The accident – and a wise lesson
Before yesterday evening, I had never sat on a serious sledge before. Down in Bergün we had decided to first do the hard track, considering the elevator was about to shut down for the night. After that, we could ride the easier, and lit, track, with the Schlittelzug as many times as we wanted. Not so sure this was a good decision: in one of the curves of the hard track I lost control of the sledge and smashed into a panel protecting people from falling off the hill. I didn’t fall off, but seriously hurt my back and sitting area. In pain I managed to get down to Bergün… The cold numbing the pain, we still went up the hill with the Schlittelzug to slide off the easy track a couple of times, until closing time. Getting better at it, I enjoyed, but had to stop in the end because of the pain.
The day after, I felt something was wrong. I couldn’t sit anymore, or move my back without it hurting. Can’t do much about a back though, and I could still walk, so we decided to continue the photo trip – I would go see a doctor back home.
We went to Bever, on the busy section to Samedan. This stretch of line sees the hourly Chur – St. Moritz, Landquart – St. Moritz and Scuol-Tarasp – Pontresina relations, and a few freight trains. Soon it will be double-tracked.
Now I am glad to see these photos, but I can assure it was hard and painfull to make them. I learnt it the hard way: never again am I trying stuff for experienced people as a novice…
For those interested, the doctor’s verdict was a bruised tail bone and spine. The only thing to do about it was wait for it to heal. Only a year later I could say the pain was finally gone…
Human beings have autopilots when it comes to doing what you really want to do. And so I was able to continue making photos, albeit a bit slower than before. We were expecting a freight train to Samedan and decided to wait for it at Bever station. We also knew from yesterday’s observations that the next train from Chur could be hauled by a mighty Ge6/6 II engine. Our memory served us well, as in warm sunlight we saw number 707 of the aforementioned class enter the station.
Rare in red
Switching back and forth between locations – this view was too nice not to make a photo of it.
Most of the Ge 4/4 III engines carry promotional liveries – consider this red one a lucky catch. Notice the blue Gourmino restaurant car in the middle of the train.
We stayed around Bever for the next freight train, but decided to head to the beginning of the Albula line. First train we got was this RE to St. Moritz, hauled by a Ge 6/6 engine. Notice the mail car at the rear of the train. In the background, the town of Bever.
We were a bit late, resulting in a “panic shot” from aside, which in retrospect worked out quite well.
Proportions set straight
A bit of looking around usually does the trick. Shot from almost the same location, with a tele instead of a wide angle lens, this view is something quite different compared to the previous photo. I prefer this one, by far: it reduces the train more to it’s real size compared to the giant mountain in the background.
Look closely and you’ll see that the locomotive still carries original headlights.
When shooting freight trains, we usually look for locations that show a lot of train. Same for this train, but it turned out pretty hard to combine sunlight and a good view… it turned out not to be necessary; 3 cars easily fit within the frame.
The train on the photo comes from Chur and has almost reached Pontresina, it’s final destination.
Once the freight train arrives at it’s destination, it is quickly pulled apart and the cars delivered to where they will be unloaded. Swiss railways work very efficiently, no different here: in almost no time the first car was delivered to a local distribution centre.
Ready, set, …
While the local shunter is still sorting the cars, the return train is already being composed. It all happens with relatively few people, and it goes fast. I wonder if this is a profitable business, considering the number of cars the freight trains carry.
An impressive train, consisting of 12 coaches and led by a heavy duty Ge 6/6 II engine has just left the station of Bever. The powerful engine is justified by the climb up the Albula pass – between Bever and St. Moritz the trains run run in a relatively flat valley. The backdrop is what makes the view. Flat valley and beautiful surroundings are probably two main reasons why St. Moritz, a bit further up the valley, has become a main tourist resort.
The last freight train of the day, headed to Pontresina, passes us at Bever station. We awaited this train before heading home. Weather forecast wasn’t looking good, and because of last night’s accident, we decided to make a stop-over north of Strasbourg.
It had already gotten rather dark for this photo – some boosting of the light was necessary to get a decent result.