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 Manchester Notebook October 1994

Montreux - Glion - Rochers-de-Naye

Based on Schmalspurparadies Schweiz, by Schweers & Wall

The rack railway to Rochers-de-Naye begins at Montreux station, alongside the tracks of the SBB and the Montreux - Oberland Bernois railway. This makes Montreux the answer to a popular quiz question, as it is the only Swiss station with three track gauges: 800 mm (MGl), 1000 mm (MOB) and 1435 mm (SBB). (How many others in Europe? Jenbach, La Tour de Carol...) Although the route is worked as one railway, for historical reasons it comprised two legal entities until 1987: the Montreux - Glion (MGl) and Glion - Rochers-de-Naye (GN) companies. However, most unusually the upper part, the GN, is the older. Tourist traffic provides most of the line's revenue, with summer visitors to the spectacular viewpoint at Rochers-de-Naye, with its panoramic view of Lake Geneva, the Gruyere area and the Pays d'Enhaut, and in winter throngs of skiers.


The opening of the Simplon railway brought an influx of tourists to the towns along the lake, especially Montreux, creating a demand for attractions such as visits to viewpoints. By 1870, various proposals existed to link Montreux or Territet with the mountain village of Glion. In 1880, rack-railway pioneer Nicholas Riggenbach projected a water-ballast powered funicular in three sections from the lakeside near Territet via Glion to Caux, with a possible extension with two further sections to Rochers-de-Naye. Of this grandiose plan, only one section was ever built, from the Jura-Simplon Railway's Territet station to Glion. This funicular opened on 19th August 1883, and remains in service today as part of the MOB group.
In 1890, a concession was issued for a rack railway from Glion, via Caux to Fontaines-de-Naye, with a funicular taking over for the final section to the summit. Fortunately, before construction the scheme was changed to a railway throughout. The rack system chosen was, like other lines of the same era such as the Monte Generoso, Brienz - Rothom, Schynige Platte and Wengernalp, the double-rack Abt design with a track gauge of 800 mm. Building work began in Spring 1891 and the 2.1 km section from Glion to Caux opened for traffic on 2 July 1892, fo11owed on 28 July by a further 4,9 km as far as a temporary terminus at Fontaines-de-Naye. The final 500 metre section to Rochers-de-Naye, including the Naye tunnel, took a further year to complete, opening on 20 July 1893 folIowed by the summit hotel a few days later.

Montreux tourists were not impressed by the slow detour via Territet and the funicular, however, and in 1905 a concession was issued for a direct railway from Montreux to Glion with the same track gauge and rack system as the existing line. The new Montreux - Glion company faced its greatest difficulty in establishing its station in the cramped location at Montreux. The company had to buy the 'Hotel de la Gare' and rebuild it over the top of the station tracks. It was not until April 8 1909 that this short 2.7 km line opened for traffic, worked by MOB staff from the start. In contrast to the steam-worked Glion - Naye section, the MGl was worked by electric locomotives, but through trains were operated with a locomotive change at Glion. The locomotives were always worked at the lower end of their coaches, as on most mountain railways.

Summer traffic developed well, except during World War 1. In 1928, an experimental winter service was tried, as far as the lower portal of the Jaman Tunnel. This was successful, even though the lines coaches were really only designed for summer use. By 1933, the whole route was open in winter, and coaches had been fitted with steam heating.

Electrification of the whole line had first been discussed during the World War I coal shortage, and more plans made in the 1920s, but it was not until 22 July 1938 that through electric working began, using five new railcars of type BCHe 4/4. These units belonged to the GN company; a further car to the same design was built in 1947 for the MGl, and the GN bought another in 1949 and a final example in 1966. In 1983, these were joined by some modern BHe 4/8 double railcars. The line's very latest motive power item, however, is an ultra-modern steam locomotive of the new SLM design.

In 1987, the two companies were merged to become the Montreux - Glion - Naye (MGN)  company, still within the MOB group.

The Route

The MGl begins alongside the MOB station at Montreux (399 metres above sea level) below the afore-mentioned station hotel. After a few metres in the open air, the line enters the 399-metre long Montreux Tunnel and begins to climb at 130 per mille. Making an underground crossing of the MOB main line's loop tunnel, the line then emerges into daylight with a view over the houses of Les Planches to the Bay of Montreux. The boldly engineered climb up the mountainside, with spectacular views over Montreux, Territet and the lake. Beyond Toveyre, a 386-metre curved tunnel turns the route to the northwest, and into Glion station (691 metres a.s.l.) whose buildings incorporate the upper terminus of the funicular from Territet.

Leaving Glion, the train is now on the metals of the Glion - Naye railway, which is built to a steeper ruling gradient of 220 per mille. Immediately after Glion tunnel (42 m) we see the line's depot and workshops on both sides; some of the sidings can only be reached by a traverser. On open track rich with scenic views, the line climbs via Tremblex (passing loop and 144-metre curved tunnel) to the resort vi11age of Caux, 1052 metres a.s.l. Leaving Caux, the line heads straight for the peak of the Dent de Jaman (1875 m); on the right, across the Veraye valley, the Rochers-de-Naye massif comes into view. Near Paccot passing station the high-mountain character of the line establishes itself as it reaches the first avalanche shelter. At the foot of the Dent de Jaman the line swings through a sharp l80-degree curve, cutting through a ridge by a short tunnel. Jaman station (km 5.9, 1743 m.a.s.l.) is the starting point of an excellent walk to Les Cases MOB station at the east portal of the Jaman Tunnel.

The line's main engineering work is the 'Grand Tunnel de Naye' at 240 metres long, which is extended by an avalanche gallery at its lower end to 428 metres. Emerging from this tunnel, the train climbs round a final broad curve into the overall-roofed terminal station at Rochers-de-Naye, alongside its hotel at 1973 m.a.s.l. A footpath takes passengers up a last 70 metres of climbing to the 2042 m. summit of the mountain which has, to say the least, a panoramic view; in recent years a new foot-tunnel has been built from the station to a restaurant (the 'Plein Roc') which is set into the face of the mountain, overlooking the lake.


The line's electrical power has been 850 V DC since electrification to Rochers-de-Naye in 1938, when the lower section was converted from 750 V. Unlike 800 mm gauge machines built for other lines, the original MG locomotives were equipped for adhesion as well as rack working, and it was not until the introduction of the railcars in 1938 that it became necessary to fit rack rails to the Montreux station area.

The Montreux - Glion - Caux section has some local residential traffic, as is served by a basic hourly service, with some of the trains during the day continuing to Rochers-de-Naye to cater for the visitors and skiers. The full journey takes 55 minutes, and trains are often run in flights of two or three at busy times. Normally, all crossings take place at Caux. In the quiet time from early November to mid-December trains to Rochers-de-Naye run at weekends only. Freight traffic is normally confined to supplies for the summit hotel, skis, paragliders, etc. which are normally conveyed on wagons coupled at the uphill end of the passenger trains. Mail is also conveyed in a similar way between Caux and Montreux, using two fascinating little post wagons.

Motive Power

The GN line began life with six steam locos built by SLM of Winterthur in 1892/93, H 2/3 1 Montreux, 2 Lausanne, 3 Vevey, 4 Jaman, 5 Glion and 6 Naye. After electrification in 1938, nos. 2, 3 and 5 were scrapped, whilst others found their way to the Monte Generoso (MG) railway where they became nos. 6 (ex-GN 4), 7 (ex-GN 6). [GN no.1 is also said to have been sold to the MG, but published records are not consistent.] In 1962, old GN no. 4 was transferred again to the Brienz - Rothorn line, where it replaced the BRB's original no. 1 [was this damaged in an accident? - CH] and remains in service today. Two further locos of the same basic type were delivered to the GN in 1903 (no.7 Caux) and 1909 (no.8 Territet). After electrification, no. 8 also passed to the MG to become its no. 9. During the 1950s the MG line converted to diesel power, and the remaining ex-GN locos were scrapped. (Some other MG steam locos were actually rebuilt as diesels.)

Of the MGl's original three locos, HGe 2/2 1-3, built by SLM in 1909 with electrical parts by Oerlikon, no. 1 was scrapped in 1966 after it was damaged beyond repair in an avalanche while on a works train; two MOB staff were killed and others injured. No.3 was rebuilt by the MOB workshops in 1976, with a modern body style and equipment, and is now HGe 2/2 101. No.2 remains in stock in original condition; the two locos are used principally on engineers' trains.

Most associated with the line in most people's memories are the ABhe 2/4 railcars 201-206, the first five dating from 1938, no. 206 of 1947 which was the only one owned by the MGl, 207 of 1949, and 208 built as late as 1966 to the same design. (A very similar design was used in 1946 for three cars for the Aigle - Leysin line.) All were built by SLM with Brown Boveri equipment, although the MOB workshops had a hand in the construction of 208.  Each car weighs 15.5 tonnes, and with 420 HP installed power can carry 36 [52 according to another book] seated passengers up the mountain at a maximum speed of 18 km/h. Despite the introduction of more modern cars, all remain very much in service to cope with the booming traffic. They are not fitted for multiple working; at busy times trains are run in 'flights' a couple of hundred metres apart.

The modern generation on the MGN is represented by the Bhe 4/8 twin railcars built in 1983 by SLM with Siemens electrical equipment. These have a slightly faster speed of 21 kmlh, and can carry 96 passengers per twin-set, with an installed power of 544 HP. They are virtually identical to the four sets (11-14) built for the electrification of the Monte Generoso 1ine in 1982. They carry names as follows: 301 Montreux, 302 Veytaux and 303 Villeneuve.

The story of the MOB's new steam locomotive has already been told in the June 1992 Notebook. Here we will record only that new no.1, built by SLM, entered service in 1992 in time to operate three trains each Saturday and Sunday that summer to celebrate the centenary of the line. The steam service works only between Caux and Rochers-de-Naye.

Churchill's Arrow

from LOKI 9-94, by Eduard Alt and Christian Zellweger

Let us turn back the wheels of history to 1939, as World War II loomed, and the legendary 'Landi 39' exhibition in Zürich was opening its gates. This event still stands today as a symbol of the unity of Swiss people and their stand against the Fascist terror. The Swiss railway industry took their chance to exhibit their latest advanced products, such as the world-famous Ae 8/14 11852 which at 12,000 HP was for many years the most powerful locomotive in the world, diesel loco Am 4/4 1001 (now Bm 4/4 II 18451), and Brünig observation car B4 201 (now A 101). Also featured was the lightweight high-speed railcar Re 4/8 301 (now RAe 4/8 1021). This
unusual unit, with its characteristic nose bonnets, was built by SLM, BBC, MFO, SAAS and SWS, and was intended primarily for party charter services.

After the exhibition, the War broke out, and the smart new train found itself with no parties of happy trippers to carry. It was stored at Rorschach, and later at Rapperswil, until the end of hostilities when it was again made available for charter, now classified RBe 4/8. In early autumn of 1946, Winston Churchill visited Switzerland, and on 19th September made his historic speech to the youth of the country at the University of Zürich. The great statesman travelled around the country in no. 301, which thus gained the nickname 'Churchill-Pfeil' ­- Churchill Arrow. For the next 33 years, it was used on countless happy excursions for weddings, birthdays, mothers' days, and won a place in the hearts of many of the older generation.

The unit has a pair of special small buffers at each end, plus coupling equipment and brake pipes behind the bonnet doors for use in emergencies. For smoother running, the electrical gear includes a special stepless control, achieved by means of contacts sliding across the secondary windings of the transformer. The interior is well-appointed, and includes a small buffet. The doors are fitted with retractable steps for use away from platforms; these steps protrude outside the loading gauge and interlocking prevents the unit from being moved unless they are retracted. In 1969, the interior was refurbished, and equipped with fluorescent lighting. Along with the two three-car, 'nose-less' Red Arrows of 1937, and the RABDe 8/16 1041 of 1964, the Churchill Arrow was one of the SBB's fastest trains, with a maximum speed rating of 150 km/h. In 1947 it was renumbered RBe 4/8 651, becoming RAe 4/8 651 in 1956 when second class was abolished, and RAe 4/8 1021 in 1959.

German Holiday

By 1978, no. 1021 had run around 1.2 million miles, and in 1979 it went into works for an overhaul. However, during subsequent test running, it suffered a serious failure in one of its special transformers, and had to be taken out of service, its official SBB withdrawal date being 1 January 1980. There were suggestions that it should be claimed by the Lucerne Transport Museum, but this never happened. On 30 March 1980, a handful of photographers were treated to a farewell appearance, powered by Ae 3/5 10212, after which it was put in store in Vallorbe depot.

Various offers of purchase were made to the SBB, which was, however not prepared to sell it to anyone who would keep it in the open air to rot away. Finally, Alfred Glatt of the Intraflug company came to the rescue, handed over 12,000 SFr and moved it to Germany on 2 April 1985. First at Freiburg im Bresigau, later in Mannheim, it was kept in undercover storage. Intraflug intended to return the famous machine to service by fitting it with modern electrical gear based on the SBB's latest NPZ units, transforming it from RAe 4/8 to RAe 2/8, but before any work could be done Intraflug found itself bankrupt, thanks to its ill-fated American operations. Along with the company's other stock, it was purchased by ReisbOro Mittelthurgau and on 12 July 1994 it returned to its homeland. The new owners intend to restore the unit to working order in time for the 50th anniversary of Churchill's visit in 1996, and to fit it with a fully modern set of equipment, including the option to fit a pantograph head suitable for running in Germany and Austria.

Transalpin: The Austrian 4130 and 4010

Part I, from LOKI 9-94

On June 1st 1958, a new high-speed link was established between Vienna and Zürich by trains TS 12/13, the Transalpin, operated by new class 4130 units of the Oesterreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) - the Austrian Federal Railways. From 1959, this train achieved an average speed of 78 km/h over the 842 km journey via the Salzburg avoiding curve and Zell am See. The 4130 units were a modifed suburban EMU design, and although they perhaps met the low expectations of the 1950s, their standard of comfort did not really live up to the name of the ÖBB's 'prestige' train.

Poor Man's TEE

The class 4010 trains, introduced in 1965, established a standard for the next 30 years, being designed especially for duty on long-distance expresses. In contrast to the Trans-Europe Express concept popular in the rest of Europe at the time, the economic conditions prevailing in Austria at the time required the provision of both first and second class, leading to the nickname Proleten-TEE (Plebs' TEE) applied to the train in some quarters. 29 4010 units were built up to 1978, and they remain very much in service today on express trains within Austria.

In 1969,the Transalpin was transferred to the faster route through the 'German Corner' with a reversal at Rosenheim, giving a Vienna - Zürich time of 9 hours 13 minutes. In their heyday, the 4010s worked the extended Transalpin to Basel and the Johann Strauss to Frankfurt, units working as many as 30,000 km each month.

Loco Hauled

From the 1977 Summer timetable, the Transalpin became a locomotive-hauled working, using Eurofima-Z1 type coaches of the ÖBB. These coaches suffered severe electrical problems in their early days, however, and at times German coaches (Am 203's, 'humpback' restaurant cars) had to be substituted. In 1982, a new curve was opened to eliminate the reversal at Rosenheim.

Today, the traditional name Transalpin is bestowed on Eurocity 162/163 Basel - Vienna and return, a service indistinguishable from the rest of the Eurocity network. A new feature, however, is the inclusion of SBB Panorama coaches for the benefit of travellers on the scenic Arlberg route. Two such vehicles per train were provided in 1993-94, but 1994-95 there is just the one.

Transalpin 1958-65

Four 4130 units were built in 1957-58, the design being based on the class 4030 suburban units. Traction power was increased (1252 instead of 1000 kW) and maximum speed raised from 100 to 130 km/h; new designs of flexible drive shaft and power switching were fitted. In retrospect, the design of the 4130 could be questioned on
safety grounds: passengers in the power car were sitting directly above the transformer which was full of a Chloro-Phenolic compound which would emit highly-toxic Dioxins in a fire. In 1972, the electrical components (except the motors) were replaced by the design used in the 4030.200 suburban service variant, and the cab slightly extended. The 4130 class power car was fitted with two ÖBB standard type V pantographs, the leading one being fitted with a narrower head (1320 mm instead of 1950 mm) for use on the SBB system. By today's official standards (UIC 505 and 608), the 4130 units would actually be out of gauge for the SBB, as the ÖBB-width pantograph in its lowered position would be less than 15 cm from the limits of the SBB structure gauge.

Seating was in 2 + 1 format in both classes, but only in the trailer and driving trailer cars built or rebuilt for the express service. These were numbered 7130.01-06 (first class trailers), 7130.101-102 (second class trailers) and 6130.01-04 (driving trailers). The motor coaches retained the body shell of the suburban 4030 class, with large entrance vestibules and very wide seating pitch (window spacing 1600 mm.) Refreshments were served to passengers at their seats, from a small kitchen in the driving trailer.

After being replaced in Transalpin service, the 4130 units saw some use on other international trains such as the Meistersinger to Nuremburg, the Wörthersee to Munich and the Erzherzog
Johann, before being relegated to local trains in Carinthia, where 4130.001 and 004 can stil1 be seen today, usually on the Villach - St. Veit an der Glan and Klagenfurt - Rosenbach lines. The kitchens were removed, but the luxurious seating was retained. [According to Platform 5,some of the 7130 centre trailers were later used as locomotive-hauled stock, replaced by higher-density cars from the 4030 series.]

Motorcoach 4130.03 was scrapped after a collision in 1982. In 1987, 4130.01 was restored to its original Transalpin livery to take part in the parade commemorating the 150th anniversary of Austrian railways. In 1990 [or earlier, according to other sources] 4130.02 was sold to the Montafonerbahn in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg where it was repainted red and cream and the power car became ET 10.105. The rest of the train comprises B4 10.312 (ex-a4hTI 7130.01), B4 10.313 (ex-A4hTI 7130.102) and driving trailer ES 10.205 (ex-BD4hES 6130.02), and usually works the Montafonerbahn's twice-daily Schoolchildren's service. The acquisition of this train displaced the line's previous school train, which comprised ET 10.106 (ex-ÖBB 4060.02) plus three ex-SBB steel-bodied rebuilt coaches and driving trailer ES 10.203 (ex-MThB ABDm 2/4 8). The Swiss coaches have returned to Switzerland, for use in nostalgic trains. The Montafonerbahn considered buying the remaining two 4130 sets, but recently has taken delivery of two brand-new Swiss-built NPZ units.

Transalpin 1965-1977

In Summer 1965 the train was taken over by the first three specially-designed six-car trainsets, class 4010. Comparable with the Swiss/Dutch Diesel TEE sets of class RAm I (later 'Northlanders') these sets comprised a single-ended motorcoach with baggage compartment, a second-class car with open seating, a compartment second, restaurant car, compartment first/second composite, and driving trailer with open first-class saloon and baggage area. Each end of the train had normal buffers and couplers, but the cars of the set were fitted with Scharfenberg centre-buffer couplers. 4010.01-03 were the only sets to be delivered in this formation with a ful1 restaurant car; the later batch built in 1966/67 for service in Austrian internal expresses, 4010.04-15, were five-car sets with a buffet occupying only half a coach and no compartment compoosite. However, additional coaches were later ordered to make them up to six cars.

With a one-hour power rating of 2500 kW, the trains had ample power to work at the maximum speed of 140 km/h authorised in 1969, and could climb the 31.4 per mille gradients of the Arlberg line at 70 km/h. Pilot locomotives were sometimes seen in winter, but this was because of the risk of derailment if the lightweight driving trailer ran into a snow-drift or avalanche.

The first three sets were originally built with plastic [fibreglass?] front ends, but these were not a success and were later replaced by the pressed-steel version as installed from new in the later batch. Two single-arm pantographs were mounted (the first use of single-arm pantographs by the ÖBB), one in front of the other, on the power car roof, the rest of which was occupied by the resistances for the rheostatic brakes. One of the pantographs was fitted with an SBB-standard pickup head; for the first six months this had an aluminium wiper, but this was replaced by a graphite element in November 1965 to accord with a revised SBB standard. It is said that at least once the driver forgot to change pantographs at the border, and reached Basel without any accidents...

In 1972, multiple-control wiring was fitted to allow two units to work together with one driver; some problems were experienced with damage to pantographs and overhead wiring by these double sets, but this was considered to be mostly because some older sections of overhead were not really suitable for 140 km/h running. Although only trains allocated to Vienna West depot worked across the border (on the Bodensee to St Gallen as well as the Transalpin), all the power cars were equipped with the Swiss pantograph head until 1977, including those allocated to Vienna South and Graz. Today, these parts are kept in store and fitted to any ÖBB motive power which has to work temporarily in Switzerland, such as the visit of 1044.123 to the BLS-Parade in 1988, test running of a 4020 set on the ZOrich S-Bahn, and the recent Roco special featuring a 4010.
In 1988, the power cars were fitted with an additional field-weakening control, designed to allow them to run up to 150 km/h. The bogies of the trailer cars were fitted with magnetic rail brakes, as is required for stock intended to run at high speeds. Today, when in use on 'Supercity' service on the Sodbahn between Vienna and Graz, the 4010 class are permi tted to run at higher speed round curves. Since 1990 the class have been receiving major overhauls at Floridsdorf works, including some modifications to the ends, fitting of new-style doors, partial air-conditioning and a repaint in Eurocity red/grey/white instead of the traditional blue and beige. In recent months, the three original sets have received this treatment, leaving 4010.05, as chartered by Roco, as the oldest set still in the old colours.

Most workings these days are Inter-City services on the Südbahn, Tauern, Pyhrn and Ennstal lines. Until June 1994, they worked as far as Frankfurt in Germany as the Eurocity Johannes Kepler, but today the only international duty is the EC Stachus which only runs as far as Munich.

Driver's Eye View

The September issue of Eisenbahn Amateur includes a cut-out sheet detailing the SBB and BLS trains from which travellers can get a forward view, based on the timetable valid until May 1995. Generally, it is necessary to stand in the vestibule behind the cab in order to see out of the front; if the compartment adjacent is first-class, then you will need a first-class ticket. An abridged version of this list follows.


Eurocity: the EC trains worked by the ex-TEE RABe units 1051-1055 all offer a forward view. The second-class car leads on trains 420 & 424 Frasne - Bern, EC57 Zürich - Milan, EC154 Singen - Stuttgart, EC155 Singen - Zürich, EC158 Zürich - Singen, EC159 Stuttgart ­Singen. The first class is at the front on trains 423 & 427 Frasne - Bern, EC57 Zürich Airport -  ­Zürich HB, EC58 Milan - Zürich, EC154 Zürich - Singen, EC155 Stuttgart - Singen, EC158 Singen - Stuttgart, EC159 Singen - Zürich HB. [Late News: these have now been withdrawn except for the Frasne service: details of replacement stock are not available at present: see LOKI Aktuell sction.]

Zürich S-Bahn: Most trains in each direction on Table 701 Bulach - Winterthur, and all route S14 trains between Zürich and Hinwil, are operated by RABDe 12/12 units with an end view. Trains on line S 1 from Zürich to Zug, and on S2 from Ziegelbriicke to Zürich, are normally led by RBe 4/4 motorcoaches, as are S6 trains headed for Baden.

RBe 4/4 Motoroaches: these usually work in push-pull format, and not all types of driving trailer have a forward view. On the Seetalbahn (table 651) the motorcoach normally pushes out of Lucerne as far as Emmenbriicke where the train reverses. All trains to Lenzburg are in this format except 6002/4/12/18/32/34/44 which are worked by other stock. On southbound trains the motorcoach leads for the short section into Lucerne; exceptions worked by other stock are 6007/9/13/21/29/35.

On the Gotthard north ramp, recommended trains from Fluelen to Lucerne are 5208/12/30/38/50/54/60, 5264 (Sun), 5270/2/8, 5280 (Mon-Sat), 5284, 6686, 5292(Sat). Unique examples led by RBe 4/4 cars are 6221 Schupfueim - Lucerne, 7278 Glarus ­- Ziegelbriicke and 2944 Einsiedeln - Wadenswil. On the Südostbahn main line, the following are normally worked by an RBe 4/4 leading: 3308, 8615,8619 (Mon-Sat), 8647, 8679. Finally, most local trains numbered 7300-7399 from Sargans to Chur will normally be led by an RBe 4/4, except 7315/17/49/67/69/79/95.

BDe 4/4 motorcoaches: these cars, now in process of withdrawal, can currently be sampled on the St-Gingolph - Monthey, Puidoux-Chexbres - Vevey, Lausanne - Lyss - ­Büren, Yverdon - Fribourg, Sissach - Olten, Lenzburg - Muri / Brugg, Bülach - Koblenz and Rüti - Wald services. They have a view from one end only, and when working with coaches this is normally marshalled at the train end, so an end view is only possible when the vehicle is working alone. This now only occurs on the following trains: Olten - Laüfe1ingen - Sissach 6406, 6414 (Mon), 6422 (Mon-Sat), 6415 (Mon) and 6423 (Mon-Sat), Bülach - Koblenz on Sundays only 7441/51/52/64. Some of the others, however, do have views from the driving trailers, notably from Lyss to Büren and Wald - Rüti.

Driving Trailer Views: These can not be guaranteed, as vehicles without views can sometimes be substituted. However, most trains from Bellinzona to Luino (except 6629) and Fribourg - Payerne - Yverdon can usually be relied upon. Most modern types of driving trailer, such as the NPZ, EW III, double-decker and Brünig types have a single window in the door to the cab, but these wll mostly be found to have their blind pulled down.

BLS Group

Motorcoaches ABDe 4/8 746-755, and NPZ-type driving trailers 39-33 954...966 have forward views from the vestibule, although this is adjacent to the first-class section (first-class ticket needed). The older Be 4/4 cars 761-763 have views from the second-class vestibule at each end, which is especially good on the Winter (17 Oct - April 28) service on the Lötschberg south ramp locals between Brig and Goppenstein which are all worked by these these cars working alone. Monday-Friday trains 3518/30/36 from Spiez - Zweisimmen should also be hauled by one of these vehicles, as should (Sat-Sun) 3709/36 from Spiez to Interlaken. There are also some second-class driving trailers, 20-33950...991, which are found on some trains on the Neuchâtel - Bern, Thun - Belp - Bern, Frütigen - Thun lines, plus the Bern Bümpliz Nord locals. They can also be found on train 3720 (Mon-Fri) Interlaken - Spiez, and on trains 3518/30/36 (Sat-Sun) and 3546 (Mon-Fri) Spiez - ­Zweisimmen. Also, after 29 April, one will be attached at the Goppenstein end of all Brig ­- Goppenstein locals.

LOKI Aktuell 10-94

Goodbye TEE Sets?

The derailment of a driving trailer on the Gotthard south ramp on 22 July, combined with serious ageing problems which have been occurring in the motor-bogies, has convinced the SBB to withdraw the RABe (ex-TEE II) trainsets from their Eurocity duties to Stuttgart and Milan. At the time of going to press, the working between Bern and Frasne which connects with the Paris TGV is continuing, but its future with this rolling stock must also be in doubt. Surely some private organisation will wish to preserve one of these sets, and restore it to the original TEE livery.

125 Years on the Rack

On 15 September 1869, mountain railway pioneer Niklaus Riggenbach turned the first sod for the building of Europe's first mountain rack railway, the Vitznau - Rigi Bahn, which contributed to a great expansion in Switzerland's tourist industry.

Loco Swap

As predicted in LOKI, the Südostbahn (SOB) intends to hand over its four Re 4/4 III locomotives to join their sisters on the SBB, in exchange for the SBB's four Re 4/4 IV prototypes. The SOB will get more modern (1982) machines from the exchange, but the SBB will no longer need to keep spares for such a small non-standard class. Test runs on the SOB have been taking place; a photo shows 10102 at Wadenswil on a train to Einsiedeln.

Strange Double-header

On 31 August, the LOKI editor observed astrange sight at the rear end of a freight train between Winterthur and Zürich-Seebach: the
body of an SBB Re 460, running on temporary bogies, followed by a new RhB Ge 4/4 III mounted on a transporter wagon. Both were on the way from the SLM works at Winterthur to Asea Brown Boveri at Tramont.

Re 460 On the Up

From 25 September, the 'Lok 2000' machines returned to front-line service on Intercity trains, fol1owing 10 million francs worth of rectification works by their supplier firms. It is also reported that the Norwegian Railways intend to order 22 of the type following the successful testing of one loco in Norway.

More Advert-Locos

Fol1owing the Re 460 in Agfa colours (see previous issues) we now have 460 016-9 in Ciba [chemical company] colours - a simple snow-white with equally simple lettering - which emerged from Yverdon works in late August. Next in line is Märklin, who wil1 no doubt the first to model it! All three, plus a BLS Re 465, were scheduled for display at the 'Model & Hobby' exhibition in Bern from 28 September to 2 October.

Oensingen - Balsthal News

For the discharge of the Swiss Army's 2nd Tank Regiment, the OeBB produced a very special train from Balsthal to Oensingen, including three 'Leopard' tanks mounted on their special transporter wagon, hauled by 101-year-old Mallet locomotive Ed 2x2 196. The train continued over SBB metals behind an Re 460. Interestingly, the locomotive as well as the three tanks were built by Maffei, now part of Krauss Maffei which constructed several components of the new Re 460 class.

The OeBB has withdrawn its 1935-built Be 2/4 railcar no. 201. This was originally a Ce 2/4 on the BLS, taken over by the OeBB in 1958. Various preservation groups have shown interest; a similar car, BLS Ce 4/4 727, is already preserved in the Lucerne museum.

Ocean Liner

Offices for 300 staff and a depot for 11 trains are incorporated in the new white, ship-shaped building constructed for the Regionalverkehr Bern - Solothurn (RBS) railway in Worblaufen.

Swiss Ride the Rails

In 1992, each person in Switzerland travelled by train 41 times on average, covering a total of 1762 km, making the Swiss the most frequent and furthest rail travellers in Europe. In the whole world, only Japan is ahead with 70 journeys totaling 2015 km per person per year. Denmark is a close second in the European charts, with 1741 km per person per year.


In late August, a racing event for pedal-powered rail vehicles was held on the freight-only Laupen - Gümmenen section of the Sensetalbahn. Winner was Katrin Ranger of the 'Low Tech Train' team who achieved 57.3 km/h.

First published 1994 - this edition April 2009