Narrow Gauge News 3/2001 (July)

Articles BVZ | CJ | FO | MOB | RhB


BVZ Zermatt Railway

Merger with FO planned
On 7 June the BVZ and Furka Oberalp Railway have announced that they want to propose a merger. This was given by both boards of directors as a strategic target for the future. Resulting questions have to be clarified within the next one and a half years. The leadership of the society will be taken over by Hans Rudolf Mooser, who will be inaugurated as director of the BVZ in October 2001. The current FO director and Bundesrat Rolf Escher has stated his lack of interest with age reasons.

Renewing of passenger vehicles
The 1989 created first class coaches with baggage compartment AD (former A 2077 and 2078) have received a further modification. Desks were installed in the passenger places and a general-purpose compartment was added, which can be used as a kitchen. The coaches now are called BDR.

New diesel locomotive ordered
The BVZ ordered an electricity-independent locomotive for adhesion and rack at Stadler. The diesel electric machine will be used mainly as a vehicle for evacuation of snow, track works, railway catenary maintenance as well as operational reserve for disturbances. The locomotive will be able to run on both BVZ and Gornergrat Railway. The delivery is planned for the year 2003.

Riffelalptram has been opened
After 40 years of interruption Europe's highest-altitude tramway was reopened on June 25th. The connection between the hotel Riffelalp and the Gornergrat Railway has a length of 675 m (track width 80 cm) and is the shortest tram line in Switzerland. The motor coaches were reconstructed faithfully by the BVZ. The new line has a turn-around loop in front of the hotel. The renouncement of the three-phase alternating current catenary is new: The two identical motor coaches and the goods and luggage trolley receive their current from accumulators and are operating with a maximum speed of ten kilometres per hour.


Chemins de fer du Jura

New railcar delivered
On April 10th, 2001 the first of four motor coaches ABe 2/6 has been delivered. The vehicle is part of the GTW 2/6-series constructed by Stadler. It possesses two cab cars with only one bogie and an electrical, four-wheel drive module in the center. Further vehicles of this series were already supplied to the Yverdon St.Croix Railway (YSteC). They differ from the already delivered railcars for BTI and the CEV in an extension of the passenger compartments in the low-floor part. The CJ-GTW are the only ones possessing a first class compartment.


Furka Oberalp Railway

Merger FO-BVZ
The already announced merger with the BVZ was surprising for the employees of the FO, too. On Jun 5th they received an invitation to a staff meeting. This took place on 7 June at 22:00 in the crossing station Rotondo in the Furka Basistunnel, At this point in time, the message already had been announced in the media. For the purpose a special train each from Disentis and Brig has been used. In accordance with the speech of FO director Rolf Escher the planned saving measures will be extended only to the leadership level, not to the personnel.

Renewal of Oberalppass station
The bad state of the Oberalptunnel and the short length of the passing track of only 135 metres were the cause for a renewal of Oberalppasshöhe/Calmot station. Up to the year 2002 12.4 million SFr will be invested. The tunnel is created from concrete in open mining. After the reconstruction it will have a length of 216 m. The switch on the Disentis side is shifted into the tunnel, resulting in a new length of 174 m of the passing track.


Montreux-Bernese Oberland Railway

Golden Pass Panoramic
The three railways MOB, Loetschbergbahn and Bruenigbahn have decided to rearrange their panoramic trains under the uniform label "Golden Pass Panoramic". An obvious sign of this cooperation can be found in the three new painted locomotives and the new gold-white coaches. Places in the trains can be reserved at each station between Montreux and Interlaken. Transferring in Zweisimmen, inevitable by the gauge change, was simplified. The trains of BLS and MOB now stop at the same platform and have good links.


Rhaetian Railway

Bernina Express livery is given up
In 1983 the RhB has introduced a new red-brown livery for the new delivered coaches EW III. This special livery, used for the Bernina Express, has been given up now. The first vehicle EW IV B 2494 has received a red painting with silver line, as it was used for years on the main network.

Freight centre in Samedan
With the change of the timetable June the new goods transshipment center Oberengadin was put into operation. It is located at the connecting road between Samedan and Pontresina, far away from any settlement to protect the residents against the noise from the centre. The four-track station uses a 30 ton container crane. The main purpose is the reload of containers for food and waste.

Gem 4/4 801 modernized
The already announced modernization of the Gem 4/4 801 has been finished successfully. The driver cabs of the 31 year old machine have been separated and replaced by new ones, which are 20 cm longer than before. It became possible to adapt the driver's cab to today's needs. The locomotive has modern Cummins Diesel engines QST30-L, which are supplying an output of 709 kW. Apart from the use of old components, like drive motors and generators, newly developed electronic controls (based on MAS-Trafic system from Selectron Systems) were inserted. At the beginning of the summer season locomotive 801 returned to service. Starting from September the second locomotive of the series, no 802, will be subject of the same change.

Complaints rejected
The complaints about the restriction of the train service during the demonstration against the World Economic forum in January have been rejected. The RhB won't be the subject of sanctions. According to the Federal Office of Traffic the behaviour of the RhB was covered by law.

Repeated closures of the ChA
Because of unstable earth masses the Chur-Arosa line has been closed between 25 April and 20 May as well as between 10. and 30 June. Affected is the part between Chur and St. Peter-Molinis. The problems are caused by long time rainfalls which threatened a landslide of 30.000 cubic metres at Calfreisen. Traffic to St. Peter was handled with buses. In order to protect the line in future, a protection gallery will be built within the next months.

Crocodile abroad
On 14 June the locomotive Ge 6/6 411 and the salon car As 1154 were drawn by the German steam locomotive 41 018 to a depot in Oberschleissheim (Germany). The vehicles will be stored up to 2003. For the future it is planned to present both vehicles in the hall "rail traffic" of the traffic center of the German museum, which is under construction. They will represent the epoch of the luxury train journeys within the 1930's.

Works at Disentis station finished
After several years of work the rebuilt station Disentis was inaugurated on June 15th. The 25 millions SFR were financed mainly from the budget for the construction of the Gotthard base tunnel. For the extensive materials transport to the NEAT constructions site to nearby Sedrun the old station have been simply too small. The works have brought some new features: an extension of the station area at the east and south, a 300m long platform with track-free access as well as a 107 m long roof, which offers weather protection for passengers and trains.

Sources Press service Furka-Oberalp-Bahn
Die Südostschweiz
Press service Rhätische Bahn
Schweizer Eisenbahn-Revue

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Copyright © 2001

Author: Stefan Dringenberg, last change on 2001-08-26