David at Alpenrail.
Lots to see at Alpenrail.
Switzerland in Tasmania.
If you have a fascination for trains, you won’t want to miss this.
Alpenrail is the product of a gift from a grandfather to a grandson.
Rudi Jenni snr and his family moved from Switzerland to Tasmania in the 1950s to be involved in the booming textile industry. As a parting gift, Rudi Jr was given a brass locomotive by his Swiss grandfather. He had been working on it for many years and it was modelled on one of the first Swiss locomotives, nicknamed "the crocodile" because of its shape.
Rudi inherited his grandfather's love and fascination for trains. He always wanted to build a model village for the train and eventually his dream came true.
The Jennis began building in 1976 and Alpenrail opened to the public in 1985. The Swiss village and railway depicts the Bernese Alps in Central Switzerland and the attraction is continually being worked on and improved. In 1985 they had only three trains now there are 12.
The family estimates they have spent at least 30,000 hours working on the model, which cleverly is bigger at the bottom, getting smaller as it goes up, to give a feeling of perspective.
There are 350m of track, 14,000m of wiring and the model covers an area of about 200 square metres. It is housed in a 12m x 17m hall with a ceiling shaped to create a sky effect.
The model has 12 main mountains, the best known being Jungfrau, Wetterhorn and Eiger. The two stations are based on Spiez and Interlaken and the two villages based on Grindelwald and Wengen. There are several lakes (the biggest being Brienz), 12 bridges and 15 tunnels, 2000 trees and 500 people, mostly in the trains. There are six chair lifts, cable cars and funicular railways.
In engineering terms the model is accurate and each train travels about 1000km a year, at between 80-100km/h.
Alpenrail is a real family operation Rudi Jr made the locomotives and Rudi snr painted them. It is just as much fun for grown-ups as it is for the children.