We, were on a little blue train that winds its way up the mountainside above Montreux. In the distance it looks like a toy electric train with a most elaborate set of roads, chalets, town houses, a castle or two, lake, streams, trees, and bridges. The ride on the train takes it out of the museum piece toy set into a breathtaking reality. You catch a last glimpse of the lake and vineyards above, which turn all shades of yellow, just before you enter a tunnel. The climb has been possible by tunneling through the mountain, and though the train chugs slowly it also slides along the tracks in a very certain manner. On the other side of the tunnel new heights have been reached, and out of the windows you can see jagged cliffs, sharp plunges into the valley, and fresh snow on the peaks. It makes you feel the appreciation of the mountain climber. There is a satisfying involvement in the view of rushing torrents, deep woods, isolated chalets with cows grazing on steep pastures, with no need to be fearful of having lost your way. The secure feeling of being on the tracks and carried along was most vivid on a high bridge over a sharp chasm. A sobering thought penetrated my enjoyment of the scene: “Think of the people involved in laying the tracks, in pioneering the tunnel-making, in cutting into the stone of impossibly sharp mountainsides!” Whether for Swiss mountain trains, or trains going through deserts and jungles, plains or canyons, fiercely hot jungles or bitterly cold northern wilds, tracks have had to be laid at great cost to some people. The cost of laying safe and trustworthy tracks to destinations that are important to the traveler is a cost that is so easy to take for granted. Lives have been lost in the laying ...1
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