Sunday, 30 December 2012

Appenzeller Jubilee - 100 Years Appenzell - Wasserauen line

In 1912 the Säntisbahn Company started operations on the newly built narrow gauge (1000mm) Appenzell - Wasserauen line. The final objective was the Säntis mountain, with 2503 m the highest peak in the Alpstein mountain chain on the Southern border of the Appenzell country. The goal was to reach the Säntis in 4 stages and the track to Wasserauen was the first stage of this ambitious plan.
But with World War I the so needed flow of tourists dried up and the following stages of the line to the Säntis were never realised. In 1939 the company changed its name from Säntisbahn into Appenzell - Weissbad - Wasserauen Bahn (AWW) and after World War II, in 1947, the AWW merged with the Appenzellerbahn.
The 100th anniversary was commemorated with a 'Bahnhof Fest' (Railway station festivities) at Wasserauen on 26 august and this included expositions, static display of historical railway material and free visit of the power station at Untersee (provides the electricity for the railway). But most interesting were the shuttle services between Wasserauen and Appenzell and back. These services were performed with 3 heritage trains: the electric motorcars BCe 4/4 30 and BCFeh 4/4 5, and the little loco Ge 2/2 49 "Piccolo", all with matching passenger cars. 
Unfortunately the day started cloudy and rainy but in the afternoon the wetter improved and the sun reappeared.
BCFm 2/4 56, a historic diesel motorcar built in 1929, as part of the static display in front of the old workshop at Wasserauen station. 
The beautifully restored CFe 3/3 2, at the static display. This motorcar was built in 1911 for the Altstätten - Gais bahn (AG). This railroad merged in 1948 with the Sankt Gallen - Gais - Appenzell Bahn (SGA). Finally in 1988, the SGA merged with the Appenzellerbahn to form a new company, the Appenzeller Bahnen (AB).

Ge 2/2 49 'Piccolo', the small 2 axle engine on its way from Wasserauen to Appenzell. The two passenger cars are original Säntisbahn cars.
Schwende, 26-08-2012.
BCe 4/4 30, returning from Appenzell.
Schwende, 26-08-2012. 
BCFeh 4/4 5 between Weissbad and Steinegg.
Weissbad, 26-08-2012.
The last passenger car normally goes with te CFe 3/3 2 (see static display).
Ge 2/2 49 on the way back from Appenzell. Steinegg 26-08-2012.
BCe 4/4 30, ready for the first shuttle departure under a cloudy and rainy sky, at Wasserauen station.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Chocolate Train

The Montreux Oberland Bernois Company (MOB) operates a special train, "Le Train du Chocolat" or Chocolate Train, that runs from Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva to the Cailler chocolate plant at Broc in the Gruyère region. The service started in 1985 and today the chocolate train runs from May to October, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and daily in July and August.
The trip goes from Montreux to Monbovon where the train comes on TPF (Transports Publics Fribourgeois) track. Here the train reverses and continues on TPF track to Gruyères where a stop is made, allowing the passengers to visit a demonstration cheese dairy and the medieval village and castle of Gruyères. From Gruyéres the train continues to Bulle where it reverses again and comes on the Bulle - Broc line (also TPF) to run the final 5 km to the little station of Broc fabrique, just in front of the Cailler plant (Nestlé group). After a visit to the chocolate plant, including of course a tasting of the famous Cailler chocolate, follows the return journey to Montreux (without stop at Gruyères).
In June 2009 when I was in the Gruyère region, the train consisted of engine GDe 4/4 6003 in special Chocolate train livery, two Pullman wagons and a panoramic pilot wagon. The Pullman nostalgic wagons were Ars 101 (A standing for 1st class, r for restaurant or bar and s for salon) and As 102. The wagons were built in 1914, respectively 1915, modified and repainted several times and rebuilt in their actual form in 1994. The panoramic pilot wagon Ast 117 was built in 1986 and was one of the pilot wagons for the then called Super Panoramic Express, a special train with a pilot wagon on each end and the engine in the middle. In between are coupled one or more panoramic wagons. This train is now called the Golden Pass Panoramic. A peculiarity of this pilot wagon is the engineers' compartment that is slightly in retreat and above the 8 front seats. These VIP seats offer a splendid sight ahead.

The Chocolate train on its way to Gruyères. Neirivue, 15-06-2009.
Pilot wagon Ast 117 is leading,  followed by Pullman wagons Ars 101 and As 102. GDe 4/4 6003 is pushing.

 idem, between Neirivue and Grandvillard, 15-06-2009.
Clearly visible on pilot wagon Ast 117 is the engineer's compartment (the upper windscreen) and the VIP seats in the front.

GDe 4/4 6003 waits with its train on the side track in the station of Gruyères while the passengers are visiting the village.  Gruyères, 15-06-2009

The Chocolate train rolls down the 50 per mil (5%) grade between Broc and Broc fabrique. The train has reversed at Bulle station and now GDe 4/4 6003 is leading.
Broc Fabrique, 15-06-2009.

 GDe 4/4 6003 in its beautiful golden livery.

The Chocolate train shifts to a side track behind the little station at Broc Fabrique while the passengers are visiting the Cailler plant.
Broc Fabrique, 15-06-2009.

The Chocolate train just before the station of Gruyères.
Gruyères, 17-06-2009.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

100 years Chur-Disentis line

In 1912 the line Chur-Disentis became operational, connecting the capital of Graubünden (Grisons) with Disentis in the Surselva region. Disentis is best known for its imposing Benedictin monastery (founded ca 720). It is also the station where the RhB connects with the MGB (Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn).
The line slowly runs up through the Rhine valley with grades varying between 1,5 to 2,7%. The most spectacular part is between Reichenau and Castrisch (near Ilanz) where the railway follows the Rhine through the narrow "Ruinaulta" (the Rhine gorge). In 1922, ten years after the opening, the line was electrified.

On occasion of the 100th anniversary, the RhB, provided Ge 4/4 II 630 with a special paint scheme, in the same way as was done with other loco's for 100 years Albula and Bernina-line.

Ge 4/4 II 630 with goods train from Samedan to Landquart.
Filisur, 05-06-2012.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Landwasser Viaduct

The Landwasser viaduct is probably the best known viaduct of the Rhätische Bahn, the Rhaetian railway. The viaduct is built across the Landwasser, a tribute to the Albula river, which itself is tribute to the Rhine. Built in 1901-1902 the 65 m high and 135 m long curved viaduct leads directly into the Landwasser tunnel (216 m long) in the rock on the opposite side.
In the vicinity of the viaduct, two vieuwpoints have been installed for the many railfans and train photographers that visit the area enabling them to have a perfect and secure outlook on the viaduct.
One vieuwpoint is situated on the Filisur-side of the landwasser at the end of a path some 30 minutes away from Filisur station. From this point the entrance of the tunnel is not visible.
The second vieuwpoint is situated on the other side of the Landwasser and can be reached from the village of Schmitten (after a 50 min downhill walk) or from the little car park along the Kantonstrasse between Alvaneu-Bad and Filisur (30 min uphill walk). The vieuwpoint is a well secured platform installed above the short Zalaint tunnel some 200 m from the viaduct, with a perfect vieuw on the viaduct and the Landwasser tunnel entrance.
A few hundred meters before the Zalaint tunnel the railway has already crossed the Schmittentobel viaduct, another impressive viaduct 137 m long and 35 m above the Schmitten gorge.

Ge 4/4 III 646 with the RE (Regio express) to St. Moritz, 05-06-2012.
Ge 4/4 I 603 with the Glacier Express from Davos to Zermatt, 05-06-2012.
This Glacier Express goes from Davos to Filisur, where the loco runs around and couples on the opposite side of the train. Then the trip continues to Chur where this train will be coupled with another Glacier Express from St. Moritz. Power for this double Glacier Express from Chur to Disentis is generally a Ge 4/4 III.

Ge 4/4 II 628 with goods train to Samedan, 05-06-2012.
Ge 6/6 II 702 with goods train from Samedan, 05-06-2012.

The pictures above were taken from the vieuwpoint above the Zalaint tunnel. For the following picture I stood on the opposite vieuwpoint, on the Filisur-side of the Landwasser.

Ge 6/6 II 704 with a goods train from Landquart to Samedan, on the viaduct, 25-11-2009.
Vieuw from the Regional Express Chur - Sankt Moritz. Engine is Ge 4/4 III 643.                    Filisur, 05-05-2008.

The 'Albula Erlebniszug'

On saturday 02-06, the new 'Albula Bahnmuseum' was opened at Bergün, the picturesque village on the Albula line. As part of the festivities the RhB had programmed a special train with a Ge 6/6 I and heritage carriages, that ran from Landquart to Bergün, and than further on to St. Moritz, and back. This train, the 'Albula Erlebniszug' or Albula travel-experience train, will run every Sunday of June, July and August over the Albula line (UNESCO World Heritage) to St. Moritz and back in the afternoon.
On Sunday 03-06, although the weather was not ideal,  I made some pictures of the train, between Tiefencastel and Filisur, and on its way back, on the Solis viaduct.

Ge 6/6 I 414, arriving at Tiefencastel, with the Albula travel-experience train...
...and rolling by through the service and freight station at Surava.
The train makes a stop at Filisur station. On the background the Glacier Express from Davos to Zermatt is waiting for departure.
The Albula travel-experience train on the Solis viaduct, on its way back from St. Moritz to Lanquart.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

RhB - Ge 4/4 II 611 with regional from Davos Platz.
Filisur, 15-05-2012.
RhB - Ge 4/4 III 643 with RE (regional express) to Chur, between Preda and the Zuondra spiral tunnel, off Naz.
Bergün, 15-05-2012.
On the right of the track we see the 'Bahnlehrpfad Preda-Bergün', the didactive hiking path that goes from Preda to Bergün. 
RhB - Ge 4/4 III 646 with RE to Chur, same place as above.
Bergün, 15-05-2012 
RhB - Ge 4/4 III 641 with RE to Chur, off Naz.
Bergün, 18-05-2012.
RhB - Ge 4/4 II 618 with goods train from Samedan to Landquart, off Naz. On tow in second position is diesel worktrain engine Gmf 4/4 242.
Bergün, 18-05-2012.
RhB - Ge 6/6 II 707 with goods train to Samedan, between the Zuondra spiral tunnel and Preda.
In third position is a shunter Tm 2/2 in tow.
Bergün, 18-05-2012.

RhB - Ge 4/4 III 649 with the RE to Chur, off Naz.
Bergün, 18-05-2012.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

RhB - ABe 8/12 with Bernina Express, Filisur, 14-05-2012.
RhB - Tm 2/2 93 light work engine, with gravel cars.
Filisur, 14-05-2012. 
RhB (Bernina line) - ABe 8/12 3506 with regional to Tirano (Italy) in the 'Panorama  Kurve' and rolling down the 7 % grade to Poschiavo.
Alp Grüm, 14-05-2012.
RhB (Bernina line) - ABe 4/4 III 52 with regional to Tirano, arriving at Alp Grüm, 14-05-2012. 
RhB (Bernina line) - Ge 2/2 161 shunter, a veteran built in 1911. 
Poschiavo, 14-05-2012.
RhB (Bernina line) - De 2/2 151 shunter, another veteran (built 1909) at work at Poschiavo station.
Poschiavo, 14-05-2012.