History of Goppenstein

The name Goppenstein appeared in 1474 for the first time in connection with lead mining in the Loetschental. Until 1906 started the construction of the Loetschberg tunnel, not much happened in Goppenstein. Goppenstein was an Alp as any other.

During the tunnel construction period of 1906-1913 Goppenstein grew into one of the largest villages in the Upper Valais. Up to 3500 people lived and worked here. In addition to accommodations include a post office, restaurants and even a movie theater were built. Most of the buildings were demolished after the completion of the Loetschberg route.

In 1900 the first hydroelectric power plant using the water of the Lonza was built in Gampel. Two more power plants followed until 1950. In November 1975 the three connectet power plants were replaced by the new power plant with the reservoir in Ferden. The water flowed and flows until today through several kilometers of tunnels between Ferden and Gampel/Steg to the different power plants.

With the expansion of the road network, the car on train service was established. First, the trains drove from Kandersteg to Brig. In 1950 the now famous car on train service between Kandersteg and Goppenstein was introduced.

For the construction of the Loetschberg base tunnel, there was an intermediate heading in Goppenstein. For the workers there was accomodations and a canteen. The excavated material was loaded into a loading bay. Loaded on trains the material was transported to Raron for recycling. After construction was completed, all the buildings were demolished and the area rehabilitated.

Here you can see an overview of the subterranean systems around Goppenstein. The tunnels of the former mine as well as the tunnels of the hydro power plants are not open to the public for safety reasons and may only be entered with a corresponding authorization and under expert supervision.

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