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SBB RbE 540

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class387

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Do these trains still operate? If so, what routes do they run on as I would like to have a ride on them this summer.

Also, are there any other intresting trains in the Zurich area?
 
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30907

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Can't help but if you can manage a bit of German this site might give you an idea of unusual workings such as fixed sets with loose coaches tacked on...
http://www.reisezuege.ch/reisezuege/index.php?action=3

and this one is reasonably up to date on the survivors.http://juergs.ch/bahn/vorbild/sbb/rbe540.html
Note that OeBB is the Oensingen-Balsthal Bahn, which looks your best bet.

Via Drehscheibe-online I came across this report of a farewell special to mark the last unit reaching the end of its certification.
http://www.dsf-koblenz.ch/index.php/07/07-2/07-1-2016/292-rbe540-abschied-mit-stil
Regular traffic ended in Decemberc2014.

Among other comments, this suggests that the OeBB unit is also OOU. It was only the reserve unit :(
 
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class387

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Right. Time to start looking for something else interesting then. Any recommendations?
 

Gordon

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No more 540s sadly. I've grown up with them, so sad to see them go. Too much 'new generation' stock leading to cascading of older 'new' stock has now taken place, most of the oldest SBB stock is disappearing.

The Forchbahn and Uetliberg Bahn light railways are worth trips.



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--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Right. Time to start looking for something else interesting then. Any recommendations?

I don't know whether you are interested in freight traction, trams or light railways, so I've trawled through my database for the whole Swiss traction scene to try and answer this for you:

Not exhaustive or mega-techincal but I reckon there are around 25 types of traction in Switzerland (across all rail genres) that can be considered 'old fashioned'. in the following list DFR stands for Due for Replacement, DFIR stands for Due For Imminent Replacement (and both these are timings are variable anyway). I've included the build years for comparison


  • WRS ex OBB Class 1042
  • A few ex SBB Re4/4 I (preserved, specials and contract work)
  • SBB Re4/4II (Re420) first batch 11108 - 11155 (single diamond pantograph - built 1960s)
  • BLS Re4/4 (Re425) 'brownies' (batch up to 189 built up to 1972)
  • DFR: BLS Re 420 5xx (ex SBB)
  • SBB class 450 (yes - these are now considered old hat!)
  • SBB Re6/6 (especially the two remaining green ones) built 1975 - 80)
  • Martigny - Orsieres class 537 units similar to class 540 (works use only now) (1965)
  • SBB and various local standard gauge operators NPZ/Kolobri type 1980s high floor EMU power cars classes 560/561/562/565/566
  • ex OBB 2143 locos (RTS)
  • BOB power cars 304 - 310 (1965 - 70)
  • BLM various new and second hand single railcars (all built 1960s)
  • MGB Deh4/4 21 - 24 and 51 -55 (built 1970s)
  • MOB GDe4/4 6000 series locos (1980s)
  • DFIR: MOB series 4000 articulated power cars (1968)
  • DFIR: BAM 1981 stock
  • Pilatus Bahn rack railcars (1937)
  • RhB Ge6/6 II (1958-65)
  • RhB Ge4/4I (in reserve)
  • RhB Ge4/4 II (1973 - 85)
  • some DFIR: TPC 1980s stock
  • Trans N Le Locle - Les Brenets railcars (1950)
  • DFR AB 11 - 15 (1981)
  • FLP power cars high floor dating from 1978-79
  • RBS 43 - 61 (remaining power cars of the same style to the FLP ones)
  • DFR: WB 750mm gauge 1970s style units
  • line threatened with closure: Solothurn - Moutier

From the list I would pick out the following for special mention:

MOB series 4000 articulated power cars (1968). These are a different design and styling to any other Swiss stock (so have always been favourite of mine)

The Pilatus Bahn rack railcars are the oldest traction units in regular service in Switzerland, they date from the electrification of the line in 1937.

I believe the Le Locle - Les Brenets railcars (1950) to be the oldest traction in all year round daily use in Switzerland. As with the MOB 4000, they are a rare style with Italian built bodies - unchanged since 1950


Lastly, a mention of old passenger rolling stock. On SBB the last EW I/II (i.e. mark I/II) of the 'classic' Swiss design of the 1950s operate some Basel area commuters, one peak hour train along lake Geneva, and Brig - Domodossola



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317666

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If you're in Zürich on a weekday and like electric locos, be sure to check out the S-Bahn rush hour extras. Double decker coaches topped and tailed by modernised Re 4/4 II locos (modernised = new cab equipment, lights and so on - they still make all the right noises!). Other Re 4/4 IIs are still pretty common on main line trains, but the S-Bahn extras are a nice cheap(ish) option if you don't want to spend too much on fares. You can get a ZVV 9:00 day pass, which is valid after 9:00 on all of this for CHF26: http://www.zvv.ch/zvv-assets/abos-und-tickets/zonen/tarifzonen_dez_15.pdf

If you plan to spend a few days travelling then I would strongly recommend purchasing either a Swiss InterRail (valid on main line and a few narrow gauge lines) or Swiss Pass (valid on nearly everything), as Swiss walk-up fares are very, very expensive!

From Gordon's list above, a personal favourite for me are the Ge 4/4 II locos and Be 4/4 railcars on the RhB.
 
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Gordon

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I
From Gordon's list above, a personal favourite for me are the Ge 4/4 II locos and Be 4/4 railcars on the RhB.

Good call on the RhB Be4/4, missed them! They are most definitely DFIR, down to 1 and bit days booked work.

The reason I love them is that they are almost the last stock anywhere in Switzerland to retain the embossed interior signage that I grew up with in pre-refurbishment standard Swiss EW stock in the 1970s, including 'nichtraucher/non fumeurs/non fumatori' signs that are nowadays unnecessary.

BTW I also missed out the Schynige Platte Bahn with its 1910 built locos. rubbishes my own comment about the Pilatus Bahn's 1937 units being the oldest - oops!

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class387

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I've got a Swiss Pass.

May I ask what sort of traction operates the RhB services between Chur-St. Moritz and St. Moritz-Tirano (not Bernina Express)?
 

317666

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I've got a Swiss Pass.

May I ask what sort of traction operates the RhB services between Chur-St. Moritz and St. Moritz-Tirano (not Bernina Express)?

Chur - St. Moritz trains are mostly Ge 4/4 III-hauled, 1990s electric locos:

http://www.rail-info.ch/RhB/pics/rhb641.jpg

St. Moritz - Tirano is a mix of modern Allegra EMUs:

http://pre11.deviantart.net/c026/th/pre/f/2014/066/5/a/2014_01_01_dsc_9867_by_swisstrain-d79bs44.jpg

And older ABe 4/4 III railcars:

http://www.bahnbilder.de/bilder/rhb-abe-44-iii-63746.jpg

The RhB are kind enough to post loco and unit diagrams on their own website, which can be very useful if you're aiming for certain classes: https://www.rhb.ch/en/company/treasure-trove-for-railway-fans/locomotive-allocations

Hope that helps :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Good call on the RhB Be4/4, missed them! They are most definitely DFIR, down to 1 and bit days booked work.

I'd say they've got a bit longer than that, as to the best of my knowledge all of the Allegra units have been in service for a few years now. When I was staying in Chur last August, there was usually one (sometimes two!) Be 4/4 running on an ABe 4/16 diagram each day - this in addition to the usual diagram on Davos - Klosters shuttles. I think the plan is for them to be withdrawn, along with the first batch of Ge 4/4 IIs, when the new units for Disentis - Scuol trains arrive in 2020 or so.
 

robvulpes

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Chur - St. Moritz trains are mostly Ge 4/4 III-hauled, 1990s electric locos:

http://www.rail-info.ch/RhB/pics/rhb641.jpg

St. Moritz - Tirano is a mix of modern Allegra EMUs:

http://pre11.deviantart.net/c026/th/pre/f/2014/066/5/a/2014_01_01_dsc_9867_by_swisstrain-d79bs44.jpg

And older ABe 4/4 III railcars:

http://www.bahnbilder.de/bilder/rhb-abe-44-iii-63746.jpg

The RhB are kind enough to post loco and unit diagrams on their own website, which can be very useful if you're aiming for certain classes: https://www.rhb.ch/en/company/treasure-trove-for-railway-fans/locomotive-allocations

Hope that helps :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


I'd say they've got a bit longer than that, as to the best of my knowledge all of the Allegra units have been in service for a few years now. When I was staying in Chur last August, there was usually one (sometimes two!) Be 4/4 running on an ABe 4/16 diagram each day - this in addition to the usual diagram on Davos - Klosters shuttles. I think the plan is for them to be withdrawn, along with the first batch of Ge 4/4 IIs, when the new units for Disentis - Scuol trains arrive in 2020 or so.

Report direct from visit to RhB-land TODAY!

At least 3 Ge6/6ii 70x locos working Chur-St. Moritz services, and at least 2 Be 4/4 units (one on Chur locals, one around Samedan). Several others parked up but looking perfectly useable. Sorry, I don't bother with diagrams or number-crunch so no more details.

Rob
 

Gordon

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Report direct from visit to RhB-land TODAY!

At least 3 Ge6/6ii 70x locos working Chur-St. Moritz services,
Rob

I'm afraid it was just one Ge6/6II loco - 704 - working Chur - St Moritz today, not three different locos.

This has been the pattern on some days for the last month or so, with one diagram booked for Ge4/4III being worked by Ge6/6II. Today (18 May) it worked diagram 151 starting with train 1117 circa 7am off Chur, and ending with train 1165 getting to St Moritz around 21.00



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class387

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I have now written a plan. I will be going in August. Could anyone please make recommendations/amendments to my plans and also provide types of classes for the train legs?

Friday
Zurich HB 7:37 Konstanz 8:54
Konstanz 11:12 Schaffhausen 14:45 (Boat)
Schaffhausen 15:21 Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall 15:26
Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall 16:26 Winterthur 16:54
Winterthur 16:58 Zurich HB 17:23

Saturday
Zurich HB 8:07 Chur 9:22
Chur 9:56 Disentis/Muster 11:11
Disentis/Muster 11:14 Andermatt 12:22
Andermatt 12:37 Visp 14:50
Visp 15:06 Lausanne 16:45
Lausanne 17:15 Zurich HB 19:30

Sunday
Zurich HB 7:32 Bern 8:28
Bern 8:34 Interlaken Ost 9:28
Interlaken Ost 11:04 Luzern 12:55
Luzern 15:12 Fluelen 18:03 (Boat)
Fluelen 18:24 Zurich HB 19:28

Monday
Zurich HB 7:07 Chur 8:22
Chur 8:58 St Moritz 11:03
St Moritz 11:48 Tirano RhB 14:19
Tirano RhB 15:00 St Moritz 17:11
St Moritz 17:57 Chur 20:03
Chur 20:09 Zurich HB 21:23

Thank you for your help!
 

Gordon

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.

You can look up most of the SBB trains for yourself on the Swiss Kursbuch timetable PDFs website (Fahrplanfelder.ch) and on 'Reisezuge.ch' website which gives train formations and where you can search by various parameters, including train number.

It's a bit late at night now as I respond to this but I'll quickly throw in what I can in the time available before I have to turn in...

Looks like you've (Perhaps inadvertently?) picked lots of DB ICEs and ICN tilting EMUs, where alternatives exist on the same or parallel routes. I wonder if that's what you really want. May I suggest researching further using the two websites given above where you might be able to find more 'interesting' train types to ride on.


I have now written a plan. I will be going in August. Could anyone please make recommendations/amendments to my plans and also provide types of classes for the train legs?Thank you for your help!
Friday
Zurich HB 7:37 Konstanz 8:54 460 + EWIV push pull
Konstanz 11:12 Schaffhausen 14:45 (Boat)
Schaffhausen 15:21 Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall 15:26 Flirt EMU I suspect
Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall 16:26 Winterthur 16:54 Flirt EMU I suspect
Winterthur 16:58 Zurich HB 17:23 ICN unit (no detective work needed here as train number 'ICN1530' and timetable PDF tells you in any case


Saturday
Zurich HB 8:07 Chur 9:22 DB ICE
Chur 9:56 Disentis/Muster 11:11 all trains on this line booked hauled stock (non push pull) + Ge4/4II
Disentis/Muster 11:14 Andermatt 12:22 hauled stock with MGB Deh4/4 or HGe4/4
Andermatt 12:37 Visp 14:50 usually MGB Deh4/4 hauled
Visp 15:06 Lausanne 16:45 Re460 + EWIV (push pull on this line since Dec 2015)
Lausanne 17:15 Zurich HB 19:30 ICN1533 tilting EMU via Neuchatel, Biel/Bienne

Sunday
Zurich HB 7:32 Bern 8:28 460 + IC2000 double deckers
Bern 8:34 Interlaken Ost 9:28 DB ICE
Interlaken Ost 11:04 Luzern 12:55 ZB 'plastic' EMU
Luzern 15:12 Fluelen 18:03 (Boat) Too late in the day for a paddle steamer southbound - are you happy on a diesel boat?
Fluelen 18:24 Zurich HB 19:28 At last - something you might really want! - Re4/4II + Rare shorty 4 coach sundays extra

Monday
Zurich HB 7:07 Chur 8:22 Re460 + EWIV, IC on this route mainly hauled 460
Chur 8:58 St Moritz 11:03 all booked Ge4/4III
St Moritz 11:48 Tirano RhB 14:19 probably Allegra unit but check using the train number and RhB's published loco diagrams
Tirano RhB 15:00 St Moritz 17:11 probably Allegra unit ditto above
St Moritz 17:57 Chur 20:03 normally Ge4/4III
Chur 20:09 Zurich HB 21:23 DB ICE



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axlecounter

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Well, ICEs get sometimes replaced by a Re4/4+BDt push-pull when arriving late from Germany. You may want to try your luck with that :D
 

class387

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I like ICEs, but I'm not sure about any alternatives for some of the ICNs. Obviously Winterthur-Zurich is easy to sort, but are there any non-ICN trains Lausanne-Biel-Zurich? Or should I just give up and go via Bern?

As for the boat, I don't really care but if the 14:12 is something more interesting then I will take that instead.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I have now changed the Winterthur-Zurich ICN to the 17:28 IR2278, which am I correct in saying that it is a Re 4/4II?
 
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317666

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I like ICEs, but I'm not sure about any alternatives for some of the ICNs. Obviously Winterthur-Zurich is easy to sort, but are there any non-ICN trains Lausanne-Biel-Zurich? Or should I just give up and go via Bern?

As for the boat, I don't really care but if the 14:12 is something more interesting then I will take that instead.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I have now changed the Winterthur-Zurich ICN to the 17:28 IR2278, which am I correct in saying that it is a Re 4/4II?

It is, but only Friday - Sunday, but it looks like you're doing it on a Friday :)

If you really want to avoid ICNs then I would suggest that you go via Bern, as it looks to me that the hourly service via Biel is ICNs, but via Bern is Re460s and IC2000 double deckers. Alternatively, depending on how much time you have, you could go the long way round (and I mean long way round!) changing at Visp, both legs again should be Re460-hauled.
 
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Gordon

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All the 'Jurafuss' (ie Olten - Biel - Yverdon - Lausanne) route express trains are ICN these days. As I raised earlier in the thread, the loco hauled ICs St Gallen - Geneve via Fribourg will soon be a thing of the past so I would go that way.

You can avoid ICEs in most cases by shifting trains by an hour but it might wreck your carefully planned itinerary.

If you want to choose specific types of stock or locos, as mentioned earlier, just search through the Reisezuge ch web site. To do this, click on 'Alle Fahrzeuge Auflisten' which gives you a list of pictures of traction and coach types. Click on one to see the list of trains the vehicle is used on. Once on the train list, you can hover over a vehicle to see basic details such as max speed.

Something else you might want to see is the BLS Re420 (ex SBB) and mark threes on Interlaken - Zweisimmen



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class387

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Is one of the routes (via Bern and via Biel) superior in terms of scenery? If so then I would be willing to endure a ICN.

As I've said previously, I do not intend on avoiding ICEs and in fact quite enjoy travelling on them
 

30907

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Is one of the routes (via Bern and via Biel) superior in terms of scenery? If so then I would be willing to endure a ICN.

As I've said previously, I do not intend on avoiding ICEs and in fact quite enjoy travelling on them

Neither is spectacular by Swiss standards, but via Biel goes alongside Lake Neuchâtel.
 

Gordon

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Neither is spectacular by Swiss standards, but via Biel goes alongside Lake Neuchâtel.

Not 'spectacular' but they do both give you views of 'real' green rural agricultural Switzerland.

You get a few views of the Bielersee and Lac Neuchatel on the northerly route, and you will see the Jura mountains to the left. It is, overall, flatter than the route via Bern so the latter always gets my vote for the nice sinuous routes (which with the current long loco hauled rakes will get you some nice views of the loco sweeping round the sharper curves) through farmland, especially Palezieux - Fribourg, and you also get the spectacular climb up through the vineyards from Lausanne, with views over lake Geneva.


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class387

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I now also have the option to return from Brig via Spiez and the Lotschberg Pass. Would this be better, both in terms of scenery and traction?
 

robvulpes

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If you're going OVER the Loetschberg Pass and not through the base tunnel then it's very well worth it for scenery (sit on the left facing from Brig) but very likely to be a unit. If your train is not stopping between Visp and Frutigen then its likely to be going through the base tunnel.

Rob
 

30907

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If you're going OVER the Loetschberg Pass and not through the base tunnel then it's very well worth it for scenery (sit on the left facing from Brig) but very likely to be a unit. If your train is not stopping between Visp and Frutigen then its likely to be going through the base tunnel.

Rob

If it DOES stop at Visp it's through the tunnel! Build in the extra hour and put up with the EMU. I'd rate it the finest bit of standard gauge in Switzerland if not Europe.
And Lausanne to Brig isn't bad - sit on the right for the lake view.
 

Bletchleyite

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Lausanne to Brig is one of my favourite in the world, though sadly the fresh air UIC coaches are no more (excellent view from the huge EW IV windows, though). Loetschberg also good and the units are very pleasant with massive picture windows.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Gordon

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All daytime trains over the old Lötschberg route are Bern - Brig and v.v RE trains formed of BLS class RABe535 Lötschberger EMUs, which are actually quite nice vehicles.
xx.12 each hour from Spiez, xx.36 each hour from Brig.

On a technical geographical note, there is no Lötschberg Pass. This is a common misconception. The geographical pass is called the Lötschenpass.

The railway was dubbed Lötschberg as the tunnel went underneath the 'Lötsch Massif' or 'Lötsch mountain range'


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Lausanne to Brig is one of my favourite in the world,

Unless the OP's planned route earlier that day has changed, I'm assuming the journey would be altered from Andermatt - Visp - Lausanne - Zurich to Andermatt - Brig - Spiez - Bern - Zürich, in which case the lakeside route between Villeneuve and Lausanne would be missed out

.
 
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class387

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Yes, that would be how the route is altered. But on comparison bearing in mind scenery in the month that I am going and traction (loco throughout vs EMU + loco) which one would you personally say is superior?

Unless there is some way to do both.

Also, despite the RBe 540 being OOU, would the Oensingen-Balsthal Bahn still be worth a trip. I could probably fit it in quite easily if so.
 
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robvulpes

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Oensingen-Balsthal Bahn's one-train service last week was a hired-in SBB Domino emu (refurbished NPZ). However, all the OeBB's own stock (much of it decrepit) was still liberally dumped around the branch. OeBB's own unrefurbished ex-SBB NPZ was at Balsthal in 'hot spare' mode (pantograph up and air compressor kicking in). Re4/4i was working freight from Balsthal down to SBB at Oensingen (not beyond).

Rob
 

Gordon

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which one would you personally say is superior?

Unless there is some way to do both..

Pretty much impossible to call on both of these.

route-wise, not easy to do both without fundamentally altering your four days plans so far posted.

Both routes would be good so you will have to make your own mind up.

The essential facts about each route are as follows:

Brig - Bern
Lötschberg mountain route climbs the 'South Ramp' up out of Brig up the valley side of the Valais valley with spectacular views of the valley floor as it gets further and further away. On the way up it crosses several ravines with numerous bridges and viaducts, including three iconic viaducts.
Then its through the tunnel with views of the car carrying shuttle trains which are powered by BLS 'brownie' Re4/4 locos.
The 'North Ramp' takes you down from Kandersteg round loop the loops at Blausee-Mitholz to Frutigen. Then through bucolic valley down to Spiez (views of Lake Thun) then after Thun a flat sprint thence to Bern.


Brig - Lausanne

fast run Brig - Sierre - Sion - Martigny along the floor of the Valais valley with high mountainsides on either side. Valley turns 90 degrees (a remarkable geographical feature) then its straight -ish through Bex and Aigle (home of a group of narrow gauge local railways) then onto the shore of Lake Geneva past the famous Chateau de Chillon, Montreux (more narrow gauge lines to glimpse) and Vevey to Lausanne.

Lausanne - Bern

spectacular run up the hillside from the lake to Puidoux-Chexbres, then into the 'Gros de Vaud' undulating farmland to Fribourg and on to Bern.


The Balsthal line is short and the scenery is average (this is the edge of the Jura mountain range). Not necessarily worth a special trip, but it is short and doesn't take long.

However another line close by is threatened with big changes (regauging from its current unusual for Switzerland 750mm gauge) - i.e. the Waldenburger Bahn. You can take a bus from Balsthal to Waldenburg and do both lines in a shortish time. The bottom end of the Waldenburger Bahn is Liestal which is well served by main line services

.
Oensingen-Balsthal Bahn's one-train service last week was a hired-in SBB Domino emu (refurbished NPZ). .

This is a semi-permanent (if not permanent) arrangement now.


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class387

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Just seen that the Alvra/Albula Gliederzug (AGZ) has entered service. Any chance of me riding one?
 

Gordon

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Just seen that the Alvra/Albula Gliederzug (AGZ) has entered service. Any chance of me riding one?

Absolutely!

They are being trialled in service on the Landquart - St Moritz trains that run via the Vereina tunnel prior to being introduced over the next 12 months on the Albula main line itself, where RhB is planning to have four sets in use in time for the Alpine World Ski Championships in St Moritz in early February 2017, with all six in service by Summer 2017.

First introduced on a piecemeal basis a few years ago, there are now six trains per day each way from Landquart direct to St Moritz via the Vereina, thus avoiding Chur and the Albula line altogether. This takes advantage of the fact that the Vereina route actually gives a shorter (by almost half an hour) overall journey time between Zürich and St Moritz.

Incidelntally Alvra has been chose as it is the Rumantsch name for Albula.



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class387

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Ok. Are they going to be on the Albula line by August and are there any diagrams?
 
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