snow blower  

Snow- blower on St Gotthard Pass

This photograph for our ‘spot the difference‘ game of a snow-blower was taken at the St Gotthard Pass, Switzerland. The famous alpine road achieves a maximum height of 2,091 metres (6,860 feet) and keeping it open in winter would be quite a challenge even for these machines, so, like most Swiss alpine roads, it is closed from November to May. (The machine pictured goes into action in May to remove the winter snow.) As well as the 1882 rail tunnel, there has been a road tunnel since 1980, which saves miles compared to the pass. However the pass is an internationally significant European transport and trading route, and has an important position in the Swiss psyche because of its history in the development of the country (it connects the north and south of the nation), so its hotels and restaurants are kept open for as much of the year as possible. The national Gotthard Museum at the top (open daily 09.00 t0 18.00 when the pass is open) celebrates the economic, cultural and political significance of the route over the Alps, and reminds us that in the 19th century horse-drawn coaches traversed this pass. In fact the museum is housed in an 1834 building that used to be the customs post and accommodation for travellers.