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StEphan Stauber

Realp SommerStory

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"The railway virus is hard to shake off"

Stephan Stauber, 44, turned his hobby into his career and now works on the Furka steam train.

My favourite locomotive

"The Weisshörndli, a steam locomotive from 1902, which we use here on the railway. Everything about is different from other locomotives – the way it's maintained, the way it's fired, the way it drives ... I love driving it."

My leisure time

"I have a model railway, and there's always something to tinker with. A model railway is never finished. When the railway virus hits you, you're done for. Here on the railway we say we're suffering from Furka-itis. There's no known cure. And since I moved to Realp I've also taken up skiing."

 

Name             Stephan Stauber (44)

i live in           Realp

Career             

"I was born and brought up in Aargau. In 1991, I did an engineering apprenticeship at the SBB workshop in Erstfeld. My aim was to become a train driver, but after my apprenticeship there were no vacancies, so I became a visiteur. Visiteurs work in large railway stations and are responsible for the operation and safety of the trains. I did that job for 18 years for SBB in Basel and Lucerne. For the past three and a half years, I've been working as one of the few full-time employees on the Furka steam railway in Realp. And here, finally, I've been able to train as a train driver. I'm also employed in the workshop and carry out carriage maintenance and snow clearance."

 

My motivation

"The entire Furka steam railway organisation and how it works fascinates me. Working with so many volunteers, who help keep the railway going, is a huge motivation for me."

 

Person I'd most like to meet

"I would love to have met Niklaus Riggenbach (inventor of the Riggenbach rack system, 1817-1899) and Carl Roman Abt (inventor of the Abt rack system for cog railways, 1850-1933) so that I could talk shop with them and ask them about their inventions."

Where I live

"It takes time to be accepted by a village community. I visited Realp regularly for 30 years and now I've been living here for three years. But I take part in the local fetes and I'm a member of the local fire brigade, so I'm fairly well integrated. Also, the depot at the steam railway has lots of tools and equipment that are often borrowed by other tradesmen in the village, so my job brings me into contact with the locals as well."

Special memories of Andermatt

"There are often special moments with passengers on the railway. Especially when a birthday boy or girl is allowed to ride up front with me in the locomotive.

"But it's a pity that the road between Realp and Andermatt has to close in the winter because of avalanche risk, as Realp becomes completely cut off. I think a forest should be planted, which would provide avalanche protection.

Unfortunately the gallery that many people want is unlikely to happen due to cost."