Narrow Gauge News 2/2000 (April)


Aare Seeland Mobil AG

Re-alignment of track
The railways which now make up the combined company of ASM - i.e. the OJB and SNB have re-aligned the metre gauge track between Langenthal and Roggwil due to the construction of SBB’s new standard gauge line Mattstetten-Rothrist. The new formation was used from December 1999 and raised the maximum permissible speed from 45 km/h to 65 km/h.

New logo and corporate design
Locomotive Be 4/4 108 is the first to carry the new ASM logo.


Berner Oberland-Bahn

SBB carriages hired
SBB Brünig carriages were hired to compose a special push-pull set for the Swiss President Mr. H. P. Seiler.


Chemins de fer électriques Veveysans

Bad weather
The storm nicknamed "Lothar" forced the CEV to suspend services between Blonay and Les Pleiades, and also the local services on the preserved Blonay to Chamby railway until 22nd January. Repairs were delayed due to the overhead line contractor (MOB) being fully occupied in repairing damage on its own lines.


Chemins de fer du Jura

Diesel locomotive sold
Gm 4/4 locomotive no. 508 which was acquired second-hand for shunting and engineering works duties has been sold to the Chemins de fer de Provence in France. It had not been used for some years due to financial constraints, and the fact that the railway already owns several units from La Traction which can operate without overhead power supplies.

Bad weather (2)
The storm "Lother" also inflicted damage to the CJ, however following repairs, waste trains to the incinerator at La Chaux de Fonds started on 10th January 2000. The train runs from Saignelegier to La Chaux de Fonds via Glovelier arriving at the incinerator at 11 am. At present these trains are still hauled by De 4/4 no. 411 as the rebuilding of the former RhB Chur-Arosa-line railcar has experienced unforeseen problems.



New passing loop
A new passing loop has been built at Mompé-Tujetsch to allow trains to pass between Disentis and Sedrun. The Federal Government provided financial support for the project which was considered of national importance due to the extra construction traffic in connection with the new Gotthard Base Tunnel. Heavy engineering works were involved due to poor soil conditions.

Brünig line carriages acquired
The FO has taken over six Brünig line centre door carriages still in the original green livery. Five (2x B, and 3x AB) have been taken into the workshops at Glisergrund and are to be upgraded and released in "Sports Carriage" livery for use between Brig and Fiesch. The sixth AB 475 has been renumbered AB4173, painted in standard FO livery and accepted into the normal carriage fleet.

Luggage only trains
Due to heavy demand, the FO is operating "luggage only" trains between Brig and Oberwald every Friday and Saturday. Most of these trains were hauled by HGe 4/4 I cog-wheel locomotives. The consist of Gak-v, Hak-v and Gb-v vans often includes bicycle carrying wagon Gb-v 4445 "Aletsch". As there is no spare capacity in the current fleet, occasionally the 60 year old BDeh 4/4 luggage vans nos. 41 and 45 have been pressed into service. The two survivors are part of an original batch of five, no. 43 was scrapped after floods in 1993, and the remaining two are kept for spares in Glisergrund Works.


Chemins der fer Fribourgeois (Gruyère-Friburg-Morat)

Railcar fitted with new body
Power car Be 4/4 no. 116 has been fitted with a new steel body at Bulle-Planchy works. Whilst it looks similar to the original, the replacement of the opening windows on cost saving grounds certainly damages the overall impression. The vehicle is painted in brown livery and is lettered CEG (Chemins De Fer Electriques de la Gruyere). It is destined for use in the "old timer" set thus relieving the 1903 built historic power car Be 4/4 111.


Montreux-Oberland Bernois-Bahn

Bad weather (3)
The MOB suffered badly as a result of "Lothar" with almost all services being withdrawn until mid January just in time for the International Balloon Festival in Chateau D’Oex. Some 80 members of staff were involved in clearance works involving the removal of over 100 uprooted trees blocking the track between Montbovon and Rossinière.

Unusual load
Three standard gauge wagons were transported by the MOB to the Balloon festival at Chateau D’Oex hauled by Gde 4/4 6002.

New livery for 8003 and 8004
Ge 4/4 no. 8003 has been repainted into a black livery with three white question marks on the side in connection with changes to the Panoramic Expresses from 28th May 2000.

New Luggage vans
Changes to postal services have made three postal vans redundant, and Z31 - 33 dating from 1960 and 1971 are being converted at Chernex works into luggage vans BD 31 -33. 32 bears the inscription "Funtrain Express" and is intended to operate between Montreux and Chateau D’Oex.


Rhätische Bahn

Coop container train
The opening of the Vereina tunnel has generated a new daily freight flow between Chur and the Engadin carrying fresh food for the Coop grocery chain. The containers are carried on two axle Lb and Lbv wagons.

New general purpose service vehicle
Steel bodied carriage B 2224 has been converted at Samedan works into a service vehicle and renumbered Xa-v 9001. It has been provided with new sliding doors and repainted into the orange livery normally used for the service fleet.

Vereina Line – first years’ figures
Since opening on 19th November 1999, the tunnel has experienced peak use over the Christmas and New Year period, the winter sports season, the Engadin Ski Marathon, and traffic generated by the occasional closure of the Julier Pass. This has stretched staff and equipment to the full.

The first 111 days saw over 11,000 vehicles use the "rolling road" between the Prättigau and the Engadin, whilst some 155,000 passengers reaped the benefits of shorter journey times proving the value of the new link. The opportunity is being taken to analyse the first winter season’s figures to ensure that the full benefits of the line can be realized.

High traffic densities in the peak periods caused problems at the Praettigau end which required quick action by management resulting in timetable amendments from the middle of February.

From the weekend of 19/20th February 2000, local services between Schiers and Thusis were cut back to run between Landquart and Thusis on Saturdays and Sundays with the section between Schiers and Landquart being covered by buses or taxis in the case of Malans. The following weekend, services between the Surselva and Prättigau were extended to Filisur which removed the need for a quick turnaround at Davos. These emergency weekend arrangements proved their worth and were scheduled to continue until the weekend of 8/9th April 2000.


Städtische Verkehrsbetriebe Bern

New tramcars
The SVB intends to spend SFr 42.35 million for 15 new Combino trams. These will mainly replace the standard cars used on line 5. The Combino was chosen due to its light axle load required for the Kirchfeld and Kornhaus bridges. The new trams will allow a disabled friendly boarding. If this plan is accepted, the city will own a fleet of 27 low floor vehicles.



Delivery of ex RhB carriages
In addition to the two ex Bernina postal vans Z11 and Z12, the YSC has acquired the former RhB hospital carriages B2217 and 2218 which had seen little use in recent years and most recently used for visitors to the Vereina building site in 1999. Both date from 1913 and originally ha open platform ends. They were rebuilt in 1960 and refurbished in 1983/4.


Schweizer Eisenbahn-Revue
Pressedienst Jungfraubahnen
Pressedienst Rhätische Bahn

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Copyright © 2001
Author: Stefan Dringenberg, last change on 2001-02-11
(translation by Klaus P.Canavan, Bruce Smetham and Bob Symes)