• Swiss holiday 1987

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Benny
Being abundantly bored because of the quarantine, I take the opportunity to write a report about a summer vacation in Switzerland made more than thirty years ago, in 1987 when there were many older items in regular duty on the helvetic rails, with the hope that you can enjoy a little amusement in these difficult times.
As I cannot scan my negative films I put along the story various links to other images so you can have an idea about what I saw.
And now take a beer or a whisky on the rocks, seat in your armchair and read.

Switzerland was an expensive place for Italian people, especially low level workers, so some friends were used to go on holiday there as campers (and the first times used a Canadian tent handmade by one of them with transparent cellophane 😁😁😁) and that summer were joined by other characters of doubtful morality like me 😎. That morning, at the meeting point at the beginning of the motorway from Milan to the border, we were seven fools distributed on three cars charged as circus caravans πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.
As vacations are also useful to discover new places, instead of the direct route we took the Gotthard motorway until Airolo; from there the Bedretto valley and arrived at the nearly 2500 m. asl of the Nufenen pass that we never crossed before being a route of pretty local interest.
Down by the other side, we came to Ulrichen, on the Furka-Oberalp (FO), and followed on to Grengiols to make some shots at the viaduct of the same name.
https://www.bahnbilder.de/bilder/mgb-fo ... -50555.jpg
Finally arrived in Brig, we go wild between stations
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/imag ... vYmAeuWZbj
and depots
http://www.eingestellte-bahnen.ch/media ... ffffe6.jpg
(it was incredible the haste of the shunting movements, notably on the narrow gauge tracks, and without paranoias about safety) and then we looked for a camping and set up the tents.

The next day we began to work hard: moved to Visp, we took a look at the depot-workshop of the Brig-Visp-Zermatt (BVZ) railroad where the steam loco HG 2/3 7 was waiting for the next special service (and me, idiot, parked in a long staying area and had to waste five Swiss francs to open the automatic barrier🀐) and then followed the line until Tasch, limit for non-electric vehicles, taking a big lot of magnificent images also to the numerous freight trains hauled by the famous "BVZ crocodiles"
https://igschieneschweiz.startbilder.de ... ge-44.html
that supplied the ecological town of Zermatt.
Really every three steps there was a new shooting point and walking along the entire line should be well worth.
Note that the most important train, the world famous Glacier Express, was not hauled by a loco but by one of the articulated EMU ABDeh 8/8
https://igschieneschweiz.startbilder.de ... hn-im.html
that so offered seats to the people that embarked in Brig.
At Tasch we left cars and, after buying a very expensive ticket (but later we didn't regret a cent) hop on one of the very frequent shuttles to Zermatt and then took the train to the Gornergrat.
The Gornergratbahn (GGB) is a meter gauge cog (Abt system) railway wired at 750 v 50 Hz three phase that in a little more than 9 km climbs from the 1600 m asl of Zermatt to the the 3090 m of the upper station. To be frank, trains were ugly and spartan, little more than a tram, but line and landscape were really marvellous, in my opinion far better than the Jungfrau railway that runs mainly in tunnel. More, the driving cab of the GGB railcars occupy only an half of the front ends so we could enjoy the travel as good rail-diseased with an eye to line and the other to the work of the driver.
In that time there were only three types of railcars: the single ones Bhe 2/4
https://www.mediastorehouse.com/p/251/g ... 4.jpg.webp
the double ones Bhe 4/8
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/imag ... U&usqp=CAU
and, just put on duty, two complexes of railcar and driving trailer
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/imag ... U&usqp=CAU
whose motors can be used to push other vehicles instead of the very old small locos that we saw in the depot (and indeed we passed one of them with a ballast wagon at a crossing point).
Arrived at the top, with the magnificent scenery of the Matterhorn and the other peaks, we began to take photos and admire the landscape from the various belvedere but, after a little, I encountered myself surrounded by unknown people. Where were my crazy friends? After having turned around half an hour between station, hotel and viewing points I decided to return down to Zermatt and looked for them at the two stations (I knew my chickens...πŸ˜•) but, not finding them, returned to Tasch with the idea of waiting at the cars.
Arriving in the parking, I saw the six stupids quietly eating canned food so expressed, with a very polished language worthy of a poet, my modest opinion about them and the passed, present and future generations.
What happened? One of them felt bad on the top so they decided to go down but in the excitement they realised only half way that I was not with them. Ehhh, how the friends considered me.... ☹️☹️☹️
But all what ends well is good so the only negative thing was that I don't photographied the ABDeh 6/6 used on the shuttles (and I never succeeded in shooting them, damn.... 😠)
Anyway, we took other good images at the BVZ trains during the return journey, then a little of shopping for the dinner and back to the Brig camping.
And here happened a little funny episode: the twist-off cap is a bottle cap very similar to the crown one but that can be screwed and never has been used in Italy where is unknown. During the shopping I bought a six-pack of beer bottles and, dining with all friends around the table, opened one.
Immediately the thinnest between us, that don't knew the twist-off caps, popped his eyes like Marty Feldman and exclaimed "Wow, who are you? The incredible Hulk?" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Big general laugh and then go sleep.
(it will continue πŸ€—)

Ciao :wink:
  by NorthWest

Interesting tales. Stuff in Switzerland tends to have long lives; the older electrics were built to handle huge overloads, so they lasted quite a while.

Many of the first generation units made it until the 1990s.
  by Benny
Correct. I saw the last Ae 4/7 in regular service in 1996.

Ciao :wink:
  by Benny
In the morning of the third day we climbed on the trail that starts at the back of Brig station and follows the BLS line. Our intention was to photograph the viaducts on the southern ramp but, coming to Ausserberg station, the trail was closed because of a landslipπŸ˜•.
Anyway we found a little jem that consolated us: Te 2/3 32,
A small shunter that born in the twenties as a primordial railcar and in the fifties was amputated of the passenger accommodation😊. For many years it has been used by the infrastructure maintenance team based there.
Back in Brig, we took the cars and tried to arrive to the viaducts using other roads but, failing to find, went to Goppenstein snooping around the terminal for the car shuttles under the Lotschberg.
https://www.fotocommunity.de/photo/auto ... l/30055464
Down to the plain, we fired some bullets around Leuk (besides buying an excellent breadπŸ˜‹) and displaced ourselves to Martigny, from whose station branch out the Martigny-Orsieres (MO), a standard gauge single phase railroad that connects the two resorts of Orsieres and Le Chable
https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploa ... 726389.jpg
and the Martigny-Chatelard (MC), meter gauge railway with some stretches needing the Strub rack and electrified at 830 v DC partly by overhead wire and partly by third rail. The MC is also an international link: from Le Chatelard it follows on to Chamonix and Saint Gervais Les Bains feeded by third rail and managed by SNCFπŸ€“. Now there are direct trains but at the time of our visit the connections were made by a trailer passing from the Swiss train to the French oneπŸ™„.
https://live.staticflickr.com/746/32547 ... 9c07_b.jpg
We went forward in the woods to document the rack-and-pinion third rail duty (and one of us was nearly run over by the train due to a little subsidence😲😲😲) but then began raining so we refuged ourselves into the depot of Vernayaz, moreover changing point between pantograph and shoe. After all the rainstorm became helpful because the fairy depot personnel showed us the various historic vehicles (minimum 5 or 6) in excellent condition but that couldn't move because of the fault of federal transport office authorizations.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trams-lis ... 152171111/
Finished raining, we moved west and reached a little paradise for who, like me, adore the narrow gauge railroads: the little town of Aigle that, in front of the CFF station, hosts three very interesting small lines that, although managed by the local transport union, cannot exchange stock because, at the time, used different kinds of current and rack.
https://trains-ch.skyrock.mobi/photo.ht ... =703182784
But l'm running too much: after a set of shots in the station we found a camping (near a railroad and with look to another), mounted tents and then shower, dinner and bullshit at full speed.
What other amazing adventures will our heroes away? You will know in the next episode!

Ciao :wink:
  by Benny
The following day was entirely devoted to the three Aigle small lines and the neighbouring Bex-Villars-Bretaye (BVB), it too managed by Transports Publics du Chablais, with chasings, invasion of stations and depots, frightening of old ladies with doggy😲, teasing 🀣 and much, much funπŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†.
Below some information about the four railroads to help who don't know very well the area

The Aigle-Leysin (AL) is a meter gauge line wired at 1500 v DC that in little more than 6 km overcome a difference in altitude of more than 1000 m. It goes out the station northbound, runs on the streets through the town centre, cross the Grande Eau river and comes to the depot where trains reverse. From here the line climbs on the northern side of the valley using the Abt rack and running between the vineyards until the upper end of Leysin Grand Hotel; between Leysin Village and Versmont there are strangely 700 m
of double track.
In 1987 the service was in the hands of three 1946 railcars, BDeh 2/4 201-203
http://www.photorail.it/forum/index.php ... tach=80062
and two EMUs (motor and driving trailer) from the sixties, BDeh 4/4 301-302
https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca ... G_4047.JPG
All the stock was liveried in an elegant cream and maroon and the first and last trains moved supplies for the Leysin hotels using a flat wagon in front of the railcar.
In the depot, apart some maintenance vehicles, there was this one too, HGe 2/2 12
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/34987614456
that an old driver told us be still serviceable and be coming from the Righi line of Genoa (Italy) following the rebuilding of it as a funicular.

The Aigle-Le Sepey-Les Diablerets (ASD), meter gauge and 1500 v DC but without rack and pinion use, instead leave the station southbound, runs through the southern part of the town and arrives to its depot. From here makes a series of U turns around the Aigle castle and goes uphill on the southern side of the Grande Eau valley with gradients that can reach 6 %. After approximately 12 km from the start, the little train comes to the stop of Les planches from where, crossing on a road bridge the narrow valley, arrives at the station of Le Sepey.
Here trains reverse, cross again the bridge, switch manually the junction
http://www.photorail.it/forum/index.php ... ach=109263
and follow on in the higher part of the valley until the ski resort of Les Diablerets, after a total length of 23 km and a height difference of 700 m.
In that time the old railcars from the line opening, ABDe 4/4, were still on duty although in various liveries and used mainly for the early morning and evening trains (in the camping we recognised them because of the different "singing" of the traction equipment)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 615%29.jpg
but the main part of the service was in the hands of the four new railcars, BDe 4/4,
that had came just that year joint with some trailers after a line closure plan was averted.

Also the Aigle-Ollon-Monthey-Champery (AOMC), at the time electrified at 850 v DC and partly using Strub rack, exit southbound and follows the federal line for a while. Then makes an ample curve to serve Ollon, overpass the two standard gauge lines to the Leman lake and comes to Monthey, little town that in 1987 was still seat of the depot and where it had just opened a new, modern station.
After reversal, the trains face a long climbing, mainly using rack and pinion, and reach the winter sports resort of Champery after a little more than 23 km and a difference in altitude of 600 m.
The first part of the line is pretty plain and there is a frequent service that in that period was performed by a lot of second hand railcars (Be 4/4) and trailers without cogwheel coming from the Baselland transport system (BLT)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 651%29.jpg
Instead for the trains that ran the entire route were used the four BDeh 4/4 11-14 from the fifties
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6264087772
or the then new BDeh 4/4 1-2,
http://www.wittigbahn.ch/eisenbahnseite ... ygross.jpg
the same of the ASD but rack equipped.
To be noted that in a more recent past this railroad passed many big changes: in the first half of the 2000s a new big depot was opened south of Aigle and, more important, in 2016 the rack system was changed to the Abt type and the voltage was increased to 1500 v so all of the stock has been put out of service 😲😲😲 and substituted by new ones.

Last but not least, the Bex-Villars-Bretaye (BVB) that uses 700 v DC and is partly equipped with Abt rack; in its 17 km it climbs a difference in height of around 1400 m.
The railroad begins in front of Bex CFF station (and usually uses a track perpendicular to the building without any track end block, hope brakes are always in good condition) and crosses all the town on the main street even with stop and crossing loop in the small central square. And, saw with my eyes, cars that receded to give pass to the train 😲😲.
At the northern exit of the settlement, in a place named Bevieux, there is the main depot and begins a long ascent on a reserved path, generally on the side of the road and partly rack equipped, that lead to Villars, a climatic resort with a real station and a small depot.
After reversing, the line follows uphill using the rack between meadows and trees and comes to Col de Bretaye. Note, that between the last two places, the railroad is the sole connection because there are not direct roads so trains were used also to bring in supplies.
In the eighties the rail duties were so organized: a urban service between the federal station and Bevieux that used two small three-axle railcars (Be 2/3 15-16)
http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/BVB_1988/BVB ... 0001_b.jpg
(the urban service was discontinued at the beginning of the 2000s)
Bex-Villars runs, sometimes coinciding with another train to Bretaye and normally made by wartime railcars (BDeh 2/4 22-26} like the AL ones
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Rg486QMkD6g/R ... age0-3.jpg
and trains that ran the entire line, in the hands of the newest (at the time) BDeh 4/4 81-82
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trained_4 ... 0625697382
or push-pull trains made with the two HGe 4/4 31-32
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trams-lis ... 183630723/
Along the line we found some old two-axle tramcars used in private sidings and in Villars depot was parked a bogie tram with cut front end to which had been applied a large snowplough. More, inside the shed we found HGe 2/2 2 from 1900 that in winter was still used in case of heavy snow β›„β›„β›„
https://blonay-chamby.ch/wp-content/upl ... 100659.jpg
Today this old jewel is deservedly part of the Blonay-Chamby museum railway collection.

At the end of the day, tired but excited for the excellent booty, we made a little of shopping and then returned to the camping.
And, if I well remember, it has been that evening, in an Aigle supermarket, that I discovered one of my passions, that later I bought every time went in Mitteleurope: canned herrings in mustard sauce. Gooood! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

Don't think you can get away with it: continue!

Ciao :wink:
  by Benny
The fifth day was Sunday but it resulted alike a busy day.
After breakfast (there was someone that cannot renounce to his milk and coffee but then, sometimes, had to "fly" to the bathroom πŸ€”) we moved to Montreux, city that, only walking through, showed luxury and wealth😎 and endowed with a nice and monumental station from where start also the lines of the MOB to Zweisimmen and the cog one to Rochers de Naye.
https://notrehistoire.imgix.net/photos/ ... d751eac795

Montreux-Oberland Bernois (MOB) is a meter gauge railroad that uses 900 v DC in simple adherence and is world famous for its Panoramic Express tourist trains. Between station and depot we found a lot of very interesting items, between them two of the marvellous Pullman coaches built in the "belle epoque" for the Golden Mountain Pullman Express (four of which later sold to the Rhetian Railroad RhB) 😍😍😍
and the Be 4/4 1001 coming from the defunct Lugano-Cadro-Dino, one of the many closed railroads in Ticino canton.

The Montreux-Glion-Rocher de Naye (MGN) is a 800 mm gauge, 850 v DC cog railroad entirely equipped with Abt rack that begins in a cramped tunnel terminal so we only documented the stock on use that in 1987 was : the wartime railcars Bhe 2/4 201β€”208
http://www.passion-metrique.net/forums/ ... CN2667.JPG
and the then new double railcars, like the Monte Generoso ones, Bhe 4/8 301-303
https://www.bahnbilder.de/bild/Schweiz~ ... he-48.html
In the following years there would have been other opportunities to better know this smart line.

From Montreux we went to Chamby to visit the famous Blonay-Chamby and, after the tickets, wait the steam train on duty that day, hauled by G 3/3 6 coming from the BAM,
https://blonay-chamby.ch/wp-content/upl ... hapuis.jpg
that took us to Blonay offering too a pair of stops at good shooting places (in only four km😲) and that, in the return journey, left us at the Chaulin depot.
After an orgy of meter gauge vehicles (in which I blessed the moment I decided to buy the wide-angle lens) we moved to Bouveret, on the southern shore of the Leman, where a railfan association, joint with a local firm, managed the "Rive Bleue Express", a steam train with a coffee pot and some two-axle coaches that ran between there and Saint Gingolph, on the border with France (the follow on to Evian was closed)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/train-pix ... hotostream
Made a journey with the toy train and some photos, we stayed a little in a nearby park equipped with a busy track circuit for live-steam models and then returned around Aigle to follow firing the four local lines ( e. g. something like this one😎😎😎)
https://www.rail-pictures.com/bild/swit ... eysin.html
until the sundown.
Then, as usual, shower, dinner, abundant shooting of stupidities and finally everyone to sleep, that the following day we had to disassemble the tents.

How will be the next destination of the seven train-hunter dorks?
Surely you will say "I don't care"😩 but I'm sadistic 😈and soon I will serve you another chapter.

Ciao :wink:
  by David Benton
Great stuff ,Benny.
And here i thought Switzerland had never been invaded.
  by Benny
Monday morning we packed up and went to Vevey where we took some shots of the Chemins de fer Electriques Veveysans (CEV), a small meter gauge 900 v DC railroad that connects NestlΓ©-city with Blonay (the line to Chamby too was originally part of the CEV) and from here, using the Strub rack, reach the holiday resort of Les Pleiades.
The sole kind of railcars on duty was the BDeh 2/4 71-75 from 1970 and their driving trailers
http://www.tramsandtrains.de/fotos/schw ... 200368.jpg
but in the depot we found two of the old railcars from the line opening. Some years later one of them has been restored as historic vehicle whereas the 1970 cars have been rebuilt in a suppository shape😝.

From Vevey we moved to Echallens to know the LEB (Lausanne-Echallens-Bercher), a meter gauge simple adherence railroad wired at 1500 v DC that in 23 km connects the Vaud capital with the agricultural area behind it and that was assuming an important role in the commuters traffic.
Echallens was the seat of the depot so we found all the types of stock normally on use: the Bde 4/4 21-25 from 1935,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trams-lis ... hotostream
the two Be 4/4 26-27 and their driving trailers from 1966
https://www.bahnbilder.de/bilder/vorsch ... hweiz.webp
and the three modern "cans" Be 4/4 30, 32 and 34 with their trailers (later renumbered Be 4/8 30-32)
More, the polite staff showed us the steam loco G 3/3 8 that, reinstated for the line centennial, was used for special trains.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trams-lis ... hotostream

Satiated with this line, we transferred ourselves to the Biere-Apples-Morges (BAM), another railroad that lies the lake of Geneva with the agricultural interior.
From the federal station of Morges, on the fundamental that runs along the Leman, this metric line electrified at 15000 v single phase heads north until Apples, branching station with the building inside the fork where we made a splendid photo with all the tracks occupied and from which depart two ramifications to L'Isle and Biere.
This latter town, apart the name very interesting under the August sun (Biere in French language means beer🍻🍻🍻), generates a big amount of traffic because is the seat of an important army training center served by a dedicated siding and trains of armoured tanks on standard gauge wagons charged on narrow gauge transporters are not so infrequent😲😲😲.
The bucolic landscape and the sunny day offered us many nice shots but the most typical image of this railroad surely was the one at Vufflens, with the train that runs in front of the castle (that seems taken from a tale)
http://www.photorail.it/forum/index.php ... ach=107312
where moreover we had a lunch on a strategic park bench that permitted us taking various photos without the need of standing up😎😎😎.
Apart the three modern Be 4/4 11-14 (13 was renumbered 14 because of superstition)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trams-lis ... hotostream
we found in service also some veterans (1943) of the class BDe 4/4 1-5
http://www.cgn02.ch/ferphoto/ImagesFer/ ... iere_1.jpg
that were rightly punished 😁.
Next stop Nyon for the Nyon-Saint Cergue-Morez (NSTCM), a meter gauge railroad at 1500 v DC that until the 50s was an international link (Morez is in France) and that in 1987 still departed from a street terminal in front of the CFF station.
It climbs on the hills to the northwest (not our friend 😁) until the Col de la Givrine and then descend until the French border at La Cure where it was amputated.
The service was unfortunately yet in the hands of the five new railcars like the AL ones, moreover with an unpleasant red and orange livery
https://histoireferroviaire.files.wordp ... nstcm3.jpg
but luckily we found, at the Les Plantaz depot and in the Saint Cergue Shed, two of the original railcars from the 10s
retained as historical items; at La Cure station there was a third one waiting to be transferred to the Chemin de fer de La Mure (F).
Anyway we followed the entire line taking very nice images and then moved to Yverdon where, after some shots to the then ubiquitous Ae 4/7 😎😎😎
https://modellbahnen.cadosch.org/cms/h0 ... rig&id=285
we found a camping on the lake shore to pass the night.

See you tomorrow 😴😴😴😴

Ciao :wink:
  by bellstbarn
What is the Abt system? Thanks.
  by Benny
In the railway field there are four kinds of rack and pinion systems (at least as far as I know).
The Strub system is the classic one with a central toothed rail in which engages a simple pinion as shown here:
http://www.scartamentometrico.com/Corpo ... g_0002.jpg

The Abt system is effectively a double Strub with two toothed rails together but staggered on which engages a double pinion.
This system born to avoid moments of low "grip" when the pinion is leaving a tooth of the rail and engaging another one.
http://www.scartamentometrico.com/Corpo ... g_0001.jpg

The Riggenbach system instead uses a structure composed by two
vertical plates connected by horizontal pegs in which engages a pinion with longer and stronger tooths. The advantage of this system is that it's stronger than the previous ones and is possible to change the single worn pegs instead of the complete rack.
http://www.scartamentometrico.com/Corpo ... g_0004.jpg

The last is named Locher and uses two vertical axis pinions that engage on an horizontal rail with tooths on the two sides
http://www.scartamentometrico.com/Corpo ... g_0003.jpg
This system is used only on the Pilatus railroad, in Switzerland, that is the steepest cog railway in the world.

Many thanks to Paolo and Roberto Sacca`, owners of the "scartamento metrico" site devoted to the meter gauge.

Ciao :wink:
  by Benny
In the morning of the seventh day we explored the Yverdon-Sainte Croix (YStC), metric railroad feeded with 15000 v single phase as the federal railways that starts from a couple of dead end tracks in the CFF station and climbs on the Jura mountains through a scarcely populated woodland until the town of Sainte Croix, famous for the musical boxes production.
Of the railcars dating from the line wiring (1945), at the time of our visit only Be 4/4 4 and 5 were retained and regularly on duty
Instead the smaller ABe 2/4 11 and 12
were always in the depot (just outside the station) waiting an improbable reserve call also because few years before entered service three new railcars, Be 4/4 1-3, the same of the BAM with the related driving trailers.
The railroad had also a decent freight traffic, using rollbocks too, and so, in 1950, was built the Ge 4/4 21 loco
http://www.passion-metrique.net/forums/ ... ge_id=1768
that we had the big luck of meeting with a short freight train on the descent between Six Fontaines and Baulmes and that, using the traction equipment in braking mode, was so loud in the relative silence that we heard it ten minutes before it appeared 😲😲😲.

From Sainte Croix we moved to Neuchatel where our target was the tramway to Boudry.
Compared to a visit few years earlier, the tramway no longer made the ring around Place Pury, it had been slightly retreated and modernized becoming similar to a light metro with the service done by state-of-the-art compositions of motor and trailer
(that moreover were put out of duty in October 2019) but during peak hours and in the early morning and evening runs were still used two of the three Swiss standard trams (the only bidirectional ones) coming from the urban service after the closing of the last tram line (1976)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/trams-lis ... hotostream
and above all the real scope of our visit: the four articulated tramcars built by Breda in 1942 for the Genoa tramways and passed to Neuchatel in 1967 when the italian city shut down the tram network.
http://www.eingestellte-bahnen.ch/media ... ffffe6.jpg
We found two units in daily use at Neuchatel depot, one of them outside and in perfect light😎😎😎,
together with one of the standards; instead the other two ones joint with the other standard and a "seal with mustaches", an old tank tramcar used for street watering😲,
were available at Boudry depot.
We were lucky because that year had been the last one for the cream tramcars: in 1988 they were sidelined and demolitions started.
A little anecdote: when we were in Neuchatel depot, the technicians were working on the pantograph of a modern unit and, achieved the tuning, they merrily went on a test run with one of them quietly seated on the top of the railcar to check the pantograph behaviour forgetting all safety norms😲😲😲😲.

After some shots at BLS and CFF stock (like the Ae3/6' 😎😎😎)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurbelwel ... 2d-2hAMn6u
we went to Laupen, seat of the depot of the Sensetalbahn (STB), an unfortunate standard gauge railroad that connected Gummenen, on the Bern-Neuchatel with Flamatt on the Bern-Fribourg and that always had budget problems.
When we visited it the rolling stock were four very old railcars: BDe 2/4 101
http://www.eingestellte-bahnen.ch/media ... ffffe7.jpg
and Be 4/4 107
http://www.eingestellte-bahnen.ch/media ... ffffe7.jpg
from the Sudostbahn and the BDe 4/6 102-3
https://www.bahnbilder.de/bilder/vorsch ... tellt.webp
coming from BLS, all more or less in good condition but older than Sophia Loren. In the depot area were also parked two steam locomotives property of a railfans association.
Few years later, with patronage under the heels and a connected factory that reduced activity, the Laupen-Gummenen stretch had been closed πŸ˜”πŸ˜”πŸ˜” and the SBB local trains Bern-Flamatt prolonged until Laupen.
As a curiosity, before arriving at Gummenen the STB track underpassed the spectacular Saane viaduct on the BN
but it was virtually impossible to photograph the two trains.

With a bitter taste in the mouth because of the dying railroad we headed south and, after some shots in Schwarzenburg, arrived at Zweisimmen, famous tourist resort as well as end of the MOB line from Montreux, of the branch from Lenk alike managed by MOB and of the Spiez-Erlenbach-Zweisimmen (SEZ), a standard gauge railroad part of the BLS group.
https://www.x-rail.ch/MOB/Streckennetz/ ... en-009.jpg
If the standard gauge gauge stock was not really interesting (the classic shuttles with Re 4/4),
https://www.flickr.com/photos/113971525 ... aY-23PrCio
there were instead various preys on the narrow tracks as the FZe 6/6 2002 😎😎😎
https://blonay-chamby.ch/wp-content/upl ... 338-JC.jpg
the double railcars ABDe 8/8 😍😍😍
https://www.flickr.com/photos/eisenbahn ... hotostream
and the robust compositions of locomotive and coaches
One of the most interesting operations to watch was the shunting of the MOB coach rakes: the loco had to push the convoy on the steep slope just after the last point. After braking the coaches, the loco receded to a dead end track and then the coaches descended by gravity with the braking regulated by the shunting men 😲😲😲.
At the sundown we found a nice campsite inside a wood at Weissenburg and, as it was preparing a rainy storm, set up the tents in something like three and a half minutes πŸ€—.
Luckily the storm was violent but short and after half an hour we were preparing a good dinner followed by the classic big amount of bullshit before lie down for the last night of holiday 😴.

Ciao :wink:
  by bellstbarn
Thank you for the explanation of the four kinds of rack and pinion systems. It is understandable that no system should allow the train to slip backward.
My Swiss experience is limited to four days traveling out of Lausanne in 1983. My wife and I were on an economy bus tour from Vienna to Utrecht where the operator engaged hotels at the last minute as the firm found gluts of empty rooms. That gave us four delightful and memorable days in Lausanne, and on one of them we rode by train to Montreux and then high up to Rochers de Naye. Your descriptions make me yearn for more travel, but age now limits me. I much appreciate this thread on railroad.net.
  by Benny
The last day too was well busy: even before getting rid of our odd and ends we fired a BLS train just outside of the campsite 😁and then direct to Spiez, main base of that company.
Two words about Bern-Lotschberg-Simplon (BLS) railroad: this is the biggest Swiss operator after the state owned SBB/CFF and in 1987, apart the lines from Bern to Brig and Spiez-Interlaken, was also the owner of other companies: the Bern-Neuchatel (BN), the Gurbetalbahn Bern-Schwarzenburg (GBS) and the Spiez-Erlenbach-Zweisimmen (SEZ), each one with its proper rolling stock but managed in a common pool with the BLS one. Few years later these companies were absorbed in the main one and in 2006 also the Regionalvehrker Mittelland (RM), another big network, has been inglobated on it.
Anyway, at the time there was still a good amount of old stock and we sweeped up with all the preys that were offered us between station and depot like the articulated railcars,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/fototak/6 ... cRH-xYypi8
the double locomotives Ae8/8,
http://bahnbilder-von-max.ch/pictures-l ... x01113.jpg
The Ae 6/8s (between them the Breda built 203)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/26652907586
and the Ce 4/4s on light freight trains
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... B74-E6VZbD

Well killed the BLS stock, we moved to Interlaken Ost station, another narrow gauge paradise, and began to make working the cameras on the Brunig line stock (at the time managed by SBB) This one is a meter gauge railroad, wired at 15000 v single phase, that connects Luzern with Interlaken through the Brunig pass using the Riggenbach rack in the steepest part. It was the sole federal narrow gauge line but in 2005 merged with the Luzern-Stans-Engelberg (LSE), that shared part of the route, and became Zentralbahn. In 1987 the sole kind of motors that arrived at Interlaken were the van railcars of the class Deh 4/6.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/johannes- ... 4043137237
But there were other "small trains", the ones of Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB), another meter gauge railroad feeded at 1500 v DC that heads south until Zweilutschinen where there is the depot and divides in two branches to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen using in some stretches the Riggenbach system.
https://www.bahnbilder.de/bilder/vorsch ... -1984.webp
To be noted that the two branch ends are connected by the Wengernalpbahn (WAB), another mountain railway.

The first BOB station is Wilderswil, starting point of the Schinige Platte Bahn (SPB), a small railroad using 800 mm gauge and 1500 v DC completely at artificial adherence with Riggenbach rack that in a little more than 7 km and an height difference of 1400 m reach a panoramic point and a botanic garden dedicated to high mountain flowers at nearly 2000 m.
Still today the sole traction items are some small locomotives from 1914 😲 that push (or brake) a couple of coaches.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bahnfanch ... hotostream
There is only summer service and in autumn the wires of the higher part of the line are disassembled because of the risk of avalanches using a steam locomotive dating from the opening of the line 😲😲 that also makes some special runs during the season.
https://www.railpictures.net/showimage. ... ey=5951183
After the photos in the station we reached a small park/panoramic point along the line that I discovered in a previous visit where it was possible to take good shots from some benches that seemed purpose put there and where I savoured the the best rhubarb tart I ever eat thanks to a provident stop in an Interlaken bakery.

Then we took the road on the northern shore of the Brienz lake and came to the homonymous town where, on the side of the Brunig line station, there is the terminal of the world famous Brienz-Rothorn Bahn (BRB), a non electrified 800 mm pure rack railroad that uses the Abt system and whose motive power is almost completely composed of steam locomotives (five from the end of the nineteenth century, two from the 30s and the others from the 90s)
https://www.jonathan-cartu.cc/wp-conten ... taking.jpg
Here too there is only summer service.
After some shots on the lower part of the line and in the station, we were delighted by the arrival, docking and departure of the "Lotschberg" steamer 😍😍😍, property of BLS that manages the shipping services on the lake.

Following on, we arrived at Meiringen, the most important station of the Brunig line (and birthplace of the meringue πŸ˜‹) , where trains reverse and go uphill sometimes hauled, in that time, by the two HGe 4/4'
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurbelwel ... hotostream

In front of the Brunig tracks there was the platform of the Meiringen-Innertkirchen Bahn, a small meter gauge railroad wired at 1200 v DC that born as industrial railway for the local hidroelectric company, which still owns it, and that served mainly the staff of the power plant and Innertkirchen people (some years later it had been developed the tourist service to the spectacular Aare gorges).
In the 80s the sole stock were two tramcars coming from Mannheim to which had been added a generator to be able to move out of the wires in the plant premises and classified Bem 4/4 6 and 7
https://www.flickr.com/photos/fototak/1 ... u3S-xAm1pU

Those were the last shots but we still had to enjoy the return journey: we took the road to Grimsel Pass (2165 m) and then went down to Gletsch to visit the Rhone glacier. From there, up to the Furka Pass (2453 m) and down to Hospental from where we climbed on the Gotthard Pass (2109 m) where we made a break with the classic bratwurst with onion sauce and abundant fried potatoes. πŸ˜‹πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜‹πŸ˜Ž
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EJimNjx5Hw4/U ... 40/SM6.JPG
Then, down to Airolo and the motorway to Milan: now the holiday was really over, we had to unload the poor cars and, in the next days, the most boring part: develop the rolls and classify the abundant loot.
On those railroads and on nearly all the other helvetic lines we returned in various occasions, in camping or in "gasthof" but that holiday remained in our minds.
Ah, do you want to see who were the seven dorks?
Here we are, the last day inside the the Rhone glacier.
http://www.photorail.it/forum/index.php ... ach=107324
(I am the third one of the first line 😁)

Hope I helped you to enjoy and spend a little of time. And hope I gave some information to who knows not perfectly the world of Swiss secondary railroads.
Personally I enjoyed very much remembering that tour.

Ciao :wink: