125 Years of the Brienz Rothorn Railway SI

125 Years of the Brienz Rothorn Railway

Nostalgia with a view

The Brienz Rothorn railway (BRB) was commis- sioned 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. 

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 Ro- thorn 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 av- erage gradient of 22.4% and a maxi- mum 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 rst-generation loco- motive. It was built by the Swiss Lo- comotive- and Machine Works in Winterthur in 1891–1892. Following conversion and modi cation 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 me- chanical 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. 


Technical Details

Issue Date: 11.05.2017
Designer: Arnold & Braun Gra k Design, Lucerne
Printer: Joh. Enschedé, Haarlem, Netherlands
Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: Stamp: 32.5×32.5 mm, Sheetlet: 192×115 mm (2 rows of 4 stamps)