The Gornergrat station is the highest free-standing station building in Europe. In this interview, René Fux talks about his job as station-master and what to look out for on your visit to Zermatt.
What does your job as station manager entail?
I am responsible for ensuring a safe and punctual train service at the Gornergrat and Riffelberg stations, and at the same time I am also the first point of contact for customers and control the train tickets and ski passes.
What is special about your job?
Having an international clientele is always interesting. Once I greeted a guest that I knew had been spending his holidays in Zermatt for many years with ‘Great that you’re back with us again.’ The guest smiled broadly and told me, “Zermatt is like a virus, it grabs you and doesn’t let go. The only effective remedy is coming back!” Hearing comments like this make me very happy.
At each station, the challenges are different. In winter, that can mean snowfall, high winds and icy temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees.
What are the next major projects for the Gornergrat Bahn?
There are two very exciting projects underway at present. On the one hand, we are creating new rolling stock, on the other hand, the 20-minute cycle is being introduced at the Gornergrat Bahn.
The trains must run faster, which is not possible with the current 57-year-old machines, but the procurement process has a lot of stakeholders with different needs. So it’s not always, but it’s definitely exciting.
A 360 degree view from the top of the Gornergrat Bahn
In my opinion, Zermatt stands out from other tourism destinations.
In winter there are plenty of ski slopes of varying difficulty, and in the summer there are almost unlimited hiking opportunities in an amazing mountain world – with view of many 4000m peaks.
And it’s important to include the wonderful culinary choices – some of which are world famous – whether on the mountain or the starred restaurants in the village.
What should be a part of any visit to Zermatt?
A ride on the Gornergrat at full moon followed by an overnight in the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat is a great experience. And if you’re an early riser, it’s worth watching the sunrise.
The first ski run on freshly groomed slopes or an aperitif with fondue are ideal family outings. Or maybe try the igloo. Other highlights include a ride on the new 3S-Bahn and the FünfSeenwanderung in the summer and autumn months.
If you’d like advice on finding serviced or self-catered accommodation in Zermatt, then please contact the Matterhorn Chalets team on +41 79 247 15 88
This interview first appeared in the February 2019 issue of Inside Zermatt.