The Brienz Rothorn railway (BRB) was commissioned in 1892, just 15 months after construction work began. At the time, it was the highest steam-powered rack railway in the world. The fascination with this railway remains to this day. StampNews.com is excite to present to our readers’ attention this special stamp by Swiss Post that celebrates 125 years of the Brienz Rothorn railway.
Let’s appreciate its exquisite design together!
No fewer than 640 men, most of whom were Italians, were involved in the construction of this unique railway. The impressive altitude difference still astonishes visitors to this day. Covering a distance of just 7.6 kilometres, the train ride from Brienz (566 metres above sea level) to the dizzy heights of the Rothorn summit at 2,244 metres above sea level takes just under an hour and climbs no less than 1,678 metres. The breathtaking ascent is suitably impressive. The railway has an average gradient of 22.4% and a maximum gradient of 25% (equivalent to 1 in 4 in road terminology). This means that the railway climbs 25 metres for every 100 metres of track!
The special stamp marking the 125th anniversary features the Number 5, a first-generation locomotive. It was built by the Swiss Locomotive- and Machine Works in Winterthur in 1891-1892. Following conversion and modification work in 1935-36 and 1990, it is still in use today. It requires 300 kg of coal and 2,000 litres of water to make the journey from Brienz up to the top of the Rothorn.
The designers of the special stamp have not shied away from the sooty, dirty and oily nature of this mechanical work of art. The sheet margin features a carriage in the characteristic red of the BRB. In the background is the view of the mountain panorama – on a clear day, you can see over 693 Alpine peaks from the Brienzer Rothorn.