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by Jim Humberd
Several times when we needed to drive over high mountains in Italy, Austria and Switzerland, we chose instead to ride the tunnel-train. Sometimes that is necessary because of snow covered roads, sometimes it is just convenient, and sometimes we were so tried of driving twisty mountain roads.
The tunnel-train consists of many flatcars, built so we can drive our vehicle on a ramp from flatcar to flatcar, parking a few inches behind the bumper of the vehicle ahead of us. We have done this in Austria, Italy, and in Switzerland. We haven't tried it yet, but the trains that transport vehicles through the Chunnel (dug 1988-1994) connecting England and France, operate in this same manner.
While driving from Salzburg to Venice, if the weather had been sunny and pleasant, we would have been happy to drive through the high mountain scenery, but since it was cloudy and raining, we rode the auto train (Cost $4 in 1970). One time as we drove from Italy toward Interlaken, Switzerland, we rode the tunnel-train north through the Lötschberg Tunnel (dug, 1906-11) from Goppenstein to Kandersteg. The weather just wasn't all that nice, it was mid-afternoon and we needed to find a campsite, so it wasn't worth our time and effort to drive over the high mountain passes.
Another year we rode the tunnel-train south through this same tunnel. There were more than one Swiss mountain pass we needed to cross to get to Italy, but the roads over the passes were still closed because of snow. Rather than drive far to the west, then return east once we were south of these mountains, we drove to Kandersteg and caught that train to Goppenstein.
Still another year we left Domodossola, Italy, headed north towards the Swiss border and the Simplon Pass, intending to drive to Zermat and the Matterhorn. Normally we prefer to drive the scenic route, but the past two days had been tough driving and again it was getting late, so we decided to ride the train from Iselle, Italy, to Brig, Switzerland, through the Simplon Tunnel (dug, 1898-1906). All we needed to do was drive onto the flat cars, turn off the motor and relax until we got to the other end of the tunnel. It¹s really dark in there!
Another year we drove this same mountain pass during a light snowfall, and discovered a monastery near the top.
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