Swiss Railways Manchester 1990s archives

These pages comprise articles from the 'Notebooks' compiled by Charlie Hulme in the 1990s, mostly translated and edited articles from Swiss books and magazines.

They appeared in printed, and latterly also e-mailed form, as the Web hardly existed at the time. We have converted them to this format, as they chronicle an especially interesting period in railway history, and also include useful histories of various lines.

Swiss Railways Notebook for Manchester - March 1992

Guardian Angels of the Night Train

By Jacques Zulauff, from SBB Magazin 1/92

Thanks to the new fast trains, distances of up to 1000 km are now an easy daytime run, but for longer hauls the traditional night train with Sleeping Cars and Couchette Cars still has a part to play. The SBB Magazine reporter and photographer rode the Brig - Oostende service on the night of 18/19 October 1991, and met its 'Guardian Angels'. This is one of the daily routes operated by the famous "Compagnie Internationale des Wagon-Lits et du Tourisme" (CIWLT), which has two sections in Switzerland; one in Basel and one in Lausanne.

Couchettes Free

Darkness has already overtaken the town of the Stockalpers as we enter Brig station office and meet Florian, tonight's couchette car steward, as he collects his list of reservations telexed from the SBB office in Bern. Florian is a student at Lausanne University; this is his summer job. Tonight, 43 of the 60 bunks in car 134 have been reserved, although only one traveller is boarding at Brig. The others will join us at Bern and Basel.

At 18.43 the stock to form train 498 is shunted into track 7, formed of a rake of ordinary first and second class coaches for Basel, coupled to Couchette Car 134 and Sleeping Car 135 which are both fully air-conditioned. Florian's first job is to open up his office and place in each compartment a welcome leaflet and a menu for the service of snacks and drinks. Then, each reserved bunk gets its sheet, blanket, pillow and pillowcase. 'Although night service does not officially begin until Bern, passengers joining earlier can lie down if they wish', remarks Florian. The food and drinks for sale to the passengers are made ready, and when all is well Florian places the card "Liegeplätze frei" in his compartment window for the benefit of any spur-of-the moment customers.

The Blue of the Night

Meanwhile, our other hero Graziano is travelling to work through the Simplon tunnel from his home in Domodossola. He has worked for the CIWLT for over 13 years, and knows the company inside out. He began as a cleaner, and has worked his way up to the post of Sleeping Car Conductor. 'Only the most experienced staff are allocated to this duty', he explains, 'to ensure a perfect service for the customers'.

At precisely 20.10 hours, train 498 pulls out of Brig and begins the climb to the Lötschberg Tunnel. Graziano takes the opportunity to show us proudly around his air-conditioned 'three star hotel.' There is a certain Belle Epoque elegance about the car, with its imitation wood panelling and fitted carpets, although it was actually built in Germany in 1968. The number of beds in the car can be varied by folding the bunks; each of the ten compartments can have one, two or three beds. Also, connecting doors can be unlocked between pairs of compartments so that families of up to six can be welcomed. In contrast to the Couchette Car, the Sleeping Car is cleaned and prepared by other CIWLT staff, so the conductor can concentrate on his duties as Maitre d'Hotel. His compartment is equipped with a small cooker and water heater so he can supply light meals and breakfast to his guests.

Graziano rides from Brig to Oostende seven or eight times a month; this route and Geneva - Nice are the only Sleeping Car runs currently operated by the CIWLT Lausanne section. "In time a certain rapport develops between the travellers, who are mostly regulars, and the Conductor", says Graziano proudly.

New Faces

At Bern, the two CIWLT men in their spotless chestnut-brown uniforms climb down onto the platform to welcome the influx of new customers and direct them to their compartments. The corridor of the Couchette Car fills with people, many of whom are in no hurry to surrender to the arms of Morpheus and wander about while Florian is trying to collect everyone's tickets, reservations, passports and customs declarations. Back in his office, Florian arranges all the papers in order of compartment number so they can be checked by the various officials during the night without disturbing anyone's slumber. In a final stroll down the corridor, he shows his guests how to lock the compartment doors to deter thieves. In the Sleeping Car, by contrast, the gangway is quiet. The guests value their privacy and want a good sleep for their money, wishing to arrive in good form at their destination.

At Basel, there is a 50 minute pause while the two Oostende cars are shunted from the SBB platforms to the French station, where Couchette Car no. 137 from Chur to Oostende is attached, and first and second class ordinary coaches. A few more passengers join us, after passing through the time-honoured customs rituals between the two parts of the station.

The Night Watch

At 23.59 hours our train leaves Basel, rolling at 100 miles an hour through the Alsace night. In the Couchette Car gangway, an insomniac Englishman enjoys a last bottle of Cardinal beer. After a short stop at Mulhouse, where nobody alights, the French train conductor meets the CIWLT staff for a friendly chat and a check of the passenger's tickets. Suddenly, two young people in civilian clothes arrive in the conductor's compartment. They are members of the new security patrol team recently established after some unfavourable publicity about thefts on overnight trains across France. Between 2 and 3.30 am, Graziano gets a little peace. He stations himself on a seat at the end of the corridor, from which he can keep an eye on any comings and goings, and spot the light which comes on outside any compartment whose occupants press the emergency call button.

Florian in the Couchette Car sits in his compartment with the door open. Both men take the opportunity to catch up on some paperwork. At Thionville, at 03.40, French border police join the train to check passports, and soon afterwards, after the train has called at Luxembourg, the Belgian ticket collector makes his round.

Half Dressed

At 06.30, it is time to wake up the passengers who are leaving the train at Brussels. Few of these take advantage of the CIWLT breakfast; the faster running usual today gets the train to Brussels at such an early hour that most people want to stay in bed until the last possible moment. The Couchette corridor becomes as chaotic as it was the previous evening, as half-dressed passengers with dishevelled hair and sleepy eyes make their way to the toilets and washrooms. The train stops at Brussels, and Florian and Graziano help their passengers to unload luggage. After a halt of a few minutes in the Belgian capital, we get under way again, now with just a dozen or so passengers aboard the night coaches. At Ghent, the Couchette Car is invaded by a crowd of schoolchildren heading for Bruges, much to the annoyance of the Belgian train conductor who tries to move them into another coach. As the train presses on towards Oostende, the CIWLT men must fold up the blankets. and collect all the linen into sacks, ready for collection by the laundry.

For obvious reasons, the CIWLT stewards are not allowed to sleep during the journey. They must get a day's sleep in an Oostende hotel before joining their coaches again the same evening for the return to Switzerland. Another group of travellers will get the same service, help and advice, sleeping soundly in the knowledge that they are in the care of CIWLT's 'Guardian Angels'.

Local Railways of Lausanne Pt.1: LO and LG

Based on Normalspurige Privatbahnen in der Schweiz by Peter Pfeiffer, and an article in Light Rail February 1992 by W.J. Wyse.

Lausanne is one of Switzerland's major cities, but seems to receive less than its fair share of attention from SRS Manchester members. The old part of the city is very interesting, including the Cathedral which Michelin calls the finest Gothic building in Switzerland. From the railway point of view, there are three local lines as well as the major SBB facilities, and in this and the next two issues we will visit these local lines, each of which is unique in its own way. We begin with the rack-operated 'Metro' system.


The Lausanne - Ouchy system comprises two nominally independent companies: one (LO) connects Lausanne's city centre with the harbour at Ouchy on Lake Geneva, the other (LG) connects the city with its SBB/CFF station. Both lines begin at Flon station, near St. François Square in the city centre. The two lines run on their own parallel but separate tracks through Montbenon tunnel to the SBB station, the Ouchy line then continuing alone, with two intermediate halts, to a terminus opposite the harbour. Until 1954, both lines were funiculars, powered by water turbines. The water was supplied from a reservoir at Bret, above Puidoux, which was fed by a tunnel from Chailly above Lausanne. From the reservoir, the water was led to the turbines at Flon down a tunnel with a drop of about 170 metres. The power was distributed to the various sections of the line by a complex system of pulleys. The LO, opened in 1877, was Switzerland's first funicular, and the LG, opened in 1879, the third. The system was the country's only standard-gauge funicular, and worked at the unusually high speed of 25 km/hr. The Ouchy line was able to add extra trailer cars at peak times.

Until 1958 the LO operated a freight service over the Ouchy line, moving wagons between the harbour and the city centre, while the LG was used to move goods wagons from the SBB (previously Jura-Simplon) station to the industrial area near Flon. Originally, the connection to the SBB ran across the station forecourt, but in 1954 a new line was opened connecting the Flon industries with the SBB's new goods yard at Sébeillon, replacing the awkward arrangement at the main station. The new link was an extension of the traverser originally built to connect the LO and LG to their Flon depot. This traverser was originally cable-worked but from 1904 traction was provided by a small locomotive (powered by DC overhead) working on its own track. It must have been a strange sight to see this 'train' with its tiny tractor pulling one SBB wagon sideways down the street along its four-rail track. This arrangement continued until 1979 when freight traffic was withdrawn; for shunting the industrial sidings, the LO owned two Te tractors numbered 152 and 153.


Both lines are now rack-operated using the uncommon Strub rack system; the Lausanne - Gare was the first to be rebuilt, in 1954. The service began with two small railcars, Bhe 2/4 101 and 102, which soon proved too small and were superceded in 1964 by two larger cars, Bhe 2/2 111 and 112. These vehicles are unusual in having no seats, being designed for 154 standing passengers. Trains run every three minutes from 06.30 to 20.30 over the 296 metre line, at a fare of one Franc. There is no LG service on Sundays and public holidays; the LO continues to link the city centre with the station on these days and until midnight on weekdays, however.

The Lausanne - Ouchy was converted to rack in 1958, and is still using the He 2/2 locomotives (121-123) and Bt2 driving trailers 1-5 delivered at that time. Trains run every seven and a half minutes during the day, and the fare for the 1485 metre journey is two Francs. A new depot was built at Ouchy as part of the conversion programme, also serving the LG by means of the traverser at Flon. The site of the old depot at Flon now forms part of the terminus of the new TSOL line, to be described in a later episode of this series.

The Future

Since 1985, the LO/LG system has been operated by the transport authority known as the 'Transport public de la Région lausannois' (TL). This organisation has plans to extend the LO beyond Flon, in subway, to a square known as Tunnel which was once the suburban tram terminus and is now a centre of the trolleybus network. Possible further extensions would continue to the University and Hopsital quarter.

Over the Border: The Centovalli Pt.5

From Loki 2/92, by Bernhard Studer

In this issue we consider some more modern FART/SSIF passenger power.

FART ABDe 6/6 31 and 32

After the introduction of the ABe 8/8 class (see last issue) traffic increased to such an extent that further new stock was soon needed. The ABDe 6/6 type, delivered in 1963, are twin-unit articulated cars, similar to the ABe 8/8 but smaller and fitted with a baggage compartment. They have always been used on local trains, over the whole route or between Locarno and Camedo. 31 is named Berna and 32 Vallese.

SSIF ABe 6/6 33 - 35

To provide modern power for the Italian SSIF company, advantage was taken of an offer from the Ferrovie Lugano - Ponte Tresa (FLP) which wished to replace its three 1968-built Be 4/6 units no. 10-12 with more modern stock. The three cars were taken into the FART works at Locarno S. Antonio and the SSIF works at Domo-Vigezzina, and rebuilt with extra motors and a first-class compartment, thus reclassifying them ABe 6/6. Obtained while the line was divided in two by the 1978 storm disaster, they had to be loaded on to SBB transporter wagons and travel from Lugano to Domodossola via the Gotthard, Lötschberg and Simplon tunnels. Named Verbano (35), Piemonte (34) and Sempione (33), they work the Italian local trains between Domodossola and Camedo.

FART Be 4/8 41 - 42

These two semi-permanently coupled motorcoach and trailer pairs were obtained in 1978 for the Locarno - Camedo local service. Added to an order from the RBS and FLP, they differed from their cousins in being shortened by one doorway and one bay of seats. They were delivered in FLP orange livery, and soon gained the nickname "Mandarinli" (mandarin orange). The order for eight low-floor cars for delivery in 1992 has made no. 41 Pedemonte and no. 42 Melzza surplus to requirements, and in late 1991 both were sold to the Ponte Tresa line.

Pie in the Sky

Currently being built by Vevey Engineering are twelve low-floor articulated railcars of type Be 4/6, four for the SSIF and eight for the FART. Motor bogies are being supplied by SIG Neuhausen, and electrical components by ABB. By using a centre unpowered bogie with small wheels, around 70% of the vehicle floor is as little as 530mm above rail level, the end compartments being 900mm above the rail. The latest design of maintenance-free synchronous motors are fitted, giving a horsepower of 870 and a maximum speed of 80 km/h. Each unit has 64 second-class and 18 first-class seats and weighs 46.5 tonnes empty. They are expected to enter service in Summer 1992, and will be numbered 51 - 58 (FART) and 61 - 64 (SSIF). 

The Schlieren Bogie

Prototype and Model, from Loki 2/92 by Daniel Piron

Few passengers, as they are whisked along in comfort admiring the landscape, realise that their comfort and safety are due in large measure to the bogie, the heart of any railway coach. On behalf of all our readers, we will take a look underneath the coach as we alight.


A bogie comprises a frame, and (usually) two axles. Additionally, there are usually two separate suspension arrangements: the primary suspension which links the axles to the bogie frame, and the secondary suspension which connects to the bogie frame to the body of the coach. This suspension has traditionally taken the form of leaf or coil springs, although in recent years some use has been made of rubber blocks. Another new idea, found on Swiss NPZ units and Zürich S-Bahn coaches, is the use of air bags for suspension purposes. Shock-absorbers are placed parallel to the springs, to prevent excessive swinging and oscillation.

The bogie also carries the braking system: the traditional air-brake (made by Oerlikon, Knorr or Westinghouse) pushes cast iron brake shoes against the wheel tyres, but as train speeds increase above 200 km/hr, designers are making more use of brakes which act directly on the rail by magnetic action. On older coaches, the bogie may also carry an electrical dynamo, driven from one axle by belt and pulley or by flexible shaft, to maintain the charge of the coach batteries. Newer coaches do not have this feature, relying on the electrical supply from the locomotive.


The "Schlieren" bogie was one of the first of the present generation of bogies, and like its contemporaries (SNCF Y24, DB Minden Deutz 50, FS 24) most examples may be on the way to the scrapyard before too many more years have elapsed. The bogies were built at the works of the Schweizerische Wagons- und Aufzügefabrik AG (SWS) at Schlieren near Zürich; firms in other countries also built the design under licence. The British Rail B4 type used on British Mk 2 and 3 coaches is a very similar design.

Characteristic of the Schlieren bogie is its use of cylindrical coil springs throughout both primary and secondary suspension, instead of the leaf springing of earlier designs. A single shock-absorber is fitted at the centre of each side. Two brake shoes act on each wheel, and one bogie of each coach is usually fitted with a dynamo.


The complete series of Swiss UIC-X international coaches [i.e. the ones with high roofs based on a German design] are fitted with Schlieren bogies. Paradoxically, however, of the Swiss-designed type known as the "Schlieren Coach", only the second class couchette cars of type Bc are so fitted. The Bern - Lötschberg - Simplon (BLS) also has first and second class coaches riding on Schlieren bogies.

Outside Switzerland, the Schlieren design was very popular with the International Sleeping Car Company: all sleeping cars of type P (stainless steel bodies) and type YC (built in Italy by UH Hansa) are fitted. Additionally, a number of the type U and Y cars today ride on Schlieren bogies. Another believer in the design twenty years ago was the Belgian Railways: internal stock of the M2 type is fitted, as well as the international coaches of types I2, I3, I4 and I5. Those fitted to SNCB's couchette cars often visit their homeland on services to Chur, Milan, Brig and Sierre. Especially well-known are the colourful tourist trains operated by the "Railtour" company.

H0 Models

Several manufacturers have modelled the Schlieren bogie, and fitted it to their SBB, BLS, SNCB and CIWLT coaches. For reasons of manufacturing economy, no-one (except Pocher) has produced the version with dynamo attached. The following reviews are in alphabetical order of maker's name.


This French company makes an excellent reproduction for fitting to their models of the SBB UIC X series. The only things missing are the dynamo and the connections for the kilometre counter, although the brake shoes are not in line with the wheels. The grey plastic is a trifle too light in colour, needing some work by the modeller using a suitable matt paint. The wheelsets are in rather bright metal, and the wheel diameter is almost 1 mm too large, although the wheelbase is virtually exact. Verdict: a very good model, with scope for improvement by the modeller.


This model has been in production for twenty years, but is just as well moulded as the Jouef version. The wheels are darkened by the manufacturer, but the brake shoes are out of line with the wheels.


For the last few years, Lima has changed from a toy maker to a maker of models for the serious (what does that mean? - Loki Ed.) hobbyist. However, some of the older items remain in the catalogue, and the models of the SBB and BLS RIC coaches come into this category. A couple of years ago, the model was improved by the replacement of the old, oversized coupling and the fitting of darkened wheels instead of the old shiny ones, but the rather simplified bogie moulding remains. However, as nobody else makes this type of couchette car, the modeller could perhaps replace the bogies with the Jouef or (if available) Liliput make.


This manufacturer makes the Schlieren bogie as part of its SBB UIC X restaurant car, cat. no. 4068. This prototype does not have a bogie-mounted generator, as it has a pantograph with which it can take power from the overhead line when a locomotive is not attached. The model bogie is acceptable, although not without compromise. The shiny plastic sideframes need attention with matt paint. The sideframes are pivoted to improve running on rough track, a system which over the years has become a Märklin trademark; such bogies show a phenomenal resistance to derailment. The wheels have flanges 1.5 mm high, as per the Märklin standard.


The history of this famous Turin company is rather complicated. Thirty years ago the firm produced a selection of Swiss coaches, and the Catalogue of Pocher products published by Lomelini of Palermo in 1984 describes these as having "Schlieren" bogies. Thus recorded are the SBB RIC coach (cat. 208), the SBB coach with open platforms (cat. 209) and the SBB post/baggage van (cat. 211). However, inspection of the models concerned reveals that the bogies are not really the genuine Schlieren type, as the coil springs of the secondary suspension are missing. In fact, they are probably modelled on the "torsion bar" type produced by SIG of Neuhausen. From 1957 to 1962, these Pocher bogies were made of cast metal with Märklin-style pivoted compensation which loses realism but keeps the coach on the track. From 1968 the axles ran in brass bearings, and from 1963 a plastic bogie frame without compensation was substituted. The model is not really up to today's standards, but it is a very attractive collector's item.

The bogies described above were only fitted by Pocher to SBB models; their models of CIWLT type P sleeper and CIWLT pullman car actually have a better representation of the true Schlieren unit.


For their model of the CIWLT type P sleeper, Rivarossi have modelled the Schlieren bogie. As a 25-year-old model, this can certainly stand comparison with newer models. There is no axle-driven generator, but this is correct, as this type of car has a body-mounted generator driven by a belt from the axle. The model bogie is fitted to the body with a cross-headed screw.

Who's Next for Bankruptcy?

Editorial from Loki 2/92, by René Stamm

No sooner had the Liliput company called in the receivers, than the dreaded vultures began hovering over the Lima factory. What has caused these developments?

I don't like to admit it, but I think I know where the blame lies. Take Lima as an example: for years they produced toy trains. To keep costs down, various compromises were made with dimensions. Very large production runs were made, keeping selling prices very low. The company made good profits, and the customers got cheap prices. The range of models increased; as more types of locomotives and rolling stock became available, the "serious" modellers became interested, and bombarded Lima with well-meaning suggestions, encouraged by the model press. The company tried to meet these requests, but as a result the ratio between costs and sales started to suffer. Take an example: in the seventies Lima sold an SBB Ae 6/6 loco in Swiss-Express colours, which sold over 50,000 at 50 Francs (£20) each, despite the fact the prototype Ae 6/6 was never painted in this livery.

Scene change: in 1991, to meet the demands of the "serious" modellers who claimed to comprise 90% of the market, Lima designed an improved version of their RBe 4/4 railcar. A high-class motor with flywheel was incorporated, even though many of the models would spend their lives static in a display case. Result: an exact scale model, available in several livery variants. Selling price around 200 Fr. (£80): number sold so far: 4,000.

We must take care that our demands do not bring about the decline of our beloved leisure activity. Smaller production runs will mean higher prices, which in turn will mean less buyers. Whatever the know-alls in magazines may say, model manufacturing is subject to the normal rules of commerce. The builders cannot live on the pleasure of making a good model, they must make money to buy food, just as the employees of the SBB itself must be paid a living wage even though you may think they have such a wonderful job ...

In a few days, the Nuremberg Toy fair opens its doors; by then the answer to the question "Who is next?" may already be answered.

Loki Aktuell 2/92

Délemont - Delle Cutbacks

For many years, there was a through service between Interlaken and Paris via Délemont - Delle - Belfort. Recently this has been reduced to two trains each way between Délemont and Belfort only (Timetable 240). Now the SNCF has announced that after 31 May 1992 even these trains will be withdrawn, resulting in the loss of four SBB staff posts at Delle. The SNCF also wishes to restrict the SBB's cross-border local trains to Monday - Saturday only. According to the current proposals, a few freight trains would continue to cross the border this way, hauled by SNCF diesels (specially fitted with SBB AWS equipment) as far as Porrentruy. Understandably, the authorities of the young Canton Jura are very unhappy about this 'development'.

An interesting fact in this connection is that in 1902, when Alsace was part of Germany, Porrentruy (Pruntrut in German) handled more freight traffic than any other Swiss station except Chiasso.

More on Double-deck Sleepers

Schindler Waggon have published more details of this new design, as mentioned last month. As the diagram shows, there will be an entrance vestibule at one end only of the car, adjacent to the attendant's compartment which in its four square metres of floor area will incorporate storage cupboards, a coffee machine, a cooker, a refrigerator, a washbasin, a folding bunk and an office for the attendant. The first class compartments on the upper deck are remarkable in that each has two bunks, a WC and two separate seats either side of a table, so that one occupant can be in bed without disturbing the other who may wish to stay up.

The second-class compartments on the lower deck each have a double seat which folds to become a bunk and an upper bunk which folds down from the wall. The washbasin has fold-down taps and a stylish folding cover which makes a useful surface. Like the first class section, an alarm clock, safe for valuables, call button for the attendant, reading light and loudspeaker are standard fittings. At each end of the car is one four-bed compartment, designed for use by families, and at the opposite end from the entrance are two WC compartments with vacuum toilets.

It is planned to build about 50 vehicles in time for the 1995 timetable change. They will be shared between the DB, OBB and SBB, and are expected to be used on the Zürich - Vienna Wiener Walzer (SBB cars), Vienna - Cologne (OBB cars) and Hamburg - Basel (DB). The SBB has plans for a further phase including routes to the south.

Tell Us the Wurst

A new type of refrigerator van, carrying the legend 'Micarna Bazenheid Express' and a picture of two large sausages, is in service between Bazenheid (Wil - Wattwil line) and Suhr in Canton Aargau. The Italian registered van, owned by Interfrigo, has its own diesel engine to supply the refrigeration energy.

Lucerne Disneyland?

Lucerne Transport Museum, the most popular museum in Switzerland, is reaching the limit of its expansion. A decline in the number of visitors is leading to a financial deficit, which in turn is putting at risk the Museum's high-quality conservation projects. These include the conservation of archive material relating to transport as well as the restoration and maintenance of the actual exhibits. An institution like the Verkehrshaus can only carry out its responsibilities to cultural history if it is supported by the State, the Canton and the National Ministry of Culture. Otherwise, it will have no alternative but to be guided by pure market forces. Say hello to Disneyland!

New RhB Bridge

The 1901-built steel lattice bridge carrying the single-track Rhaetian Railway main line over the Hinterrhein river near Thusis has been deemed to be in the way of the construction of the new N 13 road. Furthermore, the RhB intends, as part of "Bahn & Bus 2000", to increase its capacity by doubling of strategic sections of its main line. The combination of these two plans has led to the decision to construct a new, double-track, railway bridge. The first sod for the construction was turned on 8 November 1991; if all goes well the first train will cross in late 1993.

Getting One's Own Back

The traditional railway toilet, flushing direct onto the track, has been with us almost as long as the railway itself. In Switzerland, there are around 5000 coaches so equipped, making a total of some 8000 toilets. Until now, there has been no reason to change this method of "waste management". However, as train speeds increase, and it becomes normal to isolate the inside of coaches from the outside atmosphere, the traditional toilet loses its appeal - indeed the sudden pressure changes caused by trains passing at high speed can cause the system to function in reverse!

The SNCF has fitted all its TGV trains with a sealed chemical toilet system, which is emptied daily by special equipment in depots. The metre-gauge Appenzellerbahnen has now gone one step further; one coach has been running for several months with a new design of toilet built in Finland. Only water is used, and the sealed tank is emptied into a road tanker, from which it is transferred to the local sewage system.

ACMV in Good Health

Ateliers de Construction Mécaniques de Vevey S.A. of Villeneuve, known in English as Vevey Engineering, is one of Switzerland's major builders of rail vehicles, whose products are especially popular in the French-speaking part of the country. Part of the empire of the financier Werner K. Rey, the company has so far been very successful in maintaining its market share in a period of economic uncertainty. Under construction at present are twelve ABe 4/6 low-floor railcars for the FART and SSIF (see elsewhere in this issue) as well as two motorcoaches and three driving trailers for the metre-gauge lines of the Gruyère - Fribourg - Morat (GFM) company. Recently delivered are two motorcoaches for the CMN (Chemins de Fer des Montagnes Neuchâteloises) and one for the NStCM (Nyon - St Cergue - Morez). Further orders are in the project and design stages.

Double Track on the Gold Coast

After a three-year delay, the Ministry of Transport has finally given its approval to the plans for the doubling of the line between Küssnacht and Zollikon on the "Gold Coast" line (table 730). Work will begin in Summer 1992, for completion late in 1994.

There's a Terrific Draught in Here

The first 26 Re 4/4 I locomotives, 10001-26 (originally 401-26) were intended for push-pull working of passenger trains, and incorporated end doors in the cab. The idea was that the locomotive could be marshalled anywhere in the train, and passengers and staff would still be able to reach any coach by walking through the locomotive. However, these doors have always been a cause of complaint from drivers on account of the draughts created in the cab when at the front of the train. Today, the through facility is seldom needed, and the SBB has decided that the end doors may be sealed as the locomotives pass through works. The associated handrails and fall-plate will also be removed.

First published 1992 - this edition April 2009