Narrow Gauge News 3/1997 (May)


Basel Municipal Transport

A 25 years old trailer car type B4 has been equipped with a low floor section in a Basel Transport Authority workshop. With the intention to offer modern low floor vehicles to the commuters in Basel as soon as possible B 1492 was converted accordingly. This vehicle was also supplied with an air-conditioning plant and a new interior.


Brig - Visp - Zermatt Railway

BVZ purchased the SBB Brünnig-line passenger cars AB 471 and B 850 (now AB 2164 and B 2276). These cars are used in a train-set consisting of A 2063 and 2064 and the two passenger cars in SBB livery B 847 and 860. A remarkable detail is the fact that two different brake-systems are used in this train-set. This has never been done in Switzerland before.


Braunwald Railway

The mountain railway from Linthal to Braunwald is being rebuilt from April 7 until June 13, 1997. This will reduce the travelling time by half. The control and drive system and 2/3 of the tracks are about to be replaced. The red cabins will be substituted by modern ones painted in blue and yellow. The new vehicles will be able to accommodate 93 passengers. The total costs exceed 6.7 million Swiss Francs. Since there is no road to Braunwald helicopter flights are offered at a special fare at the moment...


Rhaetian Railway

The breakthrough of the longest narrow gauge tunnel in Europe took place on March 26, 1997 at 4pm. This tunnel with a total length of 20 km links Klosters with Lavin. It is expected to be opened to the public in 2000.
The tunnel project will cost about 571 million Swiss Francs. A credit of 66 million Swiss Francs had to be proposed but only 33 million Swiss Francs were granted so far. Therefore some parts of the project, as for example an additional train-set for car-transportation, will not be realised according to plan. Due to inflation the total costs of the tunnel project will be 200 million Swiss Francs higher than predicted.

The Misox line Cama - Castione, (a small section of the old line between Bellinzona and Mesocco) that is used for freight transportation only will not be converted into a standard gauge line. Passenger transportation on that line was already abandoned in 1972. Because of the little demand for fright transportation on this section of the RhB network neither the conversion to standard gauge nor the rebuilding of the narrow gauge line is considered to be economical.

The Rhaetian Railway is about to convert the line from Chur to Arosa from DC to AC catenary voltage. Most trains will be operated in push-pull mode. Therefore RhB ordered six complete sets of MICAS-S2 equipment for different generations of locomotives type Ge 4/4 from Adtranz. Adtranz is also in charge for the engineering and the software development.


Zurich Transport Authority

In October 1996 VBZ ordered a total of 17 units of modern low-floor trams type Be 5/6 from Schindler Waggon, Adtranz and Fiat-SIG. The first series of six of the so called "Cobra" trams are expected to be commissioned in late 1999. The remaining eleven vehicles will be delivered in 2002. With a width of 2.4 meters these tramcars are a bit wider than their successors such as the "Tram 2000" vehicles. Therefore they will not be allowed to cross at some narrow sections of the network.

On May 16th te VBZ will open their own WWW program under http://www.vbz.ch/.


Eisenbahn-Amatuer, Switzerland
tram, CH-Zurich
Press releases of RhB and BVB


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© 1997 by Lukas Haldemann and Klaus P. Canavan, 09.05.97