Wengernalp Railway - Description

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The WAB is an 800 mm gauge, pure rack and pinion railway (Riggenbach-Pauli system) and technically is almost identical to the Schynige Platte Railway. It runs from Lauterbrunnen, to the "auto-free" health resort of Wengen, then to the head of the Kleine Scheidegg pass where it connects to the Jungfrau Railway and on to the other side under the famous Eiger North Wall and down to Grindelwald. At both terminal points there are connections to the Bernese Oberland Railways. The line was opened in 1893 and electrified in 1909/10 using 1500 V direct current. At the same time as the electrification, another, less steep line to Wengen was constructed and is being used today by almost all regular trains. The old line still exists and is used mostly by goods and service trains. Many railcars and driving trailers handle the heavy passenger traffic; for the goods traffic there are still a number of old banking locomotives available from the early days of electrification. Traffic is heaviest in winter since the WAB opened up a unique ski area near the Kleine Scheidegg region. During ski season, passenger equipment is regularly borrowed from the SPB to be able to run trains at closer intervals. These trains run only up to Kleine Scheidegg and back; due to the gradient (up to 25%), there are no through trains and the railcars always have to remain below. The WAB depots are in Lauterbrunnen and at the Grindelwald Grund station.
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Copyright © 1996 Stefan Dringenberg, last change 07-26-98