Narrow Gauge News 1/1999 (February)


Bernese Oberland Railways

Rebuilding activities of Burglauen station
Burglauen station has been rebuilt to allow the crossing of trains consisting of up to six cars without having to close the barriers at the level-crossing. The construction costs for the shifting of a point and the reconstruction of the station totaled SFr 535,000.

Reconstruction of cog-wheel section Lütschental
The railway-line changes from an adhesion to a cog-wheel section very close to a settlement in the Lütschtal. Therefore adjacent residents used to complain about an annoying noise caused by the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the cog-wheels whenever a train was entering or leaving the cog-wheel section. Since the entering-section of the cog-wheel line had to be renewed anyway due to extensive wear it was decided to introduce a new section with hydraulic damping and an acceleration mechanism for the cog-wheels. The new system that was developed in close cooperation with Tensol Rail SA, Piotta and BOB has already helped to reduce noise and wear at different places within the BOB-network. To reduce construction costs, the renewal was done at daytime. During the construction period a bus shuttle service replaced the scheduled trains.


Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway

New time-table
The new time-table for the 1999-season does not vary much from its predecessor. The times of departure are only slightly shifted - the number of trains is the same.

The first passenger train is scheduled to run from Realp to Gletsch by the end of the season. The section Furka-Gletsch will be officially opened to the public in 2000.

Mountain-railway Oberwald-Gletsch association (BOG) merged with DFB
The mountain-railway Oberwald-Gletsch association (BOG) gave up its activities on November 26, 1998. The association was founded by the time the decision was made that DFB will start rebuilding activities in Realp. Originally BOG members had the intention to reopen the section Oberwald-Gletsch of the former Glacier-Express line, since - at that time - a rebuilding of the old Furka-tunnel was very unlikely.



New Glisergrund depot
The new depot in Gliesergrund is in operation as from November, 1998. This event was officially celebrated on December 11, 1998. The necessity of a new depot arised more than 20 years ago. The financing of the new depot became possible in the course of the reconstruction of the station forecourt and the construction of the perimeter road A9/N9. The new depot is about 30% larger than the old construction close to Brig station. Glisergrund depot also includes FO's main workshop and offers sufficient space for the maintenance of FO's rolling stock.

NEAT - new Gotthard tunnel construction site Sedrun
The load test of a new bridge that is part of the railway link of the NEAT construction site in Sedrun was successfully carried out on October 7, 1998. The spur is 2 km long and equipped with a overhead line and a cog-wheel section. The bridge over the so called Val Bugnei-Tobel is 210 m long and the largest bridge of the FO network.

Passenger coaches acquired from SBB
FO aquired a set of passenger coaches with central entrance from SBB Brünig-line. During winter season 98/99 these coaches were used still painted in their original SBB-green livery. They are expected to be painted FO-red in the course of 1999.


Meiringen-Innertkirchen Railway

Bem 4/4 6 converted to Diesel-propulsion
MIB possesses a sufficient number of vehicles with electrical propulsion since acquiring the Be 4/4 9 motor-coach from Regionalverkehr Bern-Solothurn. Therefore the pantograph of Bem 4/4 6 was removed. A Diesel engine was installed inside the former passenger compartment. The converted Bem 4/4 6 is now used for shunting in Innertkirchen.


Rhaetian Railway

First batch of new car carriers delivered
The first batch of the 36 car carriers ordered for the new Vereina-line was delivered in December 1999. A total of three car transportation trains consisting of up to 14 trailers will be composed. 7 vehicles are equipped with a loading platform. These trains are to be hauled by new locomotives of type Ge 4/4 III. New driving trailers made from former mail-vehicles will complete the new car carrier train-sets. In contrast to the vehicles operated on the main network (so called "Stammnetz") the new trailers will be equipped with air brakes and automatic couplers. The vehicles with loading platforms will be equipped with conventional RhB-couplers to allow the usage with existing rolling-stock. The whole series of new vehicles is scheduled to be delivered until June 99. Testing of the vehicles is conducted on the line Trimmins-Haldenstein. Further testing in the Vereina-tunnel is scheduled for May 1999.

New direct railway-link Prättigau-Engadine
The installation of rails in the Vereina-tunnel started May 1998. The end of these works was celebrated as the new direkt railway-link Prättigau-Engadine was completed on December 10, 1998. 35 workers layed a total of 54,000 m of rails in time and without any severe accidents. Track-laying on the northern side of the tunnel was finished just before Christmas holidays. The completion of the new railway-line is scheduled for September 1999 to allow extensive testing before the official opening of the Vereina-tunnel.

New event-vehicle
A new pullman-coach named "Star(c )kes Stück" was presented recently. The former AB-type passenger coach of the Bernina-line is furnished with an extraordinary interior designed by Philip Starck. The coach designated As 1171 is provided with a bar and arm-chairs of different kinds. The new vehicle is used as well on special occasions as for normal service on the entire network. First class tickets are valid without supplement. Another event-coach is announced for the close future.

The end of Chur-Arosa motor coaches
The sort of the motor coaches ABDe 4/4 parked in Chur-Sand since the conversion of the overhead-line from DC to AC is decided now. The vehicles numbered 484 to 486 are sold to the La Mure museum-railway in France. This museum already acquired the famous Bernina crocodile-locomotive that was scrapped in the meantime! The remaining four railcars are to be scrapped in the close future. The two railcars of the more modern type ABe 4/4 487 and 488 will be parked in Chur-Sand. Nothing is decided about their probable future use on the Bernina line.

Modern telecommunication
New optical fibres will be laid alongside the RhB-tracks to keep pace with recent developments in technology. A first telecom-link was put into operation between Landquart and Klosters in 1998. Other sections (Klosters-Vereina-Samedan, Samedan-Reichenau-Tamins) will follow in 1999. At present the new optical fibres are supposed to be used for data-transmission related with interlocking purposes, energy-supply and communication concerning railway operation. In the course of the developments concerning the telecom-market the optical-fibres might be available for other fields of business.

Modern telecommunication
A total of 6,000 visitors came to see the new Vereina tunnel on October 24 and 31, 1998. Several locomotives and the new As 1171 were on exhibition on these days. More than 1,000 visitors joined the slide-show about the construction of the tunnel that was presented 300 m inside the dark tunnel.


SBB - Brünig-line / MIB

Pipe transportation on the Brünig-line
In an earlier issue we reported about pipe transportation on the FO network. Now these transports can be observed on SBB's and MIB's network, too. Pipes with a diameter of 120 cm have been delivered via the Simplon- and Lötschberg-line to Interlaken-Ost. The standard gauge freight-cars are loaded on sepecial narrow-gauge trailers and brought to Meiringen. The trains consist of a maximum of fife cars hauled by two HGe 4/4 II locomotives. Due to load restrictions on the MIB-line only one car could be hauled by the Be 4/4 8 railcar to Innertkirchen. Here the pipes were loaded on lorries and delivered to the construction site of the gas-pipeline.


Schweizer Eisenbahn-Revue
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© 1999 by Klaus P. Canavan 03-15-99