Narrow Gauge News 3/2000 (July)


Appenzeller Bahnen

Restoration of historic power car
The restored power car BCe 4/4 30 made its public debut at the 125th anniversary celebrations of the railway. Dating from 1933, and once numbered ABe 4/4 43, it is painted in its original dark red livery. The current ABe 4/4 42 is still in service with the RhB on the Misox line.


Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen-Mürren

Power car rebuilt
To improve access, power car Be 4/4 21 has been fitted with a sliding door on the Grütschalp side in place of one of the windows.


Berner Oberland-Bahn

Ghost train in Grindelwald
During the night of 28/29th May, a 14 ton centre door carriage ran away for 750 metres downhill before colliding with two overhead catenary masts. The carriage was a write- off causing some SFr150,000 worth of damage, and a day's disruption to the service. The subsequent investigation found that vandals had entered the carriage and released the brakes.

Former BOB power car in serious accident
Powercar ABe 4/4 no 309 which had been sold to the Zugspitze Railway in Germany in 1999, was very badly damaged in a head-on collision on 10th June 1999. It occurred in a tunnel on the valley section of the line between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Grainau. The fully laden carriage collided with the descending double unit Beh 4/9 No. 10 injuring 78, some seriously.
The badly damaged power car was taken to Stadler where it is hoped it will be repaired despite the destroyed front section and badly warped box frame.


Chemins de fer électriques Veveysans

Closure of line Chemin de fer léger de la Riviera
The passenger traffic Blonay-Chamby, reopened in 1998 has been closed after the short period of two years. The line didn't come up to the expectations and has been put out of order on 27th May 2000. The main reason was the good bus connections and the long distances to the railway station. Some trains were running without any passenger.



Livery of HGe 4/4 II 106 changed
As previously reported, HGe 4/4 II had its Olympic Games 2006 advertising livery removed. It has now been painted white with only the FO logo as decoration. Following a near-miss in Andermatt, it has since been given a red warning panel around the front and bufferbeams similar in style to that on the HGe 4/4 II on the Brünig Railway.


Chemins der fer Fribourgeois (Gruyère-Friburg-Morat)

Financial improvement
The financial problems experienced by the GFM are being tackled with a non-returnable grant of SFr 5.5m from the National Assembly on 20th March. The deficit was caused by unsecured loans and overspends in the company's investment programme.
The total deficit was some SFr 16.6m and the balance will be met by the Canton Freiburg.
The GFM employs 400 staff and a network of 725 km of bus and rail routes.



Crowds at the Jungfraujoch
As a result of a joint advertising campaign with the Raiffeisenbank, the railway experienced unprecedented demand on June 1st with 8148 passengers making the ascent. A further 5000 had to be turned away, with all tickets having been sold by 0800. The badly conceived advertising campaign generated bad publicity and even a bomb threat.



New ballast wagon
The railway has purchased a new ballast wagon from the DFB (German Federal Railway). It was built in Sarajevo by the Bosnian Railway (BHZ) to 900mm gauge and was used at the Lignite works at Bitterfeld in Germany until 1991.
It has been fitted with the metre gauge bogies formerly part of carrier truck (rollschemel) Ua 9857 which was purchased by the LSE from the SBB Brünig line. It now carries the number Fad 183 and is used by the service department over the whole line.


Montreux-Oberland Bernois-Bahn

Panoramic express changes
The new MOB Panoramic Expresses were introduced at the 28th May timetable change. Two rakes have been formed from the former Golden and Crystal Panoramic Express carriages. Locomotives Ge 4/4 8003 and 8004 are used in a special Black livery marshalled in the middle of each train in the same way as the 6000 series locomotives had been previously.


Rhätische Bahn

Busy time in the Engadin
The Engadin Ski Marathon on 12th March demanded intensive use of RhB vehicles. Apart from the use of the six Be 4/4 suburban units which normally see use between Thusis and Klosters, a rake of carriages with a Ge 4/4 I at each end was employed on a shuttle service between St. Moritz and S-chanf. The regional service between Samedan and Pontresina was in the hands of the sole surviving 1939 built Abe 4/4 railcar no 501.

New Panoramic cars
Panoramic carriages A 1291 - 1293 and B2501 - 2507 were introduced in passenger service on 19th May. Built by Stadler at Altenrein, they were employed on the Bernina (7) and Heidi Expresses (3) from 28th May offering a high standard of comfort, modern interior, air conditioning and closed cycle lavatory systems. The reduced length of 16.45 metres allows access to all parts of the RhB network, and all are fitted with multiplex wiring allowing the use in suburban rakes.

Steam locomotive G 3/4 11 returns to Graubunden
Steam locomotive G 3/4 11 has returned to the RhB from Zweilütschinen. It was sold in 1977 to the Eiger model railway club. It had remained untouched at Zweilütschinen shed. since the jubilee year of 1990. The new owners are Club 1889 who are guardians of several RhB vehicles, and until finance becomes available, it is being stored in the shed at Filisur.
The move took place on April 6th with a shunt from BOB HGm 2/2 no 31 before being loaded onto a low-loader at Interlaken.

Ge 4/4 III carries own commercial
650, a 1999 built Ge4/4 III has taken over from 641 in advertising the named express trains of the RhB. It now carries the inscription "DIE KLEINE ROTE AUF GROSSER FAHRT" ("Little Red Engine on Big Journey") and advertises the top trains of the RhB.

Preserved vehicles on the move
Various items of preserved rolling stock were moved over the 19th and 20th of May at the same time as the new panoramic cars were introduced. A special train hauled by Ge 6/6 I no 415 conveyed various special carriages and steam locomotive no 11 on its way to Filisur before attaching another veteran G 4/6 353 for the journey southwards over the Albula. May 20th saw 182 move behind railcars Abe 4/4 30 and 34 to Poschiavo for an official welcoming party. Due to lack of space, the crocodile later returned to Samedan where a track has been reserved for Club 1889.

New project for Club 1889
Once successful restoration has been completed of veteran carriage C2012, and locomotives Ge 4/4 182, and G ¾ 11 the arrival of which incidentally caused great excitement, the club hopes to turn its attention to the creation of a timber train using the Lck low loader wagons currently in use by the RhB as spacer wagons. More information can be obtained from the Club 1889 website.

More vehicles for the Vereina Line
The Swiss Federal Government has approved a request from the RhB to purchase three further transporter and two loading ramp vehicles at a cost of SFr 5.5m to speed up loading times from next winter after experiencing problems this year.

Chur West Station commissioned
Chur West Station opened with the May timetable change served by local trains to and from Disentis. Following protracted discussions in planning, construction was completed quickly, however the proposed timetable was amended following criticism from the local press.


Städtische Verkehrsbetriebe Bern

New livery
Following the decision to purchase the Combino Trams (see last edition), it has been decided to adopt a new signal red livery in place of the old cream and green livery. It is questionable how the new colours will fit into the historic town of Bern.

New identity
Although the official name will be retained, the SVB will move into the 21st century under the name of Bern Mobil. This is seen as the first step towards privatisation.


Infrastructure improvements
The appalling condition of the trackbed forced immediate attention over three weeks in the summer with trains replaced by buses. The worst affected part was in the area of the Altmarkt stop with track relaid as far as Hölstein. The scheme was funded by both the Federal and Baselbiet Governments.

Sources Berner Oberland-News Peter Schmid
Club 1889
Press office Rhätische Bahn
Schweizer Eisenbahn-Revue

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Copyright © 2001

Author: Stefan Dringenberg, last change on 2001-02-26
(translation by Bruce Smetham and Bob Symes)