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 Manchester Notebook March 1994
The Seetal Line: Stock Variety and Future
From Eisenbahn Amateur 2-94,
by Daniel Ammann
Branch lines normally live a quiet life in the shadow of the
main routes, only attracting the attention of railfans if they have
especially spectacular landscape or interesting trains. The Seetal line
from Lenzburg to Lucerne is one such 'Cinderella', especially since the
demise of the legendary De 6/6 and De 4/4 locos which drew
photographers to the area. Even as late as the May 1993 timetable
change, the Seetalbahn was something of an 'Eldorado' thanks to the
sheer variety of motive power to be seen.
Rostered power for passenger trains was the first-series RBe
4/4 motorcoaches, specially painted with day-glo yellow and red ends to
give the motorists a sporting chance, but one could also see later
versions with their green or red ends, NPZ units, and locos of classes
Re 4/4 I, Re 4/4 II, Ae 6/6, Ae 3/6 I, and even Re 6/6 and Ae 4/7.
Motorcoaches of classes BDe 4/4 and Be 4/6 also played their part.
Since May 93, however, things have become more uniform: RBe
4/4 and NPZ units work the passengers and Ae 6/6 locos all the freight.
Coaches are more of a mixture, including old light-steel coaches as
well as the EW I and EW II types. Since the closure to passengers of
the Beromünster branch in May 1992, an Ae 6/6 makes one or two
trips up the branch each workday with a modest load of freight, and the
other closed section sees freight worked by an Ee 3/3 shunter between
Lenzburg and Niederlenz.
Since the closure of the Beromünster and Wildegg
branches, there have been persistent rumours that the rest of the
Seetal line is to close. Over ten years ago the Government pronounced
that it should be retained; in 1992 discussions were held about
possible redevelopment of the route. Various possibilities are
proposed, varying from a simple improvement of the many level crossings
to possible diversions. There is the so-called Staufberg diversion
which would give the line a new route between Lenzburg and Sion, and a
suggested tunnel between Ermensee and Menziken which would bring the
12,000 population of Reinach and Menziken (whose Beromünster line
stations have been closed) on to the main route. More pessimistic
suggestions are closure of the middle section between Beinwil and
Hitzkirch, and even total closure and replacement by buses.
Political argumemts have rebounded between Federal Government,
Cantons and Communities for years; in April 1993 the Government flatly
refused to pay the 650 million Francs suggested for the full
rehabilitation of the line, but Aargau Canton issued a statement in
June strongly recommending retention. In October the Government's
Transport Committee - contradicting the Finance Committee - also gave
its support. Lucerne canton would like to retain its section as far as
Hitzkirch at least, with diversion to avoid the stretch most plagued by
automotive collisions. In the autumn, test runs with a bus were made
between Hitzkirch and Beinwil, proving that a bus could not equal the
train times, not counting the time taken by through passengers to
change twice. A 'definitive decision' is expected early this year. It
is to be hoped that the 'Lake Valley Railway' continues to play its
environment-friendly part in moving day trippers to the pleasant
lakeside resorts, and that Re 460 028-4, named Seetal on 5
September 1993, does not become the line's tombstone.
A railway adventure from LOKI 2-94, by Dr Hansjürg
How do you get a 12-tonne block of marble down from 2170
metres above sea level to 867 metres, in a distance of 6 km as the crow
flies? Well, you could put it on a lorry for a while, then hang it on a
cableway, then transfer it to a metre gauge railway, then lower the
loaded metre-gauge wagon on a funicular railway, and finally a further
run on the metre gauge. Fantasy? No, this happens every day in Italy,
not far from the Swiss border.
One of the world's most productive marble quarry areas is the
Ortler group of mountains, a 3900-metre high range on the border of the
South Tirol and the Valtellina area of the Grisons, south east of the
Münster valley. The most productive area is around Laas (Italian:
Lasa) on the north flank of the Ortler 25 km from the Swiss frontier.
The Laas marble is 30% harder than the more famous Carrara marble,
giving it better resistance to erosion by weather and pollution. This,
combined with its high purity, makes it ideal for monuments and
building facades: the lion at the Feldherrenhalle in Münich and
the Motlke monument in Berlin are well-known examples.
The principal workings today are at Göflan (Covelano),
high in the mountains, and the blocks are brought down to Laas for
processing. Until the 20th century, oxen were the transport system; the
current route was established in 1929. The blocks make the first 6.8 km
of their journey by mountain road, through several tunnels along the
north flank of the Jennwand, down to the now worked-out Acqua Bianca
quarry at 1526 m.a.s.l., which lies in the narrow and steep Laas
valley. This valley is crossed by a 380 metre long 'cable-crane', i.e.
a cable car installation with a hook and slings instead of the car.
With a maximum load of 12 tonnes, this takes the blocks down to its
lower station at 1378 m.a.s.l. where the railway journey begins with a
1.8 km metre gauge line with 14 per mille maximum gradient down the
western side of the Laas valley into the main valley, known as the
Etschtal.At 1355 m.a.s.l. the loaded wagons are shunted on to the
funicular, or 'bremsberg' in Tirolean dialect. This descends 474 m.
down the valley side on a gradient of 62.5 per cent, the track length
being 950 metres.
The final part of the journey is the 800 metre run with 12 per
mille maximum gradient to the work area alongside the main line (FS)
station at Laas, which is on the branch to Mals. Until the 1960s, there
was an exchange siding with the FS, but today the finished marble is
delivered by road. The FS passenger service on the Mals branch is
currently 'temporarily' replaced by a bus service.
The funicular was built by Bleichert of Leipzig, and is
powered by electricity at 320 V. It remains today in its original form,
and is quite well looked-after. The traction cable, which was replaced
a few years ago, runs around a huge drum at the upper station, on which
the brakes operate. The gauge is 2.5 metres, and each of the two
four-axled platforms weighs 12.5 tonnes and carries two 8-metre long
metre-gauge tracks set at right-angles to the funicular's track. For
several years now, only the mountain-side track has been used; the
maximum load is 20 tonnes.
For the two narrow-gauge railways, three battery-powered
locomotives, wheel arrangement Bo were built in 1929 by TIBB, the
Italian branch of Brown Boveri. In 1937 the upper section was
electrified, using the 320-340 volt power supply of the funicular. The
lower section followed suit in 1940. Two of the locomotives had their
batteries removed and pantographs fitted on the roof of the central
cab. The third loco was sold around 1941 to the Flimstalbahn, also in
the South Tirol between Auer (Italian: Ora) and Predazzo, where it also
was converted to overhead supply. These original locos weighed 7
tonnes, and were powered by a 16 HP motor on each axle. 5580 mm long
over buffers, their maximum speed was 20 km/h.
In 1988, a new gantry crane was installed at the Laas work
area. This would have shorted out the railway's overhead wire, which
was therefore disconnected. One loco was fitted with a diesel
motor-generator group by Volpi of Trieste, so is now a diesel-electric.
The overhead wire remains in place, although it can no longer be used.
On the upper section, the 50-year old overhead wire has been in need of
repair, so the company planned to convert this also to diesel power
There was once another powered vehicle, a diesel tractor built
in 1965 on the chassis of an old crane wagon. It had a 60 HP Fiat
engine, and was capable of 35 km/h; it was scrapped around 1980.
Rolling stock today comprises six bogie flat wagons, a two-axle
transporter wagon and a two-axle tower wagon. All were built in 1929 in
Milan by Carminati Toselli, better-known to Swiss enthusiasts as the
builder of Centovalli Railway motorcoaches 11 - 18. The wagons have
The well-cared-for system is operated nearly every workday.
The track is showing signs of age, and renewals are needed; one can
only hope that it is not decided to build a road all the way to the
quarry and remove this fascinating little system which has seen the
first journey of many of Europe's cultural monuments.
Old International: The RIC coaches, type UIC, of the SBB
Prototype & Model. From LOKI 2/3-94, by René Stamm.
After the hard times of World War II, everyone wanted to
travel. 'Everyone' did not have a car in those days, and air travel was
very expensive. The railway was the transport for the masses, for
holidays abroad and at the seaside, and for the thousands of visitors
from abroad to Switzerland. The SBB needed new comfortable coaches for
these long journeys; there was a chronic shortage of this sort of
stock; in 1960 only 30 couchette cars were available. The decision was
taken to institute a program of orders for new coaches built to the UIC
(Union International des Chemins de Fer) standard for international
Especially well-known to LOKI readers and space-starved
modellers in recent years was the now-withdrawn service between
Delémont and Belfort in France, which was usually formed of just
two coaches, a UIC ABm and Bm11, hauled on the French side by an SNCF
The coaches are all built in welded steel, and all varieties
have basically the same body design, with only slight external
variations. Internally, all were built in compartment, side-corridor
style, with a toilet at each end, and in some cases also a small
washroom. The ends have rubber corridor connections and twin-sliding
doors. The swinging entrance doors are at each end of the sides, and
the windows are of the divided type with slide-down upper section. The
vehicles stand out from ordinary Swiss coaches of their period by their
much higher roof line. The following paragraphs detail the various
types and batches.
UIC-X, Series 1, 51 85 50-70 000 to 019
This first batch was delivered in 1964. There are 10
compartments, each with 6 seats convertible to 6 bunks. Each bunk has a
reading light. One compartment is reserved for the attendant and the
supply of pillows and blankets. There is a toilet with washbasin, and
there are also three small washrooms with electric razor sockets. The
coaches were equipped for steam heating, and for electric heating with
a choice of five voltages; the heating in each compartment can be
controlled independently. Originally, they were painted SBB green, but
in major overhauls between 1975 and 1979 they received a blue livery,
at the same time the steam heating pipes were removed. Cars
000/1/3/10/11/13/14/19 have since been withdrawn; the survivors are
being overhauled during 1993 and receiving the 'Sleeperette' livery of
dark blue with violet stripe and moon and stars logo.
Day Coaches, Bm12
UIC-X, 51 85 22-70 000 to 099
This class was delivered between 1966 and 1968; each coach
comprises 12 traditional second class compartments with six seats each.
In standard Swiss style, the smoking seats have red upholstery and the
non-smokers green. From no. 066 onwards, public address loudspeakers
were fitted. In 1969, all had the maximum speed increased from 140 to
160 km/h, and between 1980 and 1982 the steam heating equipment was
removed. Two have been lost through accidents: 028 was destroyed by
fire in Rome in 1981 and 076 in a collision in Okucani, Yugoslavia in
1969. 006/12/23/27/29/37/41/ 48/9/50/1/3 were rebuilt during 1993 as
Sleeperette cars - see that heading below.
Day Coaches, Am9
UIC-Z2, No. 51 85 19-70 000 to 039
These first class coaches correspond to the second class
version above, but have only 9 compartments with a total seating
capacity of 54. Washrooms are provided adjacent to the toilets, and
public address loudsprakers are fitted. The steam heating originally
fitted was removed in 1977-80. 005 to 009 are fitted with disc brakes.
Destroyed by fire have been 000 and 027 (Verbania 1988) and 002 and 011
(St Triphon 1972.)
Couchette Cars Bcm
UIC-X, 2nd & 3rd series, 51 85 50-70 020 to 049
These later series cars, built at the end of the 1960s, differ
in small ways from the first series, notably in the enlargement of the
attendant's space at the expense of one of the washrooms. From the
beginning they had loudspeakers, but no steam heating. Originally
green, they were repainted blue with a white stripe om major overhaul
between 1984 and 1987. 026 and 045 were destroyed by fire at Arlon in
Composite Day Coaches, ABm
UIC-X, 51 85 30-70 000 to 039
Thes have four first class and six second class compartments;
both types seat six but the first class passengers have an extra 40 cm
of legroom. All 40 remain in service today.
Day Coaches, Bm11
UIC-Z2, 51 85 21-70 000 to 219
This is the most numerous species of the type, with 220 built
between 1972 and 1978. The number of compartments is reduced by one
compared to the previous design to give the passengers more space, and
there are additional folding steps in the doorways. original livery was
green, although 090 to 109 and 150 to 169 appeared in 'Eurofima' orange
with grey stripe.
Starting in 1991, these cars are being rebuilt as open
saloons, classified Bpm; it is intended that the whole class should be
so rebuilt. As a prototype, no. 000 was rebuilt in 1988 to become 51 85
21-70 300, which appeared in an experimental livery of dark brown over
grey. To date, 080 to 109, 124-170 (except 125 and 127) plus 23 cars
from the series 176 to 219, have been converted. Other losses have been
003/088 (Rome fire 1983), 068/098/213 (Verbania fire 1988), 118
(accident in Prague 1990), and 154 (Bregenz accident 1989). 005 was
converted in 1990 to special coach SRm 51 85 89-70 550 - see below.
Open Saloon Conversions Bpm
51 85 21-70 300 to 420
As mentioned above, these are being converted from the Bm11
type by removing all interior walls and fittings and re-fitting as an
open saloon, in line with modern passenger taste, in the style of the
SBB's EW IV standard coaches. One bay at the coach end has folding
seats to allow for a passenger in a wheelchair. In the vestibule,
luggage and ski racks are provided, and one of the small windows on the
former corridor side is replaced by an equipment cabinet. Apart from
the prototype, the rebuilds are painted in the EW IV livery of dary
green over grey, with the addition of a dark green stripe along the
lower bodyside as an aid to recognition.
51 85 29-70 150 to 161
These were chosen for rebuilding in 1991 to offer a low cost
alternative for travellers in the new hotel-train concept. Coaches of
the Bm12 22-70 series are given a completely new interior consisting of
an open saloon with 54 reclining seats in 2 + 1 formation, and one
compartment at the end for the attendant who will offer a service of
drinks. The asbestos insulation has been removed, and an improved
lighting system fitted. The dynamos have been removed from the bogies,
and an new battery charger fitted. Livery is Sleeperette blue and
violet with moon and stars and bright red doors.
Special Coach SRm
51 85 89-70 550
In conjunction with SUVA, an organisation for the disabled, Bm
11 no. 105 was rebuilt in 1990 to carry parties of people in
wheelchairs. Internally it now has 29 seats plus 16 wheelchair places
with folding tables. The toilets are fully accessible by wheelchair,
and additional wide sliding doors are fitted and one end giving access
to an integral hydraulic lift for loading the wheelchairs. As an
experiment, solar panels are fitted in the roof to supplement the
normal train power supply. Livery is EW IV style, but with a wide blue
and white diagonal band across the sliding doors carrying the logo and
initials of SUVA.
The Austrian Railways (ÖBB) has one first class coach
based on the SBB Am9 type, and 30 Bcm couchette cars built to the Swiss
design. These will be covered in a later article.
Also in the same family, although not conforming to actual UIC
standard designs, are SBB restaurant cars WRm 61 85 88-70 000 to 009,
and baggage cars Dms 51 85 92-70 000 to 009.
These models have been on sale for twenty years, and although
good models in their day do not quite match the highest stanadrds of
today. They are short (to 1:187 scale) in length, as is traditional for
models of these long coaches, but otherwise an accurate and
well-detailed model. On offer at present are the Bm11 in orange
(cat.13070) or green (13360) and a blue Bcm (13361), all with the new
SBB logo. The old-lettering versions are currently not available.
These scale length models are excellent representations, with
high-quality plastic mouldings for body and bogies, one of the latter
correctly having its dynamo. An accurate interior is also fitted. A
wide range of versions is produced: Am (new logo, 20001, old logo
20011), ABm (new logo 20002, old logo 20012), Bm11 (new 20003, old
20013), Bcm (20004: blue, old logo) and Bm11 (20005, orange). Also
offered is a set of five coaches, 1 A, 1 AB, 2 Bm 11, 1 Bcm, all in old
lettering, catalogue number 20000.
These models were ahead of their time when released in the
1960s; their detailed plastic bodies are to full scale length, with
detailed interior and flush-mounted windows. Sadly, they suffered from
one inaccuracy; the windows were set too low down, producing an obvious
too-large gap between the top of the windows and the bottom of the
roof. Despite this, they have always been very popular with modellers
and collectors, and since the closure of the Liliput company they have
been fetching high prices at swapmeets. Two body versions were made,
the Am and Bm12; the Bm12 version was also sold lettered as a Bcm and
an orange Bm11, although the window arrangement is not correct for
either of these. Austrian versions were also made; these will be
covered in a later article.
The Liliput range has now passed to Bachmann, who promise a
re-issue UIC model for 1994, with improved tooling, close couplers and
sprung buffers. The first model will be the new 'Sleeperette.'
This French company offers the UIC coach in a wide range of
versions and colours, only the Bm12 version missing from the range. All
are scale length, all-plastic apart from the metal wheels. In the last
three years the models have been improved, with close coupling
mechanism. The entrance footboards are supplied for mounting by the
owner, and can be ordered separately for addition to older models. The
accurate appearance of the range is spoiled only by the rather deep
windows, although this is less obvious when marshalled in a whole train
of the same make.
Currently available are the Am (new logo, cat. 5737, old logo
5746), Bm11 (new 5736, old 5747, orange 5740), ABm (new 5737, old
5748), Bcm couchette (blue with old lettering 5741, green 5743, blue
new logo 5744), Bpm open saloon (5742 brown/grey prototype, 5745
IC-livery, plus a Sleeperette version promised for 1994). The Bpm is a
re-livery of the Bm11 model [and appears from the photos to retain the
compartment interior.] The older versions, cat nos. 5781-3, are best
avoided as they are not fitted with close couplers.
The Swiss firm of Staiber offers a Jouef Bm11 painted and
lettered as a Sleeperette reclining seat car with the moon and stars
logo. However, the prototype is based on the 12-compartment version:
unless you are in a hurry it is best to wait for the correct
Liliput/Bachmann version. Jouef themselves promise a moon and stars
version also, but this is thought to be the couchette version.
These models are a product of the re-unification of Germany,
being produced in one of the now-privatised eastern factories. They are
nice models, with a full interior and at a reasonable price, which may
well appeal to younger modellers and those with a limited budget.
However, the basic model is a shortened version of the UIC-Y standard
coach common in eastern Europe, which differs in a number of ways from
the UIC-X Swiss type, most obviously the bogies and the lack of ribbing
on the roof. ABm, Am and Bm versions are available, all in a neat
version of new-logo green livery.
Hermann produced excellent, but very expensive, 0 scale models
of the Am, ABm, Bm11 and Bcm types, which are no longer made. At one
time, Lima offered SBB coaches in their 0 scale range, first in the
1970s and as a very limited run in new-logo livery some years later.
Although popular because of their low price, these models resembled
their supposed prototype in little more than their four axles and the
SBB green livery. The bogies and roof ends ere particularly incorrect,
being based on an Italian RIC coach. An orange version was announced at
one time, and a pre-production version made, but it was never
mass-produced because of Lima's financial difficulties.
The Biller-Bahn company announced in the late 1980s a new
production of the Lima SBB coach, but this author cannot discover
whether it was ever produced.
On The Way 5: Freiburg
by Charlie Hulme
Just within comfortable reach before dinner from Ostend or
Rotterdam lies the German city of Freiburg im Breisgau, one of the most
pleasant cities I know, home of a metre-gauge tram system and the
centre for an interesting network of secondary lines. The civilised
nature of the place is apparent as soon as one gets off the train, to
see that all the tram services stop on the road bridge which crosses
the station and a selection of connecting buses waits in the forecourt.
The Emperor's Chair
To the west of the city is the wide flood plain of the River
Rhine, dominated by a range of low hills known as the Kaiserstuhl -
Emperor's chair. West from Freiburg runs a DB branch line to the old
town of Breisach, itself dominated by a hill with surmounting church
and castle. Lying near to the Rhine, which currently forms the
German/French border in this area, Breisach has at times in the past
been part of France. Its railway is a very typical DB rural branch
line, diesel-worked with a sparse but carefully worked-out service
tailored for the schoolchildren and commuters which are its daily
bread. The usual train is the Class 212 diesel and push-pull set of
'silverfish' coaches. My memory is of a packed lunchtime train from
Freiburg, conversing with a schoolboy who wanted to practice his
English and an old tramp who wanted to talk about the War. The
Kaiserstuhl area is also served by two lines worked by the independent
Südwestdeutsche Eisenbahnen AG, SWEG. These lines are
railbus-worked, and their trains are even harder to find; most of the
workings in the timetable are worked by the SWEG's road buses.
Heaven and Hell
In contrast to these bucolic charms, to the east of Freiburg
the mountains of the Black Forest rise from the suburbs of the city,
served by the DB's Höllentalbahn or Hell Valley Railway, so named
for the fearsome nature of the terrain through which it passes. The
valley forms a traditional route from Freiburg to Donaueschingen and
other Bavarian cities. The railway, which follows the old pass route,
is no less fearsome; a steadily increasing gradient culminates a
remarkable 7 km climb at 55 per mille or 1 in 18. This section was,
from its opening in 1887 until 1933, equipped with the Bissinger rack
system, a development by a local engineer of the Riggenbach design. In
1933, the rack was removed on the introduction of the Class 85 2-10-2
tanks designed specially for the line. In 1936 overhead electrification
was installed as a test bed for 50 Hz AC electrical supply which has
since become standard in France, the UK and many other countries
although the Germans elected to retain their standard 16.66 Hz railway
supply. Various prototype locos worked together with the steam engines
until 1960, when the supply was finally converted to the DB standard
system. Today the DB class 139, a variant of the standard 1950s
electric with lower gearing, is the regular performer on locals, with
110s and other types on the longer distance workings.
The stations in this area are notable for their picturesque
names: Himmelreich (Kingdom of Heaven), Höllsteig (Hell climb) and
Hirschsprung (deer's leap). The latter is named for a legend that a
deer once leapt across the gorge at this point to escape a huntsman; a
bronze deer marks the spot. A path known as the Jägerpfad -
Hunter's Path - follows the route, but sadly the three halts on the
scenic section were closed in the late 1970s so one must either use a
bus or go for all the 12 km from Himmelreich to Hinterzarten. The
Ravenna viaduct, a spectacular structure on the upper part of the
one-time rack section, has had an interesting career. The original
bridge was a five-span lattice girder structure, 222 metres long and 37
metres above the river at its highest point, and carrying track on a
240 metre radius curve. In 1925 it was decided that this structure was
not strong enough for heavy traffic, and a replacement stone viaduct in
classic style built alongside on a new, straighter alignment. This
bridge lasted until April 1945 when it, like a number of the line's
tunnels, was blown up by the German troops retreating from the Free
French army; it was 1947 before through services were restored over the
At the resort town of Titisee, the line to Seebrugg diverges
to the south, and the Höllental line proper continues to the
market town of Neustadt, where the overhead wiring ends and through
trains to the east must change to diesel power, normally
diesel-hydraulics of the class 215 family.
The branch from Titisee to Seebrugg, which passes three lakes
and is thus known as the Drei-Seen-Bahn, is a latecomer to the railway
world. Although first planned in 1912, it did not open until 1926;
originally it has been intended to terminate at the village of St.
Blasien, famous for its baroque church, but this section was never
built and today one must continue by bus. Poetic station names
continue: Aha, Altglashütten - Falkau which reminds one of the
glass industry which once flourished in the Black Forest, and Feldberg
- Bärental which is famous as the highest station on the Deutsche
Bundesbahn at 967 metres above sea level. An interesting point: is it
still the highest station on the whole DB/DR system, bearing in mind
that the Brocken line has been privatised? The nearby mountain, the
Feldberg, is at 1493 metres the highest point in the Black Forest, and
the station achieved another sort of fame by regularly appearing in the
TV soap opera 'Black Forest Clinic.'
The Dreiseenbahn was included in the experimental 50 Hz
electrification, and in the conversion to standard in 1960. Today most
trains work through from Freiburg and further afield; a daily through
express from north Germany serves Seebrugg, where its stock is serviced
at the picturesque lakeside depot. The final section of the line runs
alongside the Schluchsee, which was dammed in 1929 for a hydro-electric
scheme, greatly increasing its area.
Freiburg has several excellent hotels (the Kolpinghaus is our
particular favourite) and excellent shopping and eating facilities,
including the famed MacDonald's as modelled by Kibri! I can strongly
recommend a couple of nights' stay on the way to Switzerland, or as a
short break in itself.
Nuremburg Notes from LOKI 3-94
Small manufacturers continue to produce items for Nm scale -
metre gauge using Z gauge track - including this year the old BVZ
electric and matching coaches, etc. In standard gauge N, Kato lead the
way with the new BLS Re 465, to be followed by an SBB Se 3/6 I. Also
promised by Kato, incidentally, is the Eurostar Channel Tunnel train.
Roco also promise an exciting loco in the shape of the SBB Be 4/6,
which will initially be made as the preserved 12320 in brown, with a
green version to follow later.
The usual galaxy of items for this popular scale: Bemo
promise the new RhB Ge 4/4 III loco, and also the Bernina line
motorcoach of the ABe 4/4 41-46 series. The HGe 4/4 II is to appear in
Brünig form, with the FO model to follow later. The Davos line
driving trailer is to be available separately, and there will be new
variations of coaches and wagons, including the 'Albula Mineralwasser'
van and a pair of low-sided wagons loaded with a mobile crane and
various engineers' materials. A completely new wagon is to be the RhB
bogie ballast hopper, type Fad. Versions of the Panorama coach will
have passengers and lighting, and there is to be a new model of a BVZ
D & R lay claim to the new RhB EW IV coaches, in
both long and short forms, whilst Lemaco have the Bernina 51
series motorcoach, MOB 'Golden Mountain Pullman' DZe 6/6 and BDe 4/4
motorcoach; the latter looks particularly delightful, but it will be
expensive. STL showed their RhB G 4/5 2-8-0 and FO Tm 2/2
diesel shunter. They are also to produce an RhB bogie tanker, the FO /
BVZ / MOB panorama coach (photo shows a first-class version) and their
RhB centre-entrance coach in rebuilt swing-plug-door version. A range
of track and points is also planned.
[By the way, it has been gleefully pointed out to me that the
STL and Bemo centre-entrance coaches do represent two different types
of coach. Early versions built 1947/48 have a toilet each end, whilst
the 1956 batch has just one toilet in the centre vestibule. Sorry for
H0 Standard Gauge
No really new Swiss locos from the mass manufacturers, unless
one counts the BLS Re 465 from Roco (and a rival version from
Märklin). Seen in Switzerland from 1965 to 1977 was the ÖBB
'Transalpin' EMU, which is to be launched by Roco with a three-day
excursion on 24-26 June into Switzerland by a prototype set.
Liliput makes its reappearance under the Bachmann
banner, including the SBB 'Tigerli' 0-6-0T and the NPZ unit in the
livery of the Austrian Motafonerbahn. Märklin have the
SBB Panorama coach in 1:100 length for the smaller layout, a
splendid Cirkus Knie 3-wagon set with elephant commemorating the
circus's 75th anniversary (ideal for the annual visit to the Seetal
line) and the SBB Snps bogie flat with the characteristic new style of
side strakes for timber traffic. Märklin and Roco both supply the
SBB 'family' coach in its new guise with the friendly old teddy bear
replaced by revolting graffiti-like decor. The Roco wagon range will
include a very nice BLS bogie cement tanker and the new Migros
Kombi-Trailer bimodal wagon. Finally, Roco spots the opportunity to
re-livery its SNCF 63000 diesel as the unique Em 4/4 1110 allocated to
the rebuilding of Morges station. One for the completist collector, one
LOKI Aktuell 3-94
The Reisbüro Mittelthurgau has created an exhibition
coach by rebuilding a fire-damaged vehicle. Registered with the DB as
61 80 09-90 208-0, it contains a bar, office and cooking equipment as
well as 40 square metres of exhibition space. It is permitted to run up
to 200 km/h, having additional magnetic rail brakes. It is kept at
Zürich, although its maintenance base is Konstanz.
In February the SBB and BLS have been testing the
'Eurosprinter', a four-axle high-power electric loco built by Siemens
and Kraus-Maffei in Germany. One supposes that these tests are intended
as a broad hint to the Swiss industry which has been having
difficulties with the reliability and cost of the Re 460 and Re 465
locos currently being delivered.
RFe 4/4 Comeback
In 1940 the SBB took delivery of three motor baggage vans, RFe
4/4 601-603, which were intended to work short fast trains of the
then-new light-steel coaches. They had a short life with the SBB,
however; in 1944 two were sold to the Südostbahn and one to the
Bodensee - Toggenburg. All three were fitted with new gearing, reducing
their maximum speed from 125 to 90 km/h. The SOB numbered their
machines De 4/4 21 and 22.
The BT example became De 4/4 50, renumbered to 25 in 1960; in
1978 it passed to the Sihltal - Zürich - Uetliberg Bahn (SZU)
which welded up the end doors, painted it orange and numbered it De 4/4
51. In recent years it has been out of use, but now after 54 years it
has come to life again. On 8 February it travelled from Zürich via
Olten to Balsthal to join the stud of the Oensingen - Balsthal Bahn,
which plans to use it on its freight and mixed trains. Since its
ex-Seetal Crocodile has been out of action, the OeBB has reverted to
working its freight trains with old 4-wheeled locos Ce 2/2 102 and 103,
which have to be double-headed with a second driver if the freight
train is over 200 tonnes, which happens a couple of times a week. The
OeBB intends to return the old machine to its original SBB condition
(except for the gearing) in time for the Swiss Railways 150th
anniversary celebrations in 1997; it should look good alongside the
OeBB's recently-restored 'Red Arrow' railcar.
Trip workings to the Dreispitz industrial area in Basel have,
until now, have had to make two reversals and travel via a
non-electrified line which intersects a wide, busy road (with double
track tramway) by an acute-angled level crossing. Now, since 17
January, there is a brand-new, electrified connection direct from the
Basel - Delémont main line through the new Schwertrain Tunnel.
Also new is a depot for the four Te III-type shunting tractors
of the private company which works the industrial estate's 14.942 km of
track with 87 sidings serving 187 different firms which provide the SBB
with 200,000 tonnes of traffic annually. The new line, which has cost
48 million Francs, gives a much more direct connection with Muttenz
marshalling yard, although it is hard to believe a report in the press
claiming that the freight will arrive 24 hours earlier! An opening-day
special on January 17th was hauled by 460 048-2 and included an SBB
panorama coach plus a selection of wagons.
91 Million Francs ...
... has been approved by the SBB board for the following
projects: an improved computer network, station rebuilding projects at
Basel SBB and Brig (extra platform), a new high voltage power cable
between St. Margrethen and Buchs SG, and the first stage of rebuilding
of the Seetal line. This will comprise a new route from
Emmenbrücke to Wadlibrücke, avoiding the current need to
reverse at Emmenbrücke. [See also article above.]
To recover some of the money, the SBB has now agreed to allow
advertising on the side of locomotives.
1994 marks the centenary of the Bern tranways, and original
steam tram loco G 3/3 12 has been moved (on loan) from the Technorama
museum in Winterthur to Bern. It is hoped to return it to working
order, with oil firing.
The Bern Tramways proposes to buy four trailer cars from Basel
to work with its articulated cars on route 9. In this way, it is hoped
to provide the same capacity with less trams, saving 500,000 Francs per
The SBB is to introduce two of the four planned routes of the
Bern S-Bahn network from May 1995, and the RBS has ordered extra stock
for its metre-gauge lines, in the form of 8 centre cars for its new
articulated low-floor units.
First published 1994
- this edition April 2009