Narrow Gauge News 3/1996 (October)


Aigle - Leysin Railway

AL introduced a new painting scheme for its rolling stock. The vehicles are painted with two cream stripes of different width. Only BDeh 4/4 302 will remain painted in the old colours.


Brienz Rothorn Railway

The two new steam engines H 2/2 14 and 15 were put into service on June 13, 1996. Both were manufactured by SLM Winterthur and cost SFr 2.15 mil. each. They reach a max. speed of 12 kph and a max. rating at wheel rim of 300 kW.


Steam Railway Furka-Bergstrecke

The rebuilding work on the old railway made great progress this summer. A steam train with HG 3/4 1 has already reached the canton Wallis on June 11, 1996. The reinstatement of the old Furka tunnel is almost completed. On the Wallis side, the track facilities were improved and the switches renewed. The railroad level-crossing works in Muttbach is making good progress. The tracks at both sides were removed. During the summer the retaining walls were reconstructed. The grade of the old segment is being raised on both sides, so that the pass road can be crossed without a cogwheel. In Realp, works on the construction of a new station began. This station will be equipped with a two track platform. Also planned is a track change for the locomotives. A new station building will be part of the project. It is necessary to refurnish other steam locomotives for the reopening of the section to Gletsch in 1997/98. For this purpose the DFB still has both of the HG 4/4 which returned from Vietnam. Between 1893 and 1940 similar locomotives were exported to Syria, of which some are reported to be in Damascus. If anybody has information on them please contact Jakob Knöfel, Hofenstrasse 2, CH-9303 Wittenbach or Wolfgang Schmidt, Sonnenhalde 22, D-72488 Sigmaringen. E-mail info can be send to Stefan Dringenberg (std@rail-info.ch).


Furka Oberalp Railway

Due to an increased demand for bicycle transportation in the Goms region a covered goods wagon was equipped with the necessary gear for bicycle transportation. The rebuilding was financed by the local tourism companies.


Jungfrau Railway

The last section of the "Top of Europe" was opened to the public on June 26, 1996. A glazed lookout tower was erected 117 m above the highest railway station in Europe. With good visibility, the Black-Forest and the Vogues can be seen from that vantage-point. Construction works lasted 24 years after the old building burned down in 1972. The Jungfrau Railway Companies (i.e. WAB, SPB and JB) were converted into a joint-stock company in autumn, 1996.


Martigny-Chatelard Railway

The first railcar of the new BDeh 4/8 series was delivered and displayed on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the MC railway. The vehicle built by Vevey, SLM and Adtranz will be put into operation later in 1996.


Montreux- Oberland Bernois Railway

Due to the good co-operation between the Swiss narrow gauge railroad companies, special wagons for track maintenance owned by RhB were used by MOB this summer. Two MOB wagons were equipped with a RhB coupler to haul the RhB wagons with a MOB locomotive.


Rhaetian Railway

The odd event of a train kidnapping took place on the main network of the RhB on September 27, 1996. A 33 years old man entered the locomotive of the express train Chur - St. Moritz at about 19:00 hours and threatened the train driver with a weapon. The passing of a red signal caused an automatic emergency brake so that the train driver was able to inform the signal tower about the kidnapping. During the negotiations with the suspect, who had the intention to go to the Engadine with the locomotive, a police task force managed to uncouple the locomotive from the wagons and to pull the wagons into Domat/Ems station. After further negotiations, policemen entered the locomotive and overpowered the kidnapper at 23:00 hours. The suspect, who is known to be violent and incalculable, was just released from a psychiatric clinic.

As feared, the Swiss government stopped the project of the underground station entrance of the Chur - Arosa line due to its immense costs of SFr 310 mil. The changeover to alternating current is not affected by this decision and will be finished in December 1997. Therefore locomotive hauled trains can be seen on the streets of Chur at the end of 1997.

The breakthrough of the Vereina tunnel is expected for March 1997. The construction works are one year ahead of the time table so that the new railway line might already be opened to the public in 1999 instead of 2000.

The dining car WR 3812 was completely rebuilt during the summer season. It was equipped with a new kitchen and a new interior in the style of the twenties. In contrast to the interior, the wagon was painted in a modern blue design.

As announced special trips were carried out by the "Associatione Amici Ferrovia Mesolcinese" (AAFM) on the Misox line Cama - Castione. Passenger transportation on that line was abandoned in 1972. The two railcars ABe 4/4 42 (AB, hired by RhB) and ABe 4/4 3 (originally owned by FLP, built in 1912) were used. It is planned to replace the blue painting of the latter by a red one this winter. In addition to that the old service wagon X 9086, a former Bernina-line passenger coach, will be rebuilt during the next season. The AAFM announced it would put the original BM ABe 4/4 454 back into service on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the BM.


Brünig Line

Since the Brünnig line is the only narrow gauge railway-line operated by the SBB, a new department responsible for this line will be introduced. This measurement is meant to increase the economy of the railway. Automatization, more co-operation with neighbouring railways and an improvement of marketing are planned. In the future this line might also be privatised or it might merge with one of the neighbouring railways.


Waldenburger Railway

Being parked at the Austrian Mariazellerbahn for quite a while the railcar BDe 4/4 gets a new task now. Since it could not be used by ÖBB it was transported to Machine Works Mittenwald on May 7th. It is planned to convert it into a diesel-electrical driven railcar for being used on the network of the Zittauer Narrow Gauge Railway in Germany


Eisenbahn-Magazin, Germany
Schweizer Eisenbahn-Revue, Switzerland
Steam Railway Furka-Bergstrecke


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© 1996 by Stefan Dringenberg and Klaus P. Canavan, 10-30-96