Rail tourism

1957
Secular pilgrimages
Secular pilgrimages

When it opens in 1882, the Gotthard rail line swiftly becomes a tourist attraction. The little church at Wassen, which travellers see from various angles, is famous. The Gotthard Base Tunnel of 2016 runs beneath the church. (before 1920, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd)

In the second half of the 20th century the TEE (Trans Europ Express), with its signature purple-red livery, is the embodiment of fast, elegant travel. A joint undertaking of the state railways in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland, it commences operations in 1957. Soon it is also running through the Gotthard. The little church of Wassen, which train travellers get to see from a variety of angles, becomes a tourist icon. The benefits to tourism resulting from faster passenger travel thanks to the NRLA play as much of a role as the environmentally friendly transport of goods.

« Anyone who has never spilled 25 litres of syrup in a third-class Swiss Federal Railways carriage has no right to claim that travelling through the Gotthard is delightful. »

Klaus Schädelin, Mein Name ist Eugen, Zurich 1955, p. 71

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