possible evening trips to a maximum of 36 trips per year, instead of the 128 planned according to the operating concept.   

 

Text: SCCIJ partly with material of Jungfrau Railways; Photo: Jungfrau Railways

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