Narrow Gauge News 2/1999 (May)
Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen - MurrenDamage caused by avalanches
As a precaution, rail service on the BLM line was closed on 6 February 1999. Only 3 days later on the evening of 9 February 1999 an avalanche destroyed a bridge over the so called Staubbach. The bridge re-opened on 5 March 1999 following temporary repairs.
Bernese Oberland RailwaysChaos caused by heavy snowfalls
Due to an avalanche BOB's line Zweilütschienen-Grindelwald was closed on 7 February 1999. It was not possible to re-open the line until 12 February 1999 due to heavy snowfalls and the constant danger of further avalanche. The population had to be served by helicopter on some days. The service had to be restricted again between 18 February and 1 March 1999. Heavy trains composed from 3 or 4 railcars of type ABeh 304-313 were used to maintain service inspite of the danger of further avalanches.
BVZ Zermatt RailwayRe-introduction of goods traffic
In conjunction with Pflanzer Transport AG BVZ have re-introduced a freight service last used in 1996 when Swiss Railways transferred goods traffic (Cargo Domizil) to road transport. The new BVZ service started on 1 February 1999 and allows freight to be shipped into or from Zermatt in special containers.
Kipferbrucke damaged by avalanche
Furka Cogwheel Steam RailwayWinter of the Century
DFB's tracks were covered with up to 15 m of snow. Several avalanches hit the line. Anyhow no major damages were reported so far. Even the Realp station was covered with up to 6 m of snow. The DFB made an appeal for volunteers and donations of money to commence snow clearance and any necessary repairs on 15th May 1999 to be ready in time for the start of the operating season.
New Rolling Stock
Furka-Oberalp RailwayConsequences of the winter
The Furka and Oberalp car-shuttle service had to be closed on 28 January 1999 due to heavy snowfalls. The rail service on other sections of the FO network had to be closed on 7 February 1999. Car-shuttle services were due to re-commence from Andermatt instead of Realp on 11 February 1999, however the first train, hauled by Ge 4/4 no. 81 ran into an avalanche at Zumdorf causing a further day's delay to the re-introduction of services.
FO's infrastructure was destroyed by various avalanches. A full service over the route was not restored until 7 March 1999.
Rhaetian RailwayRestored Coach C2012
After more than 5000 hours of voluntary work the historic C 2012 passenger coach built 1889 was introduced to the public. This car - numbered C 34 at that time - was most probably used in the first train between Landquart and Klosters in 1889. It was converted into a exhibition car in 1936 and used as a workshop after 1940 - designated X 9034.
Settlement of legal delays
Inauguration of the Rhätia - Stübli
New halt at Chur West
Damage to a further historic steam train carriage
Rescue of the Bernina Crocodile?
New bridge in Landquart
Trial runs for the new Vereina car carrying wagons
Merciful escape from winter disruption
Wengernalp RailwayWinter damage
The WAB also suffered from this year's abnormally high snowfalls. The track and the adjacent cafe Oberland were damaged by a powder snow avalanche during the night of 7/8 February 1999 killing two people. Services were not restored until 12 February 1999. Further closures were necessary on the lines between Grindelwald and Brandegg, and between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen between 18 and 26 February and the catenary was damaged once more at the cafe Oberland on the 22nd. Normal services were resumed on the railway from 1 March 1999.
Pressedienst Rhätische Bahn
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|© 1999 by Klaus P. Canavan 06-17-99 (with the kind assistance of Bruce Smetham)|