Rigibahnen (VRB & ARB)
The Rigi mountain in central Switzerland has long attracted visitors and was immortalised in the 19th Century by the renowned artist JMW Turner who painted a series of impressionist paintings of the mountain.

The first railway up the Rigi was the standard gauge Vitznau Rigi Bahn (VRB) rack railway between Vitznau, on the shores of the Vierwaldstattersee, and a station at Rigi Staffel. The Swiss engineer Niklaus Riggenbach had patented a rack-and-pinion rail system in 1863 and construction of the line commenced in 1869 with completion in May 1870. Four years later Riggenbach and his partner built a second standard gauge rack railway, the Arth-Rigi Bahn (ARB) from Arth, on the northern side of the mountain, up to Rigi Kulm. The VRB line was also extended from Rigi Staffel to Rigi Kulm so that both companies’ trains could reach the summit on separate but parallel lines. This situation persisted until 1992 when the two companies merged to form the Rigibahnen.

A third metre gauge line was constructed from Rigi Kaltbad (on the VRB line) to Rigi Scheidegg. This was an adhesion-only line as it followed the contours of the mountain and was reasonably level. The line opened in 1874/75 and closed in 1931.

Both the VRB and the ARB used steam traction until the lines were electrified in 1937 and 1907 respectively. However two of the VRB 0-4-2 rack tank locomotives have been retained in working order for use on special trains. In addition one of the original locomotives built in 1873, an 0-4-0 vertical boiler rack tank, was restored to working condition in 1996 in time for the 125th anniversary of the line.
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