Extracts from history
For many years the Valley of Ursern was an important departure point for people wanting to cross the Alps. The valley brought together Northern and Southern Europe via three passes - the Gotthard (north-south), the Furka (to the west) and the Oberalp Pass (to the east). The route over the Gotthard was the only one over the Alps that could be achieved by using just one pass.
In 1200 the difficult “Schöllenenschlucht” (Schöllenen Gorge) was opened to foot travellers and later, in 1830, this pack-way was expanded to take coaches and sleighs. In 1852 the 15-kilometre long railway tunnel between Göschenen (Canton of Uri) and Airolo (Canton of Tessin or Ticino) was opened and this was considered the longest tunnel in the world until 1905.
In the heyday of the “Säumers” (freight haulers using pack-animals) the journey between Lucerne and the Italian border took between 5-7 days. With the arrival of the Post Coach this journey was reduced to some 24 hours and the opening of the Gotthard railway tunnel further reduced it to 9 hours. During this 100-year period the journey over the Gotthard was shortened from several days to just a few hours.
Bestaunen Sie die bahntechnische Pionierleitung unserer Vorfahren und erfahren Sie mehr über die Geschichte der Dampfbahn Furka Bergstrecke, den Verkauf der Locken nach Vietnam sowie die Wiederbelebung der alten Strecke über die Furka.
The valley of Ursern was for many years an important departure point for the crossing of the Alps. The importance of this region was that the Gotthard was the only crossing whereby travellers had but one Pass to negotiate. This advantage gave it great importance throughout the ages.