Narrow Gauge News 3/1998 (October)


Basle transport authority

New tramway-cars for Basle
BVB decided to purchase 28 new tramway vehicles of type SIEMENS-Combino. These vehicles are based on the prototype vehicle that was tested on the BVB-network in April 1998. In spite of various problems with the prototype, SIEMENS is convinced that all changes required by BVB can be realized easily due to the modularity of the Combino-concept.


Zermatt Railway

Carriage of heavy goods
Due to the rebuilding of the cableway Gant-Hohtälli the cable drums for the four main cables of a length of 2870 meters each head to be transferred from Visp to Zermatt on July 7, 1998. The total weight of the cable drums was about 240 tones. To reach a uniform load distribution, the cables were coiled up onto two cable drums each. Being pushed and pulled the train consisting of two reel carriage cars and two locomotives of type HGe 4/4 II reached Zermatt station in time. The cable drums were then transported to their destination by Gornergrat Railways GGB.


Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway

First train arrived at Gletsch station
As reported in an earlier issue of these news, the first train after 16 years arrived at Gletsch station on July 30, 1998. The press was very well informed about this occasion. Those present had the unique opportunity to watch the train hauled by HGm 2/2 near the railway level crossing at the blue house. Part of the train was the car with high sides X2919 (built in 1889) that was only acquired from BVZ recently and that was already used for the construction works of the BFD (Brig-Furka-Disentis railway). The historical event was filmed by a camera team of the German Südwestdeutschen Rundfunk SWR TV-station.

FO HG 3/4 4 in Chur
The steam locomotive acquired from FO is being rebuilt in Chur at present. The locomotive has to be completely disassembled so that all components can be checked and adopted to the requirements of the Swiss Bundesamt für Verkehr. Most of the work is being done by volunteers.

New vehicles
DFB acquired various new vehicles from the neighboring railway operators. FO X4911 is being converted in Chur into CF271 and X4927 is to be rebuilt in Realp to be used as a service car for spare parts and numbered Gk2618. RhB handed out the former service car X9001 (built in 1906). After being equipped with a cog wheel brake it will be used as a service car again. Finally, the Ek2919 (now X2919) was acquired from BVB as mentioned above.

After two and a half years of rebuilding activities the four axle ABD4554 was brought to Realp on June 6 and put into service on June 20, 1998. This passenger coach was built in 1928 for the SBB Brünig line. As a test it is inscribed with the name "Furkabahn".

Steam locomotives 1 and 2 damaged
The steam locomotives HG 3/4 1 and 2 had to be withdrawn from service during this season because the leaking boiler tubes had to be bonded. Due to a special time table it was possible to maintain passenger service in spite of the fact that only one steam locomotive was in service.

Steam locomotive 1 had a total breakdown on July 30, 1998 - the day of the arrival of the first train in Gletsch station. Because of a malfunction, train 156 had to stop near Tiefenbach station. All passengers had to walk to the mountain pass and were brought back to Realp station by several cars and a bus. The defective train was hauled back to the depot in Realp by HG 3/4 2.


Furka-Oberalp Railway

Freight transports
A lot of extra freight traffic on the FO was caused by the rebuilding of the natural gas pipeline Netherlands - Italy that runs through the Obergoms region. The pipes of a diameter of 120 cm are transported to Ulrichen by train and than brought to the construction site by lorry. The total weight of all pipes is about 7000 tons. More than 80 extra trains hauled by locomotives of type HGe 4/4 II are required so that the old HGe 4/4 I are to be used for other services again.

Similar to the Brünig-line locomotives some FO locomotives were equipped with advertising, too. Some locomotives were equipped with a Glacier-Express emblem instead of the locomotive number at the front sides.


Gornergrat-Monte Rosa railways

100 years anniversary
Gornergrat railways celebrated its 100 years anniversary on August 20, 1998. Due to this occasion a golden and a silver Thaler was released showing special illustrations of the railway. In addition to this a freight car model is released by Bemo.

The railway line is renamed from Gornergrat railways into Gornergrat-Monte Rosa railways.


Lucerne-Stans-Engelberg railway

100 years anniversary
Due to the 100 years anniversary various steam trains consisting of Ballenberg-Dampfbahn cars hauled by the Brünig steam locomotive G 3/4 208 were in operation on the LSE line. As a special attraction steam locomotive G 2/2 "Pinus" of the Schinznacher Baumschul railways was in service on separate tracks (600 mm) between Engelberg station and the park from July 17 until July 26, 1998.

Stretched passenger coach in service
The first stretched and completely rebuilt passenger coach of the B41-B44 series was put into operation. The coach is now designated B82 and is equipped with large panoramic windows.


Meiringen-Innertkirchen railways

Accident in Meiringen
Railcar Bem 4/4 (former tramway car of OEG Mannheim) crashed into a car at the level crossing Alpbachstrasse in Meiringen on August 14, 1998. A 28 years old woman was killed. The accident was not caused by technical malfunction. Besides a operator's mistake, the driver of the railcar failed to notice two flashing control lights. It is not yet decided whether the railcar will be rebuilt or not.


New double-track section in Preda
Preda station is being converted from a three into a two track section on the length of about 400 meters. The line to Bergün is extended into a double-track section on a length of 600 meters. The bridge and the tunnel passage near Preda station had to be renewed. Now two duplications of trains can cross in Preda station. The stability of the timetable is increased dramatically thanks to the new double-track section.

New train protection systems
RhB makes use of new speed surveillance units since June 1998. These components of the train protection system ZSI90 are used in addition to the conventional signaling system. The first two units were installed near Reichenau station.

Completion of Vereina tunnel
The interior works of the Vereina tunnel are in progress according to the time table. At present the tracks are being laid - 300 meters each day. The new signal box in Sagliains was tested after its completion. The press and the public will be informed about the works on October 23 and 24, 1998. The tunnel will be put into operation on November, 1998.

New railrider-service
A new service, the so called railrider was launched by RhB recently. The railrider-train consists of open panoramic coaches and is operated between Filisur and Preda.


SBB Brünig-line

New location of the line
The extension of the Autobahn (highway) A2 between Horw and Hergiswil required a new location of the railway line. A new bridge with a length of 200 meters at the shore of the lace of Lucerne (Vierwaldstätter See) was built. The location of the line is already prepared for the future double-track section Lucerne-Hergiswil.


Schweizer Eisenbahn-Revue
Pressedienst Rhätische Bahn
Peter Schmid


Older Editions | Back to main index


© 1998 by Klaus P. Canavan 10-27-98