Up not so early
Keeping in mind that the sun rises late above the mountains, we took a royal amount of time to wake up and get to the other side of he mountain. Airolo station was one of the places where we would have light relatively early. This is one of the many freight trains we saw riding north during our thirty minutes there.
Almost an extinct species: one of the last remaining green engines in front of the regional train to Lugano was a beautiful distraction from the freight trains. It has just exited the Gotthard tunnel, highest point on the line, and will start the downhill journey to Bellinzona after a short stop at Airolo station.
South of Airolo we found another nice spot, and as always we waited for some freight trains to pass. One of the 3 we saw was carrying Winner Spedition trailers from Wuppertal to Piacenza; a 937km trip by car.
The train does it
You try a location and try and… sometimes, it just doesn’t turn out the way you want it to. Walking up and down the hill, forward and back again, I couldn’t find a place where the tracks and surroundings came together nicely. It could have been the combination between closely spaced catenary poles, light poles from the nearby road… We were about to leave to somewhere else, when this interesting flue-green combo came around the corner. Not bad, but it could – and would – be better…
In the previous post, I promised it would be better. While driving down the mountain, temperature increased and the snow disappeared quickly. We noticed the BLS train we photographed before, riding slowly and coming to a halt. That meant we had a chance to get a better picture of this train. We chose a famous location, but one I hadn’t been to before. And yes, after the passenger train we only had to wait a couple of minutes to see the BLS train slowly come around the corner.
It looks warm in the photo, but trust me: we were still freezing.
I try not to post more than 1 photo per location; my good excuse now is that I like this spot, and that we got to see a lot of interesting trains here. Soon after the BLS train passed us, we heard a rumble in the distance announcing the next one.
SBB’s 11626 has been decorated with a “mustache”. We were lucky to catch the engine leading a train.
This process repeated itself 2 more times, see the result below.
Winter photos in the Alps could use some snow. In lavorgo, temperatures were too high and the white stuff had melted completely. We headed north, back up the mountain pass, to get some colder temperatures (try to explain that to a non-rail enthousiast!).
We weren’t very persistent though: we ended up in Chiggiaogna, with another nice snowy mountain view, with warm and dry feet. Was it because we liked the spot, or because we saw another train coming down the mountain – that I don’t remember exactly. I do remember that we, again, got to see a lot of traffic.
High up there
In our search of sunlight and snow, we ended back up on the north side of the Gotthard pass. The viaduct at Amsteg would get some of the latest winter light. It is located high above the small town. When the train exits a tunnel it enters the bridge immediately. Check out this alternative view: it shows it more clearly, from the other side. For this take we got some more sunlight than the year before, and a bus that passed accidentily at the right time.
Backlight on a bridge 2
Backlight is perfect for the last shots of the day, with low sun. Like the day before, we ended up standing above a viaduct, with the sun in front of us. The hike up here and the view were how I like them best: steep and scenic. The bench made for a comfortable wait.