Out and about with the Gornergrat cleaning team
What do you suppose is the most important element of a trip up to the Gornergrat? Of course – it’s a clean window so you can get your first perfect photos of the Matterhorn from the train on your way up. Did you realise that on the Gornergrat trains over 25,000 window panes are cleaned by hand every month?
Find out how our Clean-Team keeps the trains in pristine condition every day for the following day’s work. In 2020 cleaning took on a new aspect: not just producing sparkling windows but maintaining a continuously high standard of disinfection on board to conform with our safety concept.
A strange workplace - in the middle of a mountain
The Clean-Team works from a 250m long tunnel with 2 tracks beneath a mountain in Zermatt. The trains arrive in the tunnel after a day’s work. There is no washing installation which means that every train is cleaned – inside and out – by hand.
All year round the tunnel maintains a temperature of 14°C. This is a huge advantage in winter with an energy-saving function: the tunnel is not just the place where the Clean-Team operate but where the trains are automatically freed of accumulated snow. No extra energy is required to melt the snow and the trains are clean and ready for the following day.
During the summer months the Clean-Team staff work in pairs. Their working hours are from 5.00 pm to 1.00 am. The very last train to be cleaned enters the tunnel at 00.15 am after bringing the staff from the Hotel Riffelalp Resort back to Zermatt. In winter, they have a third team member to help because the floors of the train get very dirty from snow and salt.
A new standard in 2020
The cleaning of the interior not only includes the floor, the hand-grip rods and tables but also the windows. During the Corona pandemic the Clean-Team has had to deal with new responsibilities: the disinfecting of the interiors is now of great importance. These are not only cleaned as part of the night-time cleaning program but get a further hygienic clean around midday.
Over 6,000 window panes per week
Window cleaning is the most time-consuming step for the Clean-Team, summer being more demanding than in winter. This may be difficult to understand but there is a perfectly good explanation: in summer, our passengers use more sun cream which not only sticks to skin but often also to the window glass. The strong summer sunshine dries the sun cream on the glass much harder than the winter sun would. To get perfect, shiny windows each one needs to be cleaned two or three times over.
You calculate: Our Clean Team cleans 805 window panes a day. The outside of the windows are cleaned once a week, so the number of cleaned windows rises to over 6000! Extrapolated to one summer month, the total number of windows cleaned is over 25'000. An impressive number, what is done here by hand!