This guide to the beautiful railway, which links Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, includes details of the connections and insights into how to make the most of the stunning journey
The Wengernalpbahn (WAB) is the world’s longest rack and pinion (cogwheel) railway and provides the railway route between Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen stations.
It is so fabulous that it merited a Top 5 place on our list of Switzerland's most beautiful Swiss train journeys.
However, the WAB trains don’t provide a direct service between Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen along the full length of the line; connections between trains have to be made at Kleine Scheidegg station.
The WAB fleet of trains is evidently being updated, with newer trains now being used on the part of the route between Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg.
Some of the coaches on these newer trains have ceiling windows.
On departure from Grindelwald station (where the WAB trains share a platform with the BOB trains from/to Interlaklen Ost), the trains initially descend to Grindelwald Grund station.
The trains then reverse direction on departure from Grindelwald Grund station.
So for the best of the views sit on the right of the train (when facing the direction of travel) when joining the train at Grindelwald station; and face forward.
The most dramatic views can be seen when looking back down the mountain from the left of the train between Grindelwald Grund and Kleine Scheidegg.
Hence the advice to sit on the right when joining the train at Grindelwald station, due to the change of direction at the next stop; all of the views above were taken from this side of the train.
So sit on the left when descending from Kleine Scheidegg.
The WAB trains between Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg call at Wengen - so if you’re heading to Wengen from Interlaken, take the BOB trains to Lauterbrunnen and NOT to Grindelwald.
When travelling FROM Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg most of the best of the views can be seen from the right of the train (when facing the direction of travel); sit facing backwards in order to see the views back down the mountains.
Though this video was taken from a train travelling from Kleine Scheidegg, descending down to Lauterbrunnen, it was captured just to the north of Lauterbrunnen station.
The part of journey between Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg is more spectacular than that between Wengen and Lauterbrunnen.
The highlight of this part route is the breath-taking view overlooking Wengen (the main central image above) and this can be best seen from the right hand side of the train (so from the left when descending).
Though if you will only be making the journey between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen, the best of the views are on the left (when facing the direction of travel).
At Kleine Scheidegg straightforward transfers are available to the JB trains that ascend to Europe’s highest station, Jungfraujoch.
Both Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen are linked to Interlaken Ost station (which has trains from Basel, Bern and Luzern) by trains operated by the Bernerse-Oberland-Bahn (BOB).
If you will be heading to Jungfraujoch, the routing is:
If you will be heading to Wengen, the routing is:
The WAB trains are 2nd class only.
Tickets and details of journeys between Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, and to/from Jungfraujoch and Interlaken Ost are available on the ‘Jungfrau Top Of Europe’ website.
Though tickets aren't discounted when booked online; though the plus of booking online in advance is that the connections between trains (including when commencing a journey at Interlaken Ost) can be tightly timed.
Tickets to WAB destinations, which include the connections from/to Interlaken by BOB trains, can also be purchased from the Rail Ticket Office at Interlaken Ost station.
Using rail passes:
Eurail - 25% discount
InterRail - 25% discount
Swiss Travel Pass - 25% discount*
Saver Day Pass - no discount* if you paid the full price of the pass, 25% discount if you have a Half-Fare Card, so booked the Saver Day Pass at the Half-Card rate.
*=According to the validity maps, Swiss Travel Pass users and all Saver Day Pass users can now use the passes for no additional charge when travelling between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen.
See the map extract below, note the solid line on the Swiss Travel Pass validity map between these two stations, a solid line equates to free travel; the Saver Day Pass map is the same.
If you will be travelling from Interlaken Ost station beyond Wengen or on from Grindelwald with a rail pass which does entitle you to the 25% discount, you will need to show your rail pass at the ticket office and book tickets for a journey at the reduced rate
The prices can be looked up here, but remember to take 25% off the prices you will see.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.
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