List of highest railways in Europe

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A Bernina Express crosses the Bernina Pass, the highest rail pass in Europe.[1]

This is a list of highest passenger railways in operation in Europe. It only includes non-cable railways[2] whose culminating point is over 1,000 metres above sea level. Most of them are located in the Alps, where two railways, the Jungfrau and Gornergrat railways, exceed 3,000 metres. The Pyrenees, which come second in height, include several railways above 1,500 metres. Because of the harsh weather conditions that prevail at higher altitudes (the climatic snow line lies at about 3,000 metres in the Alps and 2,000 metres in Scandinavia), some railways were built partially underground, notably the Jungfrau and Zugspitze railways.

Lines that are both adhesion and standard gauge railways and part of the main European rail network are boldfaced in the list. Countries where the line is below 1,000 metres are indicated in small letters.

List[edit]

Railway Country Range Highest point Highest elevation Maximum incline Gauge Rack railway Type Notes
Jungfrau   Switzerland Alps Jungfraujoch 3,454 m (11,332 ft) 25% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail Underground above 2,320 m, highest railway outside the Americas before the opening of the Qinghai Railway in 1984
Gornergrat   Switzerland Alps Gornergrat 3,090 m (10,138 ft) 20% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail Highest open-air railway in Europe
Zugspitze  Germany Alps Schneefernerhaus 2,650 m (8,694 ft) 25% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail Underground above 1,640 m
Mont Blanc  France Alps Nid d'Aigle 2,372 m (7,782 ft) 24% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Bernina   Switzerland Alps Ospizio Bernina 2,253 m (7,392 ft) 7% 1,000 mm No Rail crossing
Brienz–Rothorn   Switzerland Alps Brienzer Rothorn 2,244 m (7,362 ft) 25% 800 mm Yes Dead-end rail Not electrified
Riffelalp   Switzerland Alps Riffelalp Resort 2,222 m (7,290 ft) 5% 800 mm No Dead-end rail Highest tram line in Europe[3]
Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway   Switzerland Alps Furka railway station 2,163 m (7,096 ft) 11.8% 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing Not electrified, seasonal operations
Pilatus   Switzerland Alps Mount Pilatus 2,073 m (6,801 ft) 48% 800 mm Yes Dead-end rail Steepest railway in the world[4]
Lauterbrunnen–Kleine Scheidegg–Grindelwald   Switzerland Alps Kleine Scheidegg 2,061 m (6,762 ft) 25% 800 mm Yes Rail crossing
Andermatt–Chur   Switzerland Alps Oberalp Pass 2,043 m (6,703 ft) 11% 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing
Montreux–Glion–Rochers-de-Naye   Switzerland Alps Rochers de Naye 1,968 m (6,457 ft) 22% 800 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Schynige Platte   Switzerland Alps Schynige Platte 1,967 m (6,453 ft) 25% 800 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Vall de Núria  Spain Pyrenees Núria 1,964 m (6,444 ft) 15% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail Highest railway in Europe outside the Alps
Artouste  France Pyrenees Station d'Artouste 1,940 m (6,365 ft) 500 mm No Dead-end rail Accessible only by cable car
Montenvers  France Alps Hotel du Montenvers 1,913 m (6,276 ft) 22% 800 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Les Montuires–Emosson   Switzerland Alps Les Montuires 1,822 m (5,978 ft) 1.46% 600 mm No Dead-end rail Part of the Parc d'attractions du Châtelard[5]
Albula   Switzerland Alps Albula Tunnel 1,820 m (5,971 ft) 3.5% 1,000 mm No Rail crossing
Cercedilla-Cotos  Spain Central System Cotos Railway station 1,818 m (5,965 ft) 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail Highest railway operated by RENFE
Bex–Villars–Bretaye   Switzerland Alps Bretaye 1,806 m (5,925 ft) 20% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Schneeberg  Austria Alps Schneeberg 1,792 m (5,879 ft) 19.6% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Pontresina–Scuol-Tarasp   Switzerland Alps Pontresina 1,774 m (5,820 ft) 2.5% 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail Lowest point at the terminus station (Scuol-Tarasp)
Rigi   Switzerland Alps Rigi Kulm 1,752 m (5,748 ft) 25% 1,435 mm Yes Rail crossing at Rigi Staffel, dead-end rail to the summit Oldest mountain rack railway in Europe
Chur–Arosa   Switzerland Alps Arosa 1,739 m (5,705 ft) 6% 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail
Schafberg  Austria Alps Schafberg 1,732 m (5,682 ft) 25.5% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Wendelstein  Germany Alps Wendelstein 1,723 m (5,653 ft) 23.7% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Grütschalp–Mürren   Switzerland Alps Mürren 1,639 m (5,377 ft) 5% 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail Accessible only by cable car
Landquart–Klosters–Davos   Switzerland Alps Davos Wolfgang 1,625 m (5,331 ft) 4.5% 1,000 mm No Rail crossing
Visp–Zermatt   Switzerland Alps Zermatt 1,605 m (5,266 ft) 12.5% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Monte Generoso   Switzerland Alps Generoso Vetta 1,601 m (5,253 ft) 22% 800 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Cerdagne  France Pyrenees Bolquère-Eyne 1,592 m (5,223 ft) 6% 1,000 mm No Rail crossing
Portet-Saint-Simon–Puigcerdà  France/ Spain Pyrenees Porté-Puymorens 1,562 m (5,125 ft) 4% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing Highest adhesion and standard gauge railway in Europe
Brig–Andermatt   Switzerland Alps Realp 1,538 m (5,046 ft) 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing
Ripoll-Puigcerdà  Spain Pyrenees Toses tunnel 1,494 m (4,902 ft) 1,668 mm No Rail crossing Highest adhesion and Iberian gauge Railway in Spain
Aigle–Leysin   Switzerland Alps Leysin Grand Hôtel 1,450 m (4,757 ft) 23% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Göschenen–Andermatt   Switzerland Alps Andermatt 1,436 m (4,711 ft) 17.9% 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing
Panoramique des Dômes  France Massif Central Puy de Dôme 1,406 m (4,613 ft) 20% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Mont-Blanc Express  France/  Switzerland Alps Tunnel des Montets 1,380 m (4,528 ft) 20% 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing Operated by the Martigny–Châtelard and Saint-Gervais–Vallorcine railways
Brenner  Austria/ Italy Alps Brenner 1,371 m (4,498 ft) 2.5% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Vevey–Les Pléiades   Switzerland Alps Les Pléiades 1,360 m (4,462 ft) 20% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Madrid-Hendaye  Spain/ France Central System Herradón-La Cañada Railway station[6] 1,360 m (4,462 ft) 1,668 mm No Rail crossing
Tatra  Slovakia Tatra Mountains Štrbské Pleso 1,350 m (4,429 ft) 15% 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing
Fréjus  Italy/ France Alps Fréjus Tunnel 1,338 m (4,390 ft) 3% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Arlberg  Austria Alps Arlberg Tunnel 1,311 m (4,301 ft) 3.1% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Villalba-Segovia  Spain Central System Gudillos tunnel 1,300 m (4,265 ft) 1,668 mm No Rail crossing
Montreux-Oberland Bernois   Switzerland Alps Saanenmöser Pass 1,279 m (4,196 ft) 7% 1,000 mm No Rail crossing
León-Gijón  Spain Cantabrian Mountains La Perruca tunnel 1,278 m (4,193 ft) 1,668 mm No Rail crossing
Sulmona-Isernia[7]  Italy Apennines Rivisondoli-Pescocostanzo 1,268 m (4,160 ft) 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Septemvri-Dobrinishte  Bulgaria Between Rhodope and Rila Mountains Avramovo 1,267 m (4,157 ft) 3.2% 760 mm No Rail crossing Highest railway in the Balkan Peninsula
Ritten  Italy Alps Rappersbichl 1,255 m (4,117 ft) 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail Accessible by cable car
Lötschberg   Switzerland Alps Lötschberg Tunnel 1,240 m (4,068 ft) 2.7% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing Highest adhesion and standard gauge railway in Switzerand
Bergen  Norway Scandinavian Mountains Finse Tunnel 1,237 m (4,058 ft) 1,435 mm No Rail crossing Highest railway in Scandinavia
Nyon–St-Cergue–La Cure   Switzerland Jura Mountains Col de la Givrine 1,228 m (4,029 ft) 6% 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail Highest railway in the Jura Mountains
Tauern  Austria Alps Tauern Tunnel 1,226 m (4,022 ft) 3% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Sagunto-Zaragoza  Spain Iberian System Puerto Escandón railway station 1,218 m (3,996 ft) 1,668 mm No Rail crossing
Madrid-Barcelona high-speed rail line  Spain Iberian System Somewhere during the brief pass of the line through Castile and Leon 1,217 m (3,993 ft) 1,435 mm No Rail crossing Highest high-speed rail line in Spain.

Higuest adhesion and standard gauge railway in Spain. Name of the location of the highest point (if it has any) needs to be confirmed by reliable sources. If the location of the highest point hadn't a specific name, the kilometer point on which is located could be an alternative.

Erzberg  Austria Alps Präbichl 1,204 m (3,950 ft) 7.1% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Veynes–Briançon  France Alps Briançon 1,203 m (3,947 ft) 2.5% 1,435 mm No Dead-end rail
Madrid-Valladolid high-speed rail line  Spain Central System Guadarrama Tunnel 1,200 m (3,937 ft) 1,435 mm No Rail crossing High-speed rail line
Canfranc Railway  Spain Pyrenees Canfranc International Railway Station[8] 1,194 m (3,917 ft) 1,668 mm No Dead end rail

(see remarks)

A former rail crossing between Spain and France. Nowadays rail traffic on the Spanish side ends at Canfranc International Railway Station.
La Robla Railway  Spain Cantabrian Mountains Alto del Cristo del Amparo 1,192 m (3,911 ft) 1,668 mm No Rail crossing
Torralba-Soria[9]  Spain Iberian System Miño de Medinaceli Railway Station 1,162 m (3,812 ft) 1,668 mm No Rail crossing Not electrified
Aigle–Sépey–Diablerets   Switzerland Alps Les Diablerets 1,155 m (3,789 ft) 6% 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail
Gotthard   Switzerland Alps Gotthard Tunnel 1,151 m (3,776 ft) 2.7% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Aranjuez-Valencia  Spain Sierra de los Palancares Los Palancares Railway station? Approximately:

1,132 m (3,714 ft)

1,668 mm No Rail crossing Higuest point and it altitude need to be confirmed with reliable sources.
Salamanca-Ávila  Spain Ávila Railway Station[10] 1,132 m (3,714 ft) 1,668 mm No End rail

(see remarks)

Not electrified

The line ends in Ávila but trains can continue (and most of them continue) to Madrid using the Madrid-Hendaye line.

La Chaux-de-Fonds–Ponts-de-Martel   Switzerland Jura Mountains Above L'Abbaye 1,120 m (3,675 ft) 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail
Ausserfern  Austria/ Germany Alps Lähn 1,106 m (3,629 ft) 3.75% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Zamora-A Coruña  Spain Galician Massif Approximately:

1,100 m (3,609 ft)

1,668 mm No Rail crossing Higuest point and exact altitude need to be confirmed with reliable sources.

Part of the line, including the highest parts, isn't electrified.

León-A Coruña  Spain Montes de León Brañuelas Tunnel Approximately:

1,100 m (3,609 ft)

1,668 mm No Rail crossing Exact altitude needs to be confirmed with reliable sources.
Madrid-Barcelona  Spain Iberian System Approximately:

1,080 m (3,543 ft)

1,668 mm No Rail crossing Higuest point and exact altitude needs to be confirmed with reliable sources.
La Chaux-de-Fonds–Le Noirmont–Glovelier   Switzerland Jura Mountains Hotel de Bellevue 1,071 m (3,514 ft) 1,000 mm No Rail crossing
Yverdon–Ste-Croix   Switzerland Jura Mountains Sainte-Croix 1,066 m (3,497 ft) 4.4% 1,000 mm No Dead-end rail
Snowdon  United Kingdom Snowdonia Snowdon 1,065 m (3,494 ft) 800 mm Yes Dead-end rail Highest railway in the British Isles
Ploiești–Brașov  Romania Carpathian Mountains Predeal 1,054 m (3,458 ft) 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Vallorbe–Le Brassus   Switzerland Jura Mountains Le Lieu 1,050 m (3,445 ft) 2.3% 1,435 mm No Dead-end rail
Neuchâtel–La Chaux-de-Fonds–Col-des-Roches[11]   Switzerland Jura Mountains Les Convers 1,048 m (3,438 ft) 3.1% 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Monthey–Champéry   Switzerland Alps Champéry (north station) 1,044 m (3,425 ft) 13.5% 1,000 mm Yes Dead-end rail
Tenda  Italy/ France Alps Tenda Tunnel 1,040 m (3,412 ft) 1,435 mm No Rail crossing
Interlaken–Grindelwald   Switzerland Alps Grindelwald 1,034 m (3,392 ft) 12% 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing
Aosta–Pré-Saint-Didier  Italy Alps Pré-Saint-Didier 1,004 m (3,294 ft) 1,435 mm No Dead-end rail
Brünig   Switzerland Alps Brünig 1,002 m (3,287 ft) 12% 1,000 mm Yes Rail crossing

See also[edit]

References[edit]