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OVERSEAS VISIT REPORTS

Sweden to USA

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SWEDEN

Howard Forster July 2009.

Sweden
015 Nynas Store, Gavle. SWB Jvg 0-2-2 Railmotor /1892. 04/09/09

Photo by Howard Forster


Sweden
Nynas Store, Gavle. ELFKARLEO BRUK 1 0-4-0WT HH /1872. 04/04/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Sweden
Nynas Store, Gavle. SJ W 1229 0-4-4T NH 1045/14. 04/09/09

Photo by Howard Forster


Sweden
Gavle Museum. SJ A 1001 4-4-2 Mot 378/07. 04/09/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Sweden
Borlange Depot. GC Rc1 1007 the oldest member of the class dating from 1967, awaits its next duty on the hump. 04/09/09

Photo by Howard Forster


Sweden
Borlange. Rc1 1007 dating from 1967, propels wagons over the hump. 04/09/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Sweden
Kristinehamn. SJ Ra 847 Bo-Bo, was parked for the weekend with some other interesting locos. 05/09/09

Photo by Howard Forster


Sweden
Hagalund Depot. SJ F 701 1Do1 which had been used on summer excursions, was stabled with its set of preserved coaches. 06/09/09

Photo by Howard Forster



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SWITZERLAND


Visit Report. Allan Baxter reporting.
Friday 19/09/14. At St. Pancras train 9116 at 08.58 to Brussels was called at 08.36 and was set 373.205/6 leaving from platform 10. Transit of tunnel took 19 minutes. Occupants of Lille Fives yard included BB 66115, two BB 25500 and a Y. Some of the new Eurostar stock was in view at Forest depot and 374.002 was identifiable. Arrival at Brussels Midi was on time at 1205. I was spending one night in Namur and the 1233 Luxembourg was formed of sets 515/505. Before we left I noted an absence of standard 2-car emus, although there were certainly some on my return later on. There was slow running for some of the distance because of on-going works out as far as Ottignies. I was booked into the Grand Hotel de Flandres opposite Namur Station and after depositing my luggage I came back to Platforms 4/5 to observe the on-goings. Not long after my return Akiem 186s 186/184 came through at the head of a westbound freight service. Freight quantities were not enormous and were Class 13/CFL Class 3000 in the main. There were two Class 28 interlopers 2822 and 2828 and no SNCF BB36000. On the passenger side EC97 Brussels to Basel turned up 75 min late with 1348 as traction. EC90 may have appeared while I was away having my evening meal and EC96 was absent at 2140. The two Brussels-Liege/Dinant which are loco-hauled produced 1893(fore) and 1824(aft) at 1718 and 1890 and 1823 an hour later. There were more of the new 08 units about this year than last and one peak-hour service to Jemelle was formed of 08546/557/552. There were therefore fewer standard two-car sets seen, half of them being from the refurbished CityRail batch 961-999. The 800 quads have a regular hourly run through Namur to Jambes, some of them are in woebegone condition and surely must be on borrowed time. What will replace them? It must be noted that the Break sets are also 30+years old, they were originally delivered as two-car sets until someone had the idea of adding a centre car to them. Although some of them have been repainted, most have not and look distinctly scruffy.

Saturday 20/09/14: I was on my way to Chur, first of all in EC91 at 0841 to Basel. This arrived on time at Namur behind 1347, and was formed of six SNCB vehicles, that for 1st Class being compartment stock. We had right hand running soon after leaving Namur, and there were two other lengths of 2-way working also on the Brussels-bound track later on. There were 2 NL6400 locos at Jemelle in red livery with DB logos, of which one was identified as 6513. 08578 was waiting for custom at Libramont, this is one of the latest of the class which should now be all in traffic by early next year. 2001 was at Stockem with standard emu 204 and some other objects. BB26165 was waiting for us at Luxembourg where there is now a 24 minute hiatus before continuing towards France (previously 10min). Some of the new KISS Class 2300 emus were on Luxembourg depot.
Thionville was unusually short of locos parked outside the depot, but 16549 was at the south end of the yard where it has been ever since its withdrawal. We ran on the freight lines past Hagondange before crossing over at Woippy station. A new bimode B83547 was at Strasbourg, and there was a line of 67400 on the depot there, including 67591/510/521, whether in working order or withdrawn it was impossible to tell. A Duplex TGV numbered 292 was at Mulhouse, as that series ends at 289 would this be a renumbering? It didn't appear to be a new set. There was a freight in St. Louis yard headed by CargoServ locos 186 312/304 and we arrived in Basel more or less on time at 1438, nearly six hours in an SNCB compartment vehicle. I think I preferred the SBB International stock which was previously used!
The Basel-Chur service was recast at the last time-table change and many services go no further than Zürich involving a change there. This includes many of the xx33 departures some of which are TGVs running through from Paris. The former semi-fasts at xx47 only run to Zürich. The first available train was at 1507 to Zürich and was ICE1 set 401 088 from Berlin running the wrong way round. This treated us to a non-stop run via Rheinfelden and Brugg, as the normal route via Aarau was being dug up. It ran into Zürich HB at Platform 9 and at the other side of the same platform was one of the new services which have been put on to Zürich-Chur leaving at 7 minutes past the even hour only, and running fast to Sargans and then Landquart. At the next platform was the 1612 departure to Chur, the revised semi-fast formed of Class 511 six-car emu 511 037 which SBB have agreed is not ideal for this service but are keeping them on it for now rather than increasing station dwell-times with loco and coaches.
The train to Chur was single-deck stock with 11149 at the head. and a peaceful journey into the Graubunden region was enjoyed, arrival into Chur being on time at 1722. My base for the next four nights was the Freieck Hotel, my normal haunt.

Sunday 21/09/14. The timetable change in December 2013 resulted in Chur losing both its EC services to/from Hamburg. There is an EC206 at 1108 off Chur but I suspect it goes no further than Basel (see a later part of my correspondence).
Other changes include the IC to Basel (5 times changes in Zürich to TGV services necessary), the RE to St. Gallen and the RE (downgraded from IR) to Zürich now squeezed into 8 minutes, the St. Gallen running between the two services to Zürich. In the inbound direction the RE from Zürich arrives first at xx43, followed five minutes later by the St. Gallen, and finally the IC gets in at xx52. There is an additional IC to/from Zürich in alternate hours which leaves Chur at xx38 and arrives at xx22. The Regio to Ziegelbrucke is now Thurbo-operated, runs every 30 min and goes only as far as Sargans.
I was intending doing some tram routes in Zürich, and decided to take the RE to St. Gallen at 0912, which was formed of 511 018, and left four minutes after 460 070 with its DD stock had left with the IC to Zürich. The RE to Zürich followed with 511 027. The St. Gallen arrived in Landquart at Platform 4 just as the Zürich was leaving from Platform 3. Maienfeld is no longer a stop made by the St. Gallen and later Rheineck and St. Fiden also received the go-by. There were 3 OBB 1116s, 184/110/131, on shed at Buchs, and an assortment of SBB motive power in the yard. The St. Gallen-bound no longer crosses the Chur train at Buchs but instead at Alstatten where 511 014 was waiting to go on to Chur. 185 086 was at St. Margrethen and 4024 034 was forming a local to Bregenz.
St. Gallen now has its own S-Bahn service operated mostly by Thurbo sets (526 802 was the highest-numbered I saw), and the Voralpen Express from Luzern now goes no further than St. Gallen, but there is a regular S-Bahn service on to Romanshorn.
Line S4 is operated by the SOB and is a circular route heading east from St. Gallen to Buchs and Sargans where it then follows the Zürich main line to Ziegelbrucke, before branching off to Uznach. It reverses here and returns to St. Gallen via the Ricken Tunnel and Herisau. Another service does this circuit in the opposite direction. Motive power is the four-car Flirt sets 526 041-063.
It was ICN set 500 021 to Zürich running via the Flughafen and passing over several realigned junctions in the Flughafen-Oerlikon area. We got to Zürich HB and I had a quick look at the new underground part of the station Platforms 31-34 which is used by S2 Effretikon to Ziegelbrucke, S8 Winterthur to Pffafikon and the terminating service S14 to/from Hinwil, thus freeing up some space in the main part of the HB. I then had a run on tram-line 3 in the middle of a tremendous thunderstorm and the tracks were completely flooded but the trams continued to run although there were messages at all the stops indicating that the trams were not necessarily running to schedule. I than took the 7 from the HB, this climbs some hills and also has a strange underground section with left-hand running before emerging into the open and running on to the terminus at Stettbach. By this time the sun was out again and I went down into Stettbach station to get a train back to the HB. Stettbach is at the northern end of the Zürichberg tunnel and 450 089 soon arrived to make the run through the tunnel and stopping at Stadelhofen before arriving in the original bit of underground platform at the HB.
To return to Chur I decided to sample the RE service at 1712 and see whether it had any differences in its stopping pattern from the previous IR service. It was formed of 511 030 and having called at Thalwil, Wadenswil and Pfaffikon as normal it then made a stop at Siebnen-Wangen which is before Ziegelbrucke. A stop was also made at Walenstadt, at the end of the Walensee, and then beyond Sargans Bad Ragaz was missed out. Arrival back in Chur was at 1843.

Monday 22/09/14. It was off to Tirano today, but as usual by normal service trains. The five single voltage RhB Allegras 3101-3105 are now all in service and are working the S-Bahn trains around Chur. 3510 took out the Bernina Express at 0832, and I followed in the 0858 RE to St. Moritz as far as Samedan which was headed by 650. The first part of this run, as far as the Ems Werk chemical plant, has dual gauge on the left-hand track and 11360 was waiting to pick up a freight from the sidings at this location.
There was a landslip causing a derailment between Solis bridge and Tiefencastel on 13 August in a location remote from any road, but despite that trains were running again on 16 August. Samedan was busy with traffic as usual and 632 was waiting with a connection along to Pontresina where 3503 was at the head of six vehicles of a service on to Tirano, which was busy as usual. However some people decamped at Morteratch and more folk came out at Poschiavo after the wonderful descent from Alp Grum into the valley in fine weather. 3514 was in the loop at Brusio, at the head of some empty panoramic stock, waiting to follow us down the valley to Tirano, probably the stock of one of the other versions of the Bernina Express which had been parked up in the sidings at Poschiavo. We arrived in Tirano on time and a quick visit to the FS station revealed E652.045 on freight and a D245 busily shunting the yard. A local service to Sondrio, operated by Trenord, was three-car emu ALe 562.052.
After a bite of lunch at the Ai Portici restaurant, a busy place, I returned to the RhB station to sit in the sunshine and watch trains being reformed for outward bound services. As push-pull working is not employed the Allegras or the 51-56 series of railcars have to run around their vehicles and there is not a great deal of space for this to be achieved. The return journey was headed by 51/55 of the old order, and during the return 52/54 and 53/56 were also helping out the Allegras, but again 801 and 802 were not seen. Have they been withdrawn? We shall find out from the new Platform 5 Swiss book which is currently in production (and will certainly be out before Germany Part 2!). 632 was again the connection from Pontresina, forming a service to Scuol-Tarasp, and 647 appeared at Samedan forming the next service from St. Moritz back to Chur. The run back to the Graubunden capital in the late afternoon sunlight was enjoyable as ever. Back at Chur the Freieck Hotels restaurant was closed and I was sent up to the Marsoel restaurant for my evening eats. A grand day out.

Tuesday 23/09/2014. Normally I would have gone to Weil-am-Rhein to have a look at some freight but there was engineering work happening on the line into Germany and as a result there were no trains serving Weil. I decided instead on a look in at Olten and then on to Basel.
511 018 was at the head of the 0816 to Zürich. This is one of the sets which are found on Zürich S-Bahn S12 (Brugg-Winterthur Seen) but are identical to the later members of the class. I got out at Pfaffikon to go to Luzern with the Voralpen Express and so had a 40 minute wait for the next one. In the interim the eastbound Voralpen appeared headed by SOB 446 015 and tailed by 446 016. These are two of the original SBB Re4/4iv numbered 10101/2 which were sold to SOB in the early 1990s in exchange for the SOB Re4/4iii, and underwent several renumberings before acquiring their present numbers. The westbound Voralpen was topped by SOB 456 096 and tailed by 456 091, two of the former BT units. There is a tremendous climb at 1 in 20 away from the lakeside up to Biberbrugg and this is matched by the 1 in 20 down to Arth-Goldau with the Gotthard mountains in the background, a wonderful sight. A BLS oldie, 205, was outside the shed at Arth Goldau. Beyond Immensee we turned left and entered Luzern via the lakeside line and we passed Kolibri type SOB 561 083 at the head of another Voralpen rake. We arrived in Luzern and the BLS Kambly Biscuits set with 465 004 and matching Mark 3 vehicles was at the other side of the platform with a revice for Bern via Langnau. After a bowl of soup in the downstairs cafe I caught an RE for Olten with 523 036. This is always a very busy line and several freights were waiting to join it, including two headed by 11642 and 11625. The preserved Ae6/6, red-liveried 11418, was at Dagmersellen where it has been since withdrawal. We terminated in Platform 11 at Olten and I had an hour or so watching the traffic. Olten is a different place without the Ae6/6s and their work is now done by Re4/4 and Re6/6. Olten is rarely still and there was always something arriving or departing. A double-headed container train bound for the Lotschberg had Crossrail 185 597/576 for motive power and then came the prisoner transfer with a single vehicle labelled Securitas pushed by 540 034, the only one of this class I saw in the holiday. I went on to Basel inside 521 015 on an S3 service and noted several double-headed freights waiting to leave Muttenz yard, 185 098/113, 185 114/112 and Re482 014/008. My reason for visiting Basel was to see whether the extension of tram line 8 to Weil has happened, but it hasn't. Anyone know why not?. The is talk of the BVB (green) amalgamating with the BLT (yellow with red band) to form a single company. The BLT which runs the 10 and 11 to places outside the city boundary such as Aesch, is taking delivery of some new 6-section Tango trams and 169 was the highest number I saw. The BVB has not had any new trams since 2001 when the 300 series on the 6 and 8 were delivered.
I returned to Chur on the 1633 service which is a through train and was formed of DD stock with 460 024. I noted on the way a new 523 numbered 063 at Lenzburg, and a double Railjet set passed between Wadenswil and Pfaffikon.

Wednesday 24/09/14. Chur was over for another year and I was now moving on to my next resort, Brig, for two nights. A trip on the Glacier Express was in prospect. Before that particular service arrived I sat in the sunshine and watched the passing traffic. Now that all the Allegras are in traffic the former railcars of series 511-516 are no longer about, although 514 and its stock had been seen at Landquart and is presumably reserve stock for the Chur S-Bahn services. There was a departure at 1108 where the announcements, and indeed the departure board, indicated that the train was for Hamburg, however the stock was a standard rake of DD which is not passed for working into Germany and so passengers expecting to go to Freiburg, Mannheim and Köln etc would have had to change at Basel. The Glacier Express was attached to one of the hourly St. Moritz trains when it arrived in Platform 10. Usually it runs separately from St. Moritz, and after the normal stock was separated 626 came on at the other end of the train to take the 6 vehicles on to Disentis. It was a full train and we went away in beautiful weather. I have been lucky with the weather on the Chur-Brig run over the years. MGB101 was waiting for us at Disentis, the first scheduled stop and then the next stop was at Andermatt but we had to pull into passing loops on occasions to await on-coming trains. The Glacier Express is treated no differently from a stopper, if it is first to arrive at a loop then it has to go inside and wait! Beyond Andermatt there were two scheduled stops, at Oberwald and Fiesch, for setting-down purposes only, but nobody wanted to get off and so we rattled through these places without stopping. Arrival at Brig was on time and I removed myself and my luggage to the Hotel Europe which is on the far side of the narrow gauge platforms from the SBB station. After depositing my luggage I came back to Brig SBB Platform 9 to observe the traffic. On the way I noted that MGB have taken delivery of emus 2023-2026 in the last twelve months and they work the hourly stoppers to Zermatt. The hourly services to Domodossola were push-pull worked by 11118 and 11154. Some additional Kolibri sets have been added to Class 560 4xx and 415 was recorded on a stopping service to Sion. Freight was a mixture of SBB, BLS and Crossrail, and it was noted that the last-mentioned was using the old line via Kandersteg. 186 596/592 came down the 1 in 37 with a container train and 186 901/903 went the other way with a service for Germany. Eventually I felt in need of food, and the Channa Brig restaurant, in Furkastrasse about 10min walk from the station, satisfied my requirements. A good glass of Dole, the local red, the grapes for which are grown in the Valais, washed everything down quite nicely.

Thursday 25/09/14. Today I was going up to Zermatt to see if the Matterhorn was coming out to play.
There is an hourly service from Brig at xx52 calling at all stations to Zermatt, and the 0852 was formed of emus 2011/2. These services are a mixture of emus and loco-hauled push-pull stock. It takes about 75 minutes to do the 27 miles to Zermatt and I decided not to go on to the Gornergrat but have a wander along the main street and see if the Matterhorn was visible. Unfortunately it never came out for long enough to get a photo, just fleeting glimpses then disappearing back into cloud. However there was balm in Gilead, as it were, as I was able to get a shot on the organ in the Pfarrkirche St. Mauritius, before going back to the Bahnhof restaurant to get a bite to eat. I returned to Brig with MGB1 and in the first passing loop downhill 107 was waiting to go up to Zermatt with a freight with 2051, one of the three sets which do the Tasch shuttles, drawn up behind it, common practice on the MGB. Back at Brig a trip to Thun was next on the agenda which was accomplished within BLS 535 105 with 535 121 coupled ahead of it. Before it left at 1436 BLS 485 012 and 186 103 double-headed a freight into the yard. We then whined away up the 1 in 37, picking up some walkers at the four stops before Goppenstein and as is now common practice, we crossed to the southbound track upon exiting the tunnel to call at Kandersteg. Shunters at this location were 402 and 235 100, while 235 091 was at the factory sidings further down the hill. One of the items on the shed at Spiez was 187 006, a Railpool Bombadier loco which has a diesel engine for working non-electrified sidings, and the penultimate 515 set, 027, was stabled next to the station.185 579/597 were also waiting with a freight heading for Bern. I spent quite some time with the traffic at Thun, and now that all the Class 515 are in traffic the Nina sets of Class 525 have been shuffled off to other services, including Langnau-Luzern! Every hour a 16-car Lotschberger (535) rake comes from Bern, with 8 cars for Brig and 8 for Zweisimmen splitting off at Spiez, and crosses a similar train bound for Bern. There are ICs every hour to/from Brig and Interlaken and on the alternate half hours another IC appears from Basel going alternately to these places. All of these trains are SD or DD with Class 460 at the head to Brig and at the rear to Interlaken. An S1 service to Fribourg runs every 30 min. and there are also Nina and BLS Kolibri services for various places such as Solothurn. Freight was a mixture of BLS locos and Crossrail 185s. One of these Crossrail locos 185 590 was parked up at the west end of the station but was fired into life as 185 580 approached from the Bern direction with a container service. This ground to a halt in Platform 1 and 185 590 then ran through the station and coupled up ahead of 185 580 before the ensemble set off to run probably via Kandersteg. I was now in need of some food and was horrified to find that the station restaurant, where I had fed last year, was no more and a self-service place had opened nearby. I went along to Spiez with 11196 on an extra from Bern but the restaurant here shut at 1700 during the week and only opened late on Sats and Suns. So it was back to Brig with 460 069 via the base tunnel and I had some food in the Victoria Hotel restaurant with the mandatory glass of red.

Friday 26/09/14. I was leaving Brig to make for my next stopping point, Wilderswil. There are one or two different ways of going between these places, and I had decided to go to Montreux then the MOB to Zweisimmen and then to Interlaken.
An old friend from 2010, 460 011, was at the head of the 0921 to Genève Aeroport. Services on the Rhone valley line are still not push-pull, seems to be no reason why they shouldn't be. I noted AOMC emu 501 in a new bright green livery as we entered Aigle. Further on in the MOB yard at Montreux 1007 still in its former ASm livery (it was 107 in its previous life), was doing a spot of shunting. The stock of the 1144 Golden Pass service to Zweisimmen was backed into the station by 8003, and we set off up the 1 in 13 away from the lakeside again in splendid weather with the French Alps visible in the background. TPF121 was at Montbovon forming the connection to Bulle and 6003 passed with stock referring to the Gruyere Cheese Train. The only other things we passed between Montbovon and Zweisimmen were 8002 on the next Golden Pass service at Saanen and then 4004 in a loop at the top of the hill going down into Zweisimmen. The connection on to Interlaken was a BLS Kolibri set 565 724, a little less comfortable than the loco and stock of last year, but loco-hauled services have been discontinued on this line. I thought that my position in the train would be adjacent to the bus stop at Interlaken West, but no such luck, for the bus park was being dug up and a new temporary stop had been created adjacent to where the 1st class would be on an IC service!. Postbus service 105 then took me up to the wonderful Baren Hotel where I had a three-night stay (and it was Merlot from the Ticino as accompaniment to dinner!).

Saturday 27/09/14. A trip to Bern was the plan for today and then a run on a line I hadn't done before.
As a change from taking the bus into Interlaken I walked down to Wilderswil Bhf and went to Interlaken Ost with the BOB (306). 460 089 was at the front of the train waiting to go to Basel. A pair of BLS brown jobs 174/176 were on a freight at Spiez and 186 901 and 185 595 were at Thun. After a walk down to see some bears in the Barengraben I came back to the tram stop outside Bern station and took a run out to Wankdorf on the 9. This line was extended about four years ago at the same time as the Brunnen Westside line was being constructed in the west of the city. Wankdorf is where the national football stadium is and a station was constructed, in two parts, a few years back. It has an island platform on the Thun line and three platform faces on the Olten side. I went back to the main station in Nina 525 027 from the Olten side and after finding an alternative eating house to the Sous-Sol which was undergoing reconstruction I took the RBS RE to Solothurn which was 32, one of the new units. The Solothurn train runs fast to Jegenstorf and then all stations beyond.
Solothurn had some of the later Class 523 on view and a freight headed by 11267 went past before I went on to Biel in 523 048. One of the Zug examples of Class 523, 003, was at Biel, also some examples of the former BLS Stadler sets of Class 526 which still have their red RM livery but now wear SBB logos. Presumably they will be renumbered in the future. A service to Delle was formed of 560 203, and 562 001, one of the sets passed for working into France, was also there. I went downstairs to take the BTI line, which starts from a bunker and is formed of narrow-gauge Stadler sets - 506 and 510. The BTI is part of the ASm group and runs through pleasant flat open country with the Bielersee and the Jura visible on the right. A half-hourly service is run on a Saturday, and the other sets in use were 507/504 and 505/503. 508 is a spare power car, which is used if one of the other power cars needs servicing. The terminus is at Ins, on the Neuchatel-Bern line and BLS535 101 soon appeared with the next RE to Bern stopping only at the strange diagonal crossing at Kerzers. Bern was its usual busy self and I watched some traffic from Platform 5 before the next IC arrived to take me back to Interlaken, once again with 460 089. We passed BLS515 001 on the Interlaken branch, with it being Saturday there are some 515s going spare and so Spiez-Interlaken Ost gets one to operate the stoppers between these places.

Sunday 28/09/14. I intended to go up to Murren to see whether there was a service on in the Reformed Church. I walked down to Wilderswil Bhf and MOB304 came in at the head of the combined train for Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald which divides at Zweilutschinen. Please note that anybody who gets into the wrong part of the train has no time to change at this place as the Lauterbrunnen portion is uncoupled and away in no more than 45 sec! At Lauterbrunnen the cable car was waiting and we made the 5 min ascent to Grutschalp where BLB31 was the power for the 15 min run along to Murren on a maximum gradient of 1 in 20 and with an intermediate stop at Winteregg. The sun was shining and the big hills were in full view as we pulled into Murren which is nearly 500 feet higher than Grutschalp. It is a short but stiff climb up to where the Reformed Church is and yes, there was a service, a Sacrament of Baptism, no less, which was most enjoyable - and I got a shot on the organ afterwards!
I continued my walk past the Allmendhubel Bahn, a funicular which disappears into tunnel higher up, and then reached the Schilthorn cable car before making my way back along the low road to the Bhf. Again it was 31 back to Grutschalp and I returned to Lauterbrunnen which was busy with tourists who wanted to go up to Kleine Scheidegg and further afield. WAB133 was at the rear of the train for this place and we went out behind an extra pushed by 101. The run up to Kleine Scheidegg takes about 45 min and afterwards I sat outside with my Bratwurst und Rosti mit Senf and a bottle of full fat Coke while people bustled hither and yon. I then took a service down to Grindelwald with 132. As the locos are always at the downhill end of the train it is normal for the two bits of the WAB to be worked separately, it would be possible for a loco to work through but only after running round its stock at Kleine Scheidegg. BOB307 was at the other side of the platform as we arrived at Grindelwald, to convey passengers back to Interlaken Ost, and we made a coupling up to a Lauterbrunnen service which came in behind us at Zweilutschinen. Back at Interlaken I took a trip along to Meiringen on 130 001, this Stadler set works the all stations service to Meiringen with 130 010 on the alternate hours. These units have no rack equipment and so are restricted to working to Meiringen, similarly 130 002-009 which work out of Luzern cannot put their noses past Giswil. The ZB took delivery of 4x7 car sets from Stadler numbered as Class 150 two years ago, they are rack equipped and so work the Golden Pass trains to/from Luzern. At the same time 6x3 car sets, Class 160, were handed over, also able to work on the rack, and both classes have panoramic vehicles throughout. The Class 101 and stock which previously worked this route have been displaced onto the Luzern-Stans-Engelberg line, although 101 963 was parked up at Meiringen with a 4-vehicle push-pull rake, and is on standby for Luzern-Interlaken. I returned to Interlaken Ost in 160 001 which was working the local services in place of 130 010 (in works), then BLS515 012 took me along to Interlaken West for the postbus back to Wilderswil.

Monday 29/09/14. Today I was moving on to my last Swiss location, Neuchatel. There are a number of ways of getting from Interlaken to Neuchatel but in order not to arrive there too early, I was going via Bern and Lausanne.
460 110 was at the head of the train to Bern, and 185 595 was stabled at Thun, no doubt to be called upon later in the day. At Bern 460 072 was at the rear of the next service to Lausanne and Genève. In the last year, Fribourg has had its German equivalent Freiburg added to its name (Fribourg/Freiburg), presumably a political decision. The train ran fast from this place to Lausanne, as Romont and Palezieux are now served by RE trains, and as the sun was out the French Alps were visible on the descent to Lausanne. I watched the traffic there before going for a plate of soup in the excellent station restaurant, and one of the items which came in was former MThB Kolibri set 561 173 which is still in original condition. Then it was on to Neuchatel in ICN set 500 003. The hotel Alpes et Lac is directly across the street from the station. Afterwards I took the bus from the other side of the station down to Place Pury and had a bit of a wander through the city streets, including a visit to the Collegiate Church which is at the top of a very steep hill - fine view across to the Jura from there, however (organ locked up!). Then I went back to the station for some observation. Neuchatel has 7 through platforms and the main lines have an extraordinary dog's leg at both ends! The principal services are the ICN sets from Lausanne/Genève to/from St. Gallen/Basel. Every even hour, at 24 minutes past, an ICN shows up from Genève to Basel, and is followed 3 minutes later by a similar set which has come from Lausanne and is going to St. Gallen via Zürich. The two services exchange passengers at Biel and the destinations switch in alternate hours. In the westbound direction the Lausanne service appears at xx34 and the Genève is again three minutes behind. It is 15 years since the ICN sets started running, originally they only did Lausanne-St. Gallen, while Genève-Basel was a BLS 465 push-pull service with BLS stock but a CFF DVT as BLS did not have suitable vehicles. This lasted until December 2001 by which time sufficient ICNs had been delivered for them to take over.
Many of the other services are Kolibri sets including a TGV connection to Frasne which was unrefurbished 562 001. Three private railways also send trains in, the BLS uses loco and stock for its fast services to Bern, and 465 004 appeared with its Kambly Biscuits set. Class 535 sets are used on the stopping services on the opposite half-hour. Once an hour a TPF service comes in from Fribourg and one such was operated by 527 196, one of six Flirt sets owned by this company. The Flirt sets belonging to the TRN, 527 331-333, operate the hourly services to Buttes helped out by Kolibri set 567 317.
Freight through Neuchatel is quite steady, but the locos working the freight trains are confined to Classes Re6/6 and 4/4. No 482s were seen and no private locos.
The freight consists mainly of oil trains making for St. Triphon terminal near Aigle and postal services to/from Daillens depot at the junction of the line to Vallorbe between Yverdon and Lausanne.

Tuesday 30/09/14. Still on the look out for new lines, I had found another in the west of the country, the Nyon-St. Cergue-Morez line. I first had to get to Nyon, between Lausanne and Genève. The direct Neuchatel-Genève ICNs run fast from Yverdon, and the alternative of going to Genève and coming back out is to go to Lausanne and catch an RE to Nyon. The leg to Lausanne was accomplished within 500 013 which had 500 033 coupled ahead of it. 511 104, one of the 4-car versions of this class, formed the next RE to Genève and when we made the first stop at Renens I noticed TL558 218/9 in the bay platform on the left. As the original TL sets only go up to 217 I guess that this must be two of the former Class 550 which previously worked Genève-La Plaine-Bellegarde and which are almost identical to TL558.. The line on to Nyon is busy with all kinds of trains and when I disembarked I found that I had 50 min to wait for the hourly service on the metre-gauge NStCM. Plenty passed in that time including an IC headed by 460 049 and 460 108 on the rear. The NStCM goes from an underground bunker at right angles to the main line and was formed of set 201. Emerging into daylight we passed the depot and headed for the Jura brooding in the background. The line is single track with passing places and gradients as steep as 1 in 16. The southbound service was passed at Les Muids and was unit 202. In ever more hilly country we called at St. Cergue, where some peak hour extras terminate before, after about 50 minutes and 17 miles, we arrived at the terminus at La Cure, which is, near enough, in the middle of nowhere. The line terminates at a buffer stop a short distance beyond as the section to Morez in France was closed as long ago as 1958! The train returns to civilisation after 4 minutes, a pretty run and we picked up a number of people on the way back to Nyon. I returned to the main line platform to get a train to Genève (460 023) where I intended to ride in some trams. The Genève tram system was almost moribund in the 1970s with only one line left of a more extensive service (line 12), but in the 80s line 13 was constructed and the city took delivery of 46 new standard Duewag trams. 22 of these had extra sections added to them in 1997-99 and then in the new century more building work took place to link the existing lines with Genève Gare Cornavin and beyond. In 2004 the city then got itself a batch of 21 Flexity 7-section trams and a further 18 of these vehicles followed from 2009. Finally some more Flexity vehicles, 19 in number with 6 sections were put into traffic from 2011. There are two tram stops at Cornavin, one in front of the station and one in the underpass at the west end where the trams to the CERN laboratories leave. I took car 889, one of the second batch of Flexity vehicles, on the 15 to Palettes in the southern suburbs of the city, and changed there onto the 12 for Mouillesaz (is this the correct spelling?) on the border with France in the SE of the city. This service was formed of one of the original Duewag vehicles coupled to one of the extended sets and as they are single ended they have to use a turning circle at termini. They no longer appear at Gare Cornavin. I then came back to one of the major junctions(Bel-Air?) and got 898 on the 18 (a CERN service) back to Cornavin. Back in the station 22400 was arriving with a train from Lyon and the La Plaine services were being worked by 522 202/202/213/214 following re-electrification of the line to Bellegarde at 25kV ac which had been completed a month previously. 562 000 was also present with a peak hour service to Bellegarde which went from Platform 7. Two TGVs 4708/24 were also in the station and ETR 610 105 before I went back to Lausanne in 511 116. The station restaurant beckoned and I ate and drank my fill before 500 009 took me to Neuchatel.

Wednesday 1/10/14. I had a spare day on my Global Interail pass and I was using it for a run to Lyon in France.
The hotel does an early breakfast service so that I was able to get the 0737 to Genève which was formed of 500 021. The 0926 to Lyon Perrache was formed of B82704/717 and went from Platform 6, unusually enough. The junction opposite the line going to Genève Aeroport has been realigned and there is a much smoother transition from single to double track at this point.
Under the new ac catenary we passed La Plaine then entered the tunnel approaching Bellegarde, beyond which the line to Paris goes off to the right where the TGV platforms are. There was another pair of B82500 in the station and also Z27664, and 75430 was stabled in the sidings on the right of the layout. On then to Culoz where DB Schenker 66241 was in the yard and a large selection of locos was dumped in the sidings on the right. I identified 63901, 66018/202/728, 67304/329/378, 67417/490/497/527/551/594 and Y7847/85 but there were others. Do any of our readers have the full list? Incidentally, 67329 has been there for at least 3 years. The next major stop was at Amberieu where the stabling point is on the right just before the station, this had 26207/216, 75419/438, 66504, 69295/314, 67567, Z7502/15 plus others. Then it was a fast run to Lyon Part-Dieu, where arrival in Platform E was just under 2 hours from Genève. I took myself off to the south end of this platform and sat in the sun watching the passing traffic. I had a camera and binoculars with me , both small enough to go in my pockets but as in previous years I was not disturbed. The passenger side of things was more or less as last year because there has been a delay getting the new SD/DD sets into service, and so besides the TGVs many services were Z24500 and B81500/82500 helped out by the two-car Z23500 plus occasional members of the older dual-voltage Z9500 and 9600. Loco and stock services were for such places as Marseilles via the classic line, Grenoble and Chambery and were 22200 or 7200. A service came in from Tours with 67610 and one for Clermont-Ferrand was X72603. Freight was not very frequent (I must visit Perrache some time and see whether any goes through there), a van train headed by 75409 went north through platform A and at the same time an incredibly long container service went south through Platform K headed by 27027/026. 26114 hauled a southbound intermodal and another southbound service was in charge of Vossloh Europorte 4002. After nearly 5 hours it was time to go back to Genève and I made my way round to Platform I for the 1638 which was again a pair of Z82500, 609/587. On the return journey I noted that 75080/082/095/098 and 36334 had appeared at Amberieu and later on 75445 was in the sidings at Bellegarde. Arrival back at Genève was on time at 1835 and I took myself off to the station restaurant which was doing a Sudtiroler menu, most acceptable as was the glass of Tempranilo. Then it was back to Neuchatel in 500 040, where I found 526 280, CFF ex RM and TPF567 172 one of the Kolibri type sets belonging to this company.

Thursday 2/10/14. My stay in Switzerland was done for another year and I was making for Königswinter for the next 6 nights. I went to Basel in 500 039, noting that the BLS 515s have found their way to Biel where 515 011 was sitting. There was also another of the former RM sets 526 261, and at Grenchen Nord we were crossed by 500 010/030 on the next westbound service. BLS 165 and 169 were at Delemont where the train reversed. The next ICN making for Lausanne/Genève was waiting in the passing loop at Liesberg, which is the booked crossing point. At Basel 522 212 and 205 were working on S-Bahn line S3 where they don't get to use their 25kV ac capability. One would suppose that they will be shuffled off to Genève when the CEVA project has been completed.
Having had a bowl of soup in the station restaurant (one of those times I will have a proper meal in there) I watched some trams outside for a while before making for Platform 10 where EC8 arrived with 460 045 at the head. 101 017 then coupled up to what had been the rear of the train as I heaved myself on board. 37058 and 37048 passed on the freight lines with services to and from Muttenz yard. 401 081 left at 1213 with IC278 and we followed seven minutes behind, running into Basel Bad at Platform 5. There were no fewer than 3 Class 111s attached to stock in the stabling sidings on the right of the layout, while various BLS locos occupied the sidings on the left. 189 112 was also stabled and 181 219 was waiting to enter the station with 2 coaches as we left . I was sitting on the wrong side of the train to see the passing freight, but I noted 185 595 in a loop heading south and 186 104 had been looped for us with northbound containers.
Later on X73901 was at Offenburg as we passed through without stopping. There were an unusual number of Karlsruhe trams out and about including 844,845 and 881 coupled together, and two of the non-tram-trains 568/586 were noted going about their business north of the city. We experienced signal checks approaching Mannheim and we were late arriving. We did not recover any time on to Mainz, and at Koblenz the 1618 RB27 had gone before we arrived. However there was the alternative of the RE8 at 1647, formed as usual of a pair of Class 425, 034/033, running via Ehrenbreitstein. We went into the outside of the northbound island at Neuwied where some rebuilding is going on, and Northrail 275 019 was there plus 212 311/369 on engineering trains. There was a shortage of freight on the way to Königswinter where arrival was on time at 1739. I went to the Hotel Bergischerhof in Drachenfelsstrasse, where I was staying for 6 nights. The hotel does a decent evening menu, including cakes and torten made in-house and Dornfelder rotwein to accompany the food. Afterwards I spent some time at the station and noted the passage of Siemens Vectron 193 814, SBB Cargo 482 026, former Veolia BB37527 and CFL4017 among the usual DB electric classes,
before I adjourned for the night.

Continued on the German page



Visit Report. Allan Baxter reporting.
Saturday 15/09/12. Arrival at Basel was about 5 mins late.  After a bowl of soup in the brasserie I went for the 1533 service to Chur which is fast to Zürich and only Sargans and Landquart thereafter. This was formed of the usual DD set with 460 012. 

A steam loco with number JS35 was noted at Sissach, and one of the new 6-car Class 511 emus was seen approaching Zürich. Later on RhB 3101/3 were in the yard at Landquart, they are two of the five single voltage version of the Allegra which will take over Regio services from Thusis to Schiers when the new timetable commences in December. Arrival at Chur was on time at 1752 and I took a taxi to the Hotel Freieck which was my base for the next four nights.

Sunday 16/09/12:
There were two lines in Aarau which I had not previously visited, the WSB metre gauge system. I planned to get there by the long way round via St. Gallen.

A most peculiar sight sitting in Chur's Platform 7 was a Class 450 Zürich S-Bahn set, 450 081, which looked most incongruous alongside the 12 vehicles of EC102.  The reason for this very much off-limits appearance was made clear shortly.    Sargans now has two new platforms numbered 6 and 7 on the Buchs side of the layout.  At Buchs ÖBB 1116 092/026 were on shed and there was a DB 185 among the SBB locos in the yard.  At Heerbrugg everybody had to bail out onto a bus because of engineering works between there and St. Margrethen.  One of Mayor Boris's hated bendybuses took us the short distance to St. Margrethen where another S-Bahn set 450 036 was waiting for the run-in to St. Gallen.  

Goldach (one station beyond Rohrschach) to St. Gallen is now entirely double-track.  The connecting service to Zürich HB  was 460 003 with DD stock and then 450 103 formed an RE service to Aarau.  The WSB services go from platforms 11-12 at the south side of the layout at Aarau.   I sampled the longer of the two lines first, that to Menziken which is 14 miles long and takes 37 minutes to complete.  Shortly after leaving Aarau, in EMU 29, we came up alongside Suhr station, which is on the Lenzburg-Zofingen line. One of the new class 923 shunters, 002, was stabled here with 843 094. 

We continued with roadside running in the main, but one section of street running at Unterkulm, on a rising gradient to the terminus at Menziken. The other branch of this line is 6 miles long and goes to Schoftland. It used to be that the two branches were worked separately but the same unit now works through.  There is a diagonal crossing with Lenzburg-Zofingen on the flat on the way to Schoftland, again mostly roadside running and the terminus is reached in 20 minutes from Aarau. 

At Schoftland one may catch a postbus to Sursee on the Olten-Luzern line as well as to some remoter places. Back at Aarau the next service to Zürich HB was a scratch rake with 11164 which was forming the 15.47 off Basel.  EC101 was running behind this (16.07 off Basel) and arrived in the HB shortly after with 11120.  460 033 backed on to the other end of the train for the run to the Graubunden capital.  On the way we passed 11207 with the stock of EC7 forming a Chur-Basel service.   The Swiss are not slow to use the stock of international services on their internal workings, particularly when, as in this case, it is their own stock!

Monday 17/09/12.
Today it was a run over the Bernina Pass and down to Tirano.  As usual I used ordinary service trains rather than the Bernina Express, whose six vehicles went out behind Allegra 3509, locked out of use.  The 0858 to St. Moritz, which I took as far as Samedan, was headed by 642.  The weather was fine this year, in stark contrast to this same third Monday in September 2011 when we had snow all day in the hills.

Baby Crocodile 407 used to be plinthed alongside the station access road at Bergun/Bravuogn, but has now been moved to sit on its own length of track within the station.   At Samedan I dismounted and caught the shuttle to Pontresina which had 630 in green livery advertising 100 years of Chur-Disentis at the rear. Allegra 3510 was at the head of six vehicles which is the maximum load for the Berninabahn. 

There were two pairs of the former railcars, 51/52 and 53/54 helping out the Allegras, and 49 was in the sidings at Poschiavo.  At Tirano there were two ALe803 emus in the FS station then E633.215 came in with a freight. Yard pilot was D245.2138. The return journey was in 51 and one wonders whether RhB will get itself some more Allegras to replace 51-56.  There was no sign of the two electrodiesels 801/802, they may have been in the shed at Poschiavo or up at St. Moritz.  

630 was again the motive power for the shuttle back to Samedan where the station is being rebuilt and one of the two island platforms was out of use.   651 was at the head of the train back to Chur.  It was noticeable how much the trees on the spiral section from Preda to Bergun have been cut back over the years so that there is a good view of the other levels of line.  When I first did this line in 1995 there was hardly anything visible, except the viaduct over the top at the bottom end of the second spiral.

Tuesday 18/09/12.
To Weil-am Rhein to see progress there. 460 033 was on the 08.16 to Basel as the fast train in this hour goes only as far as Zürich but connects with a TGV into France.  Next year there will be a new way of getting from Basel SBB to Weil thanks to the extension of tram line 8 which is due to open in December 2013.  No sign yet of a turning circle at the Weil end which may be adjacent to the station.   For the present it was 521 004 to Basel Bad and then 146 109 the short distance to Weil. 

There was a decent amount of traffic either using the yard or passing through on the main line.   EC6/7 has returned to being DB motive power and 101 105 was the Chur-bound train with 101 112 making for Hamburg.  There was a good amount of private stuff, 185 575 of HGK, 189 286/999/983/104/936 in Mitsui black livery on passing freight, and 145 Cl 031 in a lime green livery with containers making for Muttenz in the first instance.   DB locos on freight were mainly Class 185 but three 152s turned up and also two 145s. No 151s or 155s were seen.

Return was with 146 116 as far as Basel Bad and then 101 073 with EC101 which sat for at least 10 minutes on the connection from Bad round to the SBB station awaiting a platform.  11132 came on the other end as far as Zürich and it was a class 460 the rest of the way into Chur.   RJ162 from Wien to Zürich with ÖBB1116 in mid-train and at the rear came past as we restarted from Wadenswil. Wednesday 19/09/12. It was time to leave Chur and head off for my next destination which was Andermatt, so a trip on the Glacier Express was in prospect.

The 511-516 series of RhB emus were vey much in evidence in their last few months of traffic before being retired.  Eventually the 12 vehicles of the Glacier Express arrived from St. Moritz and 650 ran round to attach itself to the other end of the train before we set off on a non-stop run up to Disentis.  Here the train divided and MGB3, one of the former BVZ locos, came on the front portion while MGB105 prepared to couple up to the rear portion.  A pleasant journey on to Andermatt ensued in somewhat cloudy weather and arrival was on time at 13.44. 

My base for two nights was at the Hotel Monopole, about 200 yards from the station with a view of the 1 in 10 into Andermatt from my bedroom window. Afterwards I went down to Erstfeld to see some freight. 11164 in charge from Goschenen. Erstfield has a large depot and additional stabling point for non-SBB locos which included some DB 185s and some Mitsui types.  After a slow start activity improved with many of the freights having Re10/10 power. Two of these stopped to add bankers to the consist, 11329 banking 11685 and 11327, and 420 165 at the rear of a train hauled by 420 346 and 11677.  A freight from the south rumbled down the 1 in 38 with Mitsui 182 597 and 189 992, and the lead engine uncoupled before moving off to the stabling point.

The train sat there for more than half an hour and in the meantime northbound traffic had to use the outside of the island platform on that side of the layout. There was a pair of Crossrail 185s, 581/597, on southbound freight and BLS 486 505 required banking for which 185 099 was provided, as BLS and DB Schenker work together.  Another BLS working had a pair of brown BLS Re4/4s.   Passenger services are one an hour in each direction with additional non-stoppers passing through which were mainly ICN sets.  There is also an hourly Regio service to Baar-Wildpark (north of Zug) which is worked by an indiscriminate mixture of Classes 521 and 523.  Eventually 11223 arrived to take me up past the Wassen loops to Goschenen from where MGB54 was in charge up the 1 in 5 to Andermatt.

Thursday 20/09/12.
Off to Locarno/Bellinzona today to see some freigfht.  MGB53 down to Goschenen and then 11149 to Locarno.   Four class 185s passed light engine at Airolo, 133/131/098/116.  There is trackwork going on at Giubiasco, beyond Bellinzona.  After a quick look-in at Locarno I returned to Bellinzona with 524 003 and sat in the sunshine to watch the passing traffic.  There was more variety in the motive power at Bellinzona than at Erstfield because this is where Classes 474 and 484 may be found, they do not normally go north of Bellinzona and tend to work the line to Luino and into Italy. 

Class 474 is the Swiss version of Class 189 and originally 18 locos were due to be delivered by Siemens to SBB but they were late and SBB refused to accept six of them which are now earning their corn elsewhere.  Class 484 is a 186 by any other name, Bombardier having delivered 21 of them at about the same time as the 474s appeared.  Occasionally a 484 may be found on passenger.  Other freight workings had pairs of DB 185s, and the inevitable Re10/10s which would be going towards Lugano/Chiasso.  

A pair of Mitsui 182s, 597/599 turned up on freight as did BLS185/190 and 186 904/907 of Crossrail. Passenger services nomally go no further than Lugano and are worked by ICN sets from Basel/Zürich.  The connection from Lugano on to Chiasso is by Class 524s which work through into Italy.  The first series of Class 524 are 3 short at the moment, they are to be found working Genève-La Plaine!  The second series of class 524 are six-section units numbered 101-111 and seem to mingle indiscriminately with the four-section sets and neither series seems to wander north of Biasca. Eventually it was time to leave with a train to Basel headed by 460 067. 

The dump of Ae6/6 at Biasca has all but disappeared and only two locos were left, 11417 in red and an unidentifiable green machine. What will happen to the mountain section after the base tunnel is opened in 2016?  My guess would be something similar to what works over the Lotschberg as connections need to be made to the MGB at Goschenen, thus an hourly RE between Arth-Goldau and Bellinzona as these stations have extra platforms which can accommodate terminating services. Back at Goschenen BLS486 505 was being piloted by DB185 139 on a southbound container service.  The DB loco had banked the train up from Erstfeld before transferring to the front end for the run on to the yard at Chiasso.    Then MGB94 took me up the hill to Andermatt.

Friday 21/09/12.
Moving on to my next destination, Martigny. Rather than hanging around for the Glacier Express - which doesn't arrive Andermatt until 13.44(!) - I took one of the all stations Regio services from Andermatt to Brig which had MGB 94 at the rear.  Transit of the Furka-Tunnel took 16 minutes with no stops.  The first of the eastbound Glacier Express sections was waiting for us at Bitsch, with MGB108 at its head, and the second section was at Brig with MGB106 as we arrived. 

An IR for Genève Aeroport drew into Platform 1 of the main station from the sidings headed by 460 027,and curiously enough the trains on this route continue to be neither DD nor push-pull (anybody know why?). Track improvement was going on at Ardon, where the station is also being rebuilt.  Arrival at Martigny was on time where I noted one of the two new emus TMR71 which are working the Chamonix line.  This was operating only as far as Le Chatelard-Frontiere because of engineering works on the French side of the border.

My accommodation for two nights was at the Hotel Forclaz-Touring, a new building not far from the station. Afterwards I took a trip along to Bex to do the BVB (part of the TPC set-up), 460 019 to Bex. BVB92 was waiting in the street outside Bex station like a tram and we had a good rumble along some of the streets in the town before passing the depot and engaging the rack for some sections of 1 in 5 before arrival at Villars. 

The section on to Bretaye is worked separately and Swiss Pass holders get a 50% discount.   On the way back down the train nearly wiped out a car which had decided to move off as the train was leaving a crossing loop at a station. Returning to Martigny (460 044) I decided on a visit to Le Chable (where I had been last year), but this time sampling a post-bus up to Verbier.  

610 439 came through Martigny heading for Lausanne with one of the typically very long freights which were once upon a time staple diet for this class. TMR527 511, one of the three NINA sets which were bought for this line, and are festooned with pictures of St. Bernard dogs, formed the next service up to Le Chable while sister 527 512 provided the connection from Sembrancher to Orsieres. 

The postbus on to Verbier takes 35 minutes up a steep road with hairpins and breathtaking views down to the valley floor far below.  It is not the sort of road you want to be travelling in the depths of winter with snow on the ground, and there is the alternative of a cable car up to the ski resort.      After a quick run up and back the return service to Martigny was formed of CFF's 560 411, reduced to two cars in length.  It was being used because of absence of 527 513, presumably away at works, and was seen working branch trains for the remainder of my stay.

  Wednesday 26/09/12:
For my last full day in Switzerland I opted for a visit to Bern and then a grand circle via Lausanne and Brig and then back to Interlaken.  460 064 to Bern.  The Bern trams were running to a revised timetable because the Helvetiabrucke was closed for repairs, this affecting Lines 3, 6, and 8.  Line 6 is the former RBS Line G and now runs to Fischermattli in the west of the city.  The vehicles which operate this service are double-ended unlike the rest of the Bern fleet which are single-ended. From Bern I took a Geneve Aeroport train with 460 086 at the rear. 

A new Flirt emu with TPF logos and numbered 527 193, was observed leaving Fribourg on a service for Neuchatel, also seen was 567 316 which was a TRN set but has been on hire to TPF for a number of years.   The descent into Lausanne down the 1 in 55 from Chexbres, with the view of the lake and the French Alps behind, is one of these views of which Switzerland has so many.  The continuation on to Brig was at the other side of the same platform at Lausanne and was SD stock with 460 108 leading.

We hear that the new 511s are going to operate an RE service from Geneve to Vevey and Romont on alternate half-hours from the timetable change in December so that will mean additional services on these busy stretches of line.   560 411 was again noted in the Le Chable bay platform at Martigny. 11424 was in the freight loops at Sierre and a freight for Brig emerged from the tunnel as we approached Visp, doubleheaded by 11345 and 11682. The 1536 over the Lotschberg Pass was BLS535 111/120 but there seemed to be rather fewer walkers waiting at Lalden and Ausserberg although we did pick up about a dozen at Hohtenn, the last of the four stops before Goppenstein.  We changed to right hand running through the Lotschberg Tunnel and entered Kandersteg at the southbound platform, which is the one nearer the village.

Shunters at Kandersteg were 402 and 936 134.  No freight was noted on the mountain section and I continued back to Thun to see what was there. 11464, which was probably the loco which had taken the daily freight to/from Interlaken was in the sidings at Thun and left with its train shortly after I arrived.  Then Crossrail's 185 597 girded up its loins as 185 577/591 approached with a container service, most of the containers were Ewals Cargocare. 

Has anybody seen this service and can tell us whether it is routed via the pass? The presence of a banker suggests that it is.  The Rola trains which work into Germany now carry the logo Ralpin and BLS485 001 passed with such a service northbound.  Finally 460 015 was at the rear of the train which took me back to Interlaken.

Thursday 27/09/12:
The Swiss leg of my holiday was over for another year and I was relocating myself to Konigswinter in the Rhein Valley, Germany, for the next 6 days.   Firstly I had to get myself and my luggage to Basel to catch EC100, and this was done by the 0906 from Interlaken West which was 460 015.  Crossrail's 436 114 was parked up at Thun until later in the day when it would be called up for banking duty.   11421 was outside the depot at Olten. There will be even fewer of these machines around at this time next year.

Arrival in Basel was at Platform 7 so I had no distance to go as EC100 was arriving at Platform 8.  This appeared early with 11211 in charge and 101 130, one of the two locos which was in gold livery for a while for hauling a Metropolitan service from Koln to Hamburg, backed on to the other end of the train as I heaved myself on board.

Departure into Germany was on time at 1218 and the first unusual item I noted was 181 218 at Basel Bad.   182 572 and HGK 185 585 were also there.  Some of the buildings on the east side (nearest the main lines) of Haltingen depot have now been demolished and the loco holding sidings lifted.  The first section of the new NBS will be brought into use in December, this misses out stations such as Istein and Bad Bellingen on the sinuous bit of line beside the Rhein, and includes the 5.8 mile Katzenberg Tunnel.   BB37023 was stabled at the south end of Mullheim station, and sister loco 37026 was approaching with a container service about to take the right turn towards Mulhouse.   

There is now a plan afoot to avoid the junctions at Rastatt, south of Karlsruhe, by construction of a 10 mile section of NBS which will include a 2.6 mile tunnel under the town.   Vossloh diesel 274 101, also bearing number ESG7, was seen at Karlsruhe.  

We arrived Mannheim on time but as usual there was congestion on the next section to Mainz and eventually I had less than 5 minutes to get from Platform 3 to 104 at Koblenz to catch the next RB27, which I did as it was about to be whistled away.   Plenty of freight passed between there and Konigswinter including HGK 185 606, a service double headed by class 189 and another with a pair of 185. Afterwards I watched the traffic at Konigswinter and could see the new signalling in action.  

The level crossing at the station has been removed for now, and the signal guarding it is a simple red/green job without the additional distant aspect which used to light up when the main light changed to green.  This meant that if two freights were closely following each other the second one would get a red aspect and consequently had to crawl towards the signal until it cleared.  On the northbound road the signal beyond the station has four aspects, red, yellow, flashing green and steady green.  The flashing aspect is accompanied by the orange number 7 below it, presumably this means 70kph.  Both tracks through the station are now signalled bi-directionally.

 It was quite busy for much of the time and although most of the traffic was Class 185 there was a good representation of SBB Cargo Class 482, and there were three pairs of Class 140, 805/806, 838/843, and 772/789! OBB1116 156 passed and private stuff included 2016 908, 186 107 and Rurtalbahn's 185 684. The SNCF got a look-in with BB37008 and 37015 working through.    EC6 had been diverted north of Koblenz with 101 052 and would have been sent via the Sudbrucke to regain its rightful route without having to reverse at Koln Hbf.

Friday 28/9/12.
A Ruhn-Niederrhein circuit was planned. A pre-breakfast session at the adjacent level crossing was fairly busy with seven freights in about 40 minutes, including one train for the Saar double-headed by 189 047/046 and another with 151 059/075. Before the 0909 to Koln came in a southbound freight was headed by 139 287.  The RB27 to Koln had 142 822 at the rear. All other trains on this route had the 143 at the north end of the formation. Another freight went past double-headed by CFL4012 and another. Approaching Koln-Kalk a new ICE 407 015 was in the sidings. This was seen again later at Rheydt.  

The Class 442 have now entered traffic on route RE9 Aachen-Siegen and are sharing the workload with Class 111+DD stock.  The latter will be displaced when the timetable changes in December.  For the present route S6 is still Class 143. I took the 1021 RE7 to Hamm which was 112 162+DD and runs via Wuppertal and Hagen. Opladen sidings were empty. The Hagen-Hamm area local services are operated by private operators such as Albellio, Eurobahn Keolis and RRX with emus in 3, 4 and 5-car formations. 

The vast marshalling yard at Hamm was taken out of general use around 1997 but parts of the yard are still used by private operators and there is a DB stabling point. Hamm was fairly busy on the passenger side but some freight wnt past on the north side freight lines including 185 508 and WLB22 which has an EVN in Class 223. I then took an RE11 which was formed of 2xClass 425 to Monchengladbach.  This runs via Essen and Duisburg before branching off to the right for Krefeld.  Duisburg was full of NWB dmus numbered in Class 648, and south of the Hbf 182 560, 185 573 and ITLs 185 650 were stabled. 

At Krefeld there were some more new 407 sets in the works plus some Class 420 being dismantled. At Monchengladbach I took service RE4 with 111 118+DD to Aachen and brand-new 189 451/459 were stabled at the south end of the Hbf. There was a lengthy stretch of single-line working on the left hand track before Aachen West yard where SBB Cargo Re482 028 and 421 385/386 were stabled at the north end. SNCB2843 was in the yard with a freight, and 185 600/580 of CrossRail and private 2016 908 which I had seen the day before, was also present. RE1 with 146 029+DD took me back to Koln and in the yard east of Aachen were two interesting Items, one a 203 type with logo Uwe Adam 9, and the other a Taurus numbered 183 704.

  Another pair of CrossRail 185s 578/597 were waiting to join the main line between Horrem and Koln.  Back at Koln one of the new Hamburg-Koln expresses was seen with 182 526/534 topping and tailing a five-coach rake of stock in a special livery.  Then it was back to Konigswinter again with 143 822.  Again Konigswinter was fairly busy in the evening and among the interesting items was 185 399 in its non-standard livery. This was supposed to be last of the class untill 185 401-406 got built as well! 140 838/843 turned up again and private Items included CrossRail 185 524, Railpool 185 683 and Mitsui 189 995.    

Notes from a Swiss Trip June 2011 by Richard Franklin
Sat 18/6: On the first full day of the trip whilst en route from Olten to Langenthal with EMU 560.238, noted an unmarked DB 01 pacific marshalled in a freight train near Rothrist. Changed at Langenthal onto BLS EMU 526.260 for the run to Huttwil. Here joined a railtour run by the Historische Eisenbahn Emmental with ex DB 64.518. Routing was via Ramsei, Langnau, Wolhusen (RR) and Zell. A long break was taken at Trubschachen to visit a biscuit factory. Your scribe decided not to go munching but travelled out and back to Konolfingen behind BLS loco 465.004 to watch the working and noted 2-8-0T BSB 51 (SLM 1726/06) in the shed. In a factory siding between Willisau and Gettnau ex SOB railcars 576.049 & 576.056 were positioned either end of wagons and at another siding between Gettnau & Zell, 576.057 was noted.

Afterwards travelled with another BLS 526 to Luzern thence with EMU 500.026 to Lugano changing to EMU 524.101 (first of the 6 car FLIRTS) for an overnight stay at a hotel near Paradiso station. En route DB 185’s 101, 102 & 104 were noted at Biasca.

Sun 19/6: EMU 524.012 Paradiso to Capolago for the first steam of the season up to Generoso Vetta with 0-4-0RT 2 (SLM 604/90). A water train followed up behind with a diesel and a break of around 45 mins was taken at Bella Vista where service trains crossed and overtook. The train was due to stay up at Vetta until 1511 but your scribe had heard about a possible paddle steamer working on Lake Como that afternoon so a service train with EMU 14 was taken back down to Capolago.

To Chiasso with 524.012 (again) changing to a FS service behind loco E264.289 for the few minutes across the border to Como. No sign of the paddler just most of the inhabitants of Como walking about on a blistering hot afternoon. Just before 1600 a ship’s hooter was heard and the P.S. Concordia hove into view. It then worked a 1615 half hours run to Torno and back managing to lose almost 20 mins on the schedules because of the sheer number of people trying to embark/disembark at the intermediate stops.

Returning to Lugano on 524.003, MRCE Dispolok 189.998 was noted in Chiasso Yard and G2000 840.004 in the depot. 0-6-0WT 8463 (SLM 1623/04) noted at the Club del San Gottardo sidings at Mendrisio. 6 car 524’s 103/106/108 were seen during the course of the day.

Mon 20/6: Back to Chiasso with 524.015. This plus 016&017 noted still working in the area having been borrowed from Luzern until the 6 car 524’s arrived. Because of a van train stabled between the platform and the yard, the only freight locos to be seen were DB 185’s 112, 119 & 132 and SBB 474.103. ES 64 U2 097 noted in the depot and 843.022/025/043 around the station. Back to Lugano with 524.102 and a ride on the metre gauge Ferrovia Luganesi to Ponte Tresa and return with EMU 25 before heading to Bellinzona on 524.108 for a couple of hours. The only mainline freight loco stabled here was E474.015. Other 6 car 524’s 104/105 & 107 were seen during the afternoon.

To Locarno on the hourly IR service behind loco 11125 and a journey on the very scenic ‘Centovalli’ line in EMU 21 to Domodossola followed with a very quick change of trains at the latter owing to retimings in connection with unscheduled engineering work at or near Iselle. The train to Brig is shown in the timetable at 1810 but was retimed to 1751 allowing only a five minute connection. Power was loco 11199 for the 29 minute journey. Locos 484.001/011 with BLS 485.004/007/016/019 in Domo yard. At Brig two of the new SBB electric shunters were noted 922.011&012. Before heading to base at Olten at 2020 on ETR 610.008 on a Milan to Basel service, the following freight movements were noted:- BLS 465.009+010 with 184 o/r north at 1950, 11354+841.038 north at 1953, Crossrail 186.902+905 south at 2008, an Re4/4+Re6/6 north on a short train at 2014 and 841.009 north on an engineers at 2017. Crossrail locos 185.592+601 were seen at Thun.

Tue 21/6: Headed to Neuchâtel with loco 460.114 changing to 560.005 at Biel to see the three class 527 FLIRTS working for Transport Régionaux Neuchâtelois. Only 527.331 seen which worked the 1032 from Buttes. Most other regional services were in the hands of refurbished class 560’s. On to Lausanne with 500.011 continuing to Morges with EMU 523.023. Then followed a journey on the Bière-Apples-Morges metre gauge line. Travelled to Bière in car 12 crossing car 14 en route and connecting at Apples with car 15 which arrived from L’Isle-Mont-la-Ville. At Bière, car 11, shunter 41 and loco 21 were in the depot whilst loco 22 was stabled on stock in the station.

As there was no return service from Apples to L’Isle-Mont-la-Ville for a couple of hours, car 15 followed empty to Bière for (I presume) maintenance/changeover. A very pleasant line climbing up into the hills following the contours of the land with great views of Lac Leman with snow covered mountains in the background. Continuing south on the main line with 460.101, a stop was made at Nyon to travel on the Nyon-St.Cergue-Morez metre gauge line to La Cure right on the French border. The section from La Cure to Morez was closed in the fifties. The 1501 service was formed of one trailer and power cars 211 and 202. 203 was berthed at Nyon station with one of the older vehicles 231 in a siding behind. Another older car, 232, together with shunter 261 were noted in the depot at Les Plantaz. At Le Muids, track vehicle 251 was in a siding and we crossed 201+205 on the 1456 La Cure.

Car 204 was in the shed at St.Cergue. A very scenic line to ride but the appreciation of this on the return journey was completely ruined by noisy school parties getting in at the first station totally wedging out all three cars. The next 45 minutes back to Nyon were agony! Onwards to Geneva behind 460.087 to see what was working the La Plaine and Bellegarde services. The 1715 to La Plaine was 524.010 and the 1745, 524.009. The 1800 to Bellegarde was formed of EMU’s 550.002+000 with the 1900 being 550.003+001. TGV’s noted were 12, 32 & 745 and loco 7267 stabled in the yard. Returned to Olten behind 460.012 to Lausanne, changing to 460.069 to Bern and finally 460.096.

Wed 22/6: Out with EMU 540.057 to Aarau and the Wynental-und Suhrental-Bahn (WSB) to sample yet more metre gauge lines to Schöftland and Menziken. These used to be separated but now there is through running with cars built in the seventies and nineties jointly working the services. The line to Schöftland has much street running and the main depot is here. There used to be a depot at Aarau but no more, just a few rusty sidings after rebuilding took place through to Suhr on the SBB where there is now cross platform interchange with the Zofingen-Lenzburg service.

At Suhr two of the three Em 831 shunters were stabled, nos. 000 & 001. Only one unit was stabled at Menziken. Returning to Suhr it was off to Lenzburg with EMU 520.005 changing onto 520.011 for the run to Luzern via Hochdorf where shunter 16391 was working. New electric shunter 922.015 was at Luzern and EMU’s of classes 520, 523, 560, 561, BLS 526 & ZB 130 were in and out. To Rotkreuz with 523.034 changing to 523.005 and on to Wohlen to sample the new units on the line to Bremgarten & Dietikon. So new are some of these that no identification could be found on one of the units on the train apart from a piece of paper stuck on the drivers cab with 5014 typed in large numbers! Another unmarked unit was in the depot sidings at Bremgarten.

All services seemed to be worked by the new units in pairs apart from the 1728 RE service from Dietikon which was a single unit. Now heading for Pratteln for some freight watching, 540.022+ 540.067 were taken to Turgi, thence 450.075+043+100 to Brugg. Whilst waiting here for the 1842 to Rheinfelden it was announced that this service was five minutes late. At 1843 11426 trundled through on a freight! 460.041 then to Rheinfelden changing on to EMU’s 522.205+209 to Pratteln. This class has been built for the reopening of the line through to Belfort and for working to Mulhouse. During the evening five of these units were seen working services to Frick and Laufenburg but not on the Olten line. Pratteln is still good for freight movements with 29 seen in two hours with a variety of loco classes. Returned to Olten with EMU 521.024.

Thur 23/6: Firstly out to Aarau again with 540.048 and on to the WSB along to Suhr to photograph loco 831.001. Returned to Olten on 500.043 changing to 460.038 to Spiez. An unmarked loco 185.576 noted stabled at Thun. At Spiez changed to the BLS with 4-car “Lötschberger” units 535.103+109 for the run to Brig via the original Lötschberg tunnel. BLS shunters 402, 235.092 and 936.134 were at Kandersteg and DB 185.107+109 passed at Goppenstein. BLS loco 843.502 stabled at Brig.

To Visp behind 460.060 transferring onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) for the climb up to Zermatt with EMU’s 2022+2013 crossing 2021, 2011, 2052 and loco 3 on the way. Locos 4, 5 & shunter 72 were stabled at Zermatt with 2051 & 2053 on the Täsch shuttles. Over the road on the Gornergrat Bahn 3003 was berthed in the station, 3062 could be seen in the shed whilst 3051-3054 & 3081-3084 covered the passenger service. Travelled to Zermatt in the gloom but 30 mins after arrival the sun appeared and just had to marvel at that piece of rock called the Matterhorn! Returning through to Brig on the MGB, the (mostly) single line got rather busy with four loco hauled Glacier Expresses passing together with the stopping service.

Before making for the excellent Spiez station restaurant behind 460.020, the following freights were noted at Brig:- BLS 465.017 north at 1727, BLS 485.003+486.501 north at 1742, 11238+620.061 north at 1746. After abendessen at Spiez the following freight movements were made:- BLS 485.018+014 arrived from the south at 1958, detached 018 and went forward at 2015. 11605+11341 arrived from the south at 2021 departing 8 minutes later. 11266+11680 arrived from the north at 2042 going forward at 2045. Back to base at Olten on the Milano to Basel EC departing at 2054 with ETR 610.014. Watched the working at Olten for 45 minutes which was quite intensive with 15 freights passing.

Fri 24/6: A DB ICE ride with 401.073+573 to start with as far as Bern changing to 460.001 to Interlaken Ost. Then on the metre gauge Berner Oberland Bahn to Lauterbrunnen with units 310 & 307 as far as Zweilütschinen where the latter was detached for Grindlewald. At Wilderswil, Schynige Platte Bahn (SPB) locos 12, 14 & 63 were at the station. Arriving at Lauterbrunnen, Wengernalpbahn cars 109 & 131 were noted before ascending to Grütschalp in the cable car (was a funicular until 2006) for a ride on the isolated section of metre gauge line to Mürren. Just over 4kms in length, car 22 was taken for the 14 minute journey crossing car 23 at the intermediate station of Winteregg. Returning in car 31, historic car 11 (built 1913) was noted in the workshop/depot at Grütschalp.

Backtracking to Interlaken with 310 again, an attachment was made on the front at Zweilütschinen to 307. More trains had appeared at Wilderswil on the SPB with locos 14, 16, 18, 20, 61 & 62 present. From Interlaken Ost the 1404 IR service was taken to Meiringen behind loco 110.022 of the Zentralbahn (ZB). Two class 130’s of that company, 001 & 010 are based at Meiringen for working the hourly stopping service to Interlaken and both were seen. At Meiringen, a ride to Innertkirchen was taken in the regular passenger vehicle car 8 built in 1996. The line is owned by the local hydro-electric power company, Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG. At Innertkirchen 1949 built railcar MIB 5 is stuffed & mounted and recently bought from Chemins de Fer du Jura loco De4/4 402 now numbered 12 was in the sidings.

Returning on the ZB towards Interlaken behind 110.022, a stop was made at Brienz to watch some steam action on the Rothorn Bahn. 16 worked the 1428 Rothorn then 1636 back, 2 worked the 1528 Rothorn and 14 the 1628 Rothorn. A quick look in the shed revealed 6, 7, 12 & 15 with diesels 9, 10 & 11. At Interlaken Ost 0-4-0RT 1067 was in steam outside the shed, being made ready for, I presume, a charter. Thun was then chosen for some freight watching and the evening meal which was taken in the station restaurant. Disappointing as only three freights were seen in an hour. Crossrail 185.600+591 went south at 19/41, BLS 465.009+188+173 south at 20/03 and BLS 170 south at 20/18. 185.576 still stabled here.

Changing trains at Bern new shunters 922.009, 010 and 020 were in the carriage sidings. ETR 610.005 was on the EC from Milano to Basel which was used back to Olten.

Sat 25/6: Firstly a journey to Basel behind 460.009 and to the Lost Property office to retrieve my notebook which I had left on the EC the previous evening! It had been handed in by the train staff after a very helpful member of the Control Office at Olten had made a phone call. Good old Swiss efficiency. Decided to head for Luzern and motive power was 500.040. Observed the working at Luzern for a while before catching the 1238 ZB service to Hergiswil with 130.004, changing to 130.007 to Stans changing again onto the Engelberg train with loco 101.965.

With the new tunnel near Engelberg being opened recently, the schedule has been cut by about 12 minutes. There are two passing loops in the tunnel which is just over 4000 metres long and took 11 minutes to pass through. Returning to Luzern on the same train, it was then off to Arth-Goldau in 560.103 passing the Verkehrshaus en route where 11413, 0-6-0T WB 6, 0-4+6T “GENF” and ex Bern Neuenberg Bahn railcar 727 could be seen. Before changing onto the Südostbahn (SOB), ETR 470.002 came in on a Zurich to Milano service and Crossrail 186.901+906 passed through on a southbound freight. A cross country journey all the way to Frauenfeld took up most of the rest of the afternoon using stopping services. SOB EMU 526.046 was taken on the very scenic line to Wädenswil, changing to 526.045 at Biberbrugg and 526.041 at Samstagern. There is a depot at the latter and shunters 236.008, 236.009 and 846.033 were noted.

At Wädenswil before catching 450.003+073 to Pfäffikon, OBB 1116.217 tore through on the 1640 Railjet service from Zurich to Wien. From Pfäffikon it was back on SOB 526.051 across to Rapperswil where quite a few SBB class 514 EMU’s were stabled for the weekend. SBB 560.108 was taken to Uznach thence SOB 566.075 to Wattwil thence THURBO 526.704 to Wil. Another change onto another railway this time the Frauenfeld-Wil Bahn with unit 15. A metre gauge line 25kms in length with much street running. It was time for the evening meal, unfortunately most of Frauenfeld was closed but I was lucky to find just one restaurant open. Back to Olten for the night with 460.102 to Winterthur where the third loco of class Em 831.002 was seen in the yard. 460.003 through from Winterthur noting OBB 1116.208 & 215 stabled on Railjet stock outside Basel.

Sun 26/6: This was a steamy day. The Oensingen Balsthal Bahn were running a steam special from Balsthal and I joined at Oensingen travelling in 521.024 from Olten. Formation was 4-4-0T 5469 (Essl 2498/91) running as JS 35, three coaches and 0-4-4-0T 7696 (Maff 1710/93) running as 196. The route was Solothurn, Wiler, Burgdorf (reverse), Ramsei (reverse), Huttwil (reverse), Langenthal, Olten (reverse), Oensingen and back to Balsthal where there was to be a shindig in the afternoon. I left the train at Olten and Plan A was to go to the Schinznacher Baumschulbahn where two steam were planned to operate this day.

As it was a very, very hot day I thought twice about the 30 min walk from the nearest rail station to site so travelled behind 460.018 to Bern where the steam tram was operating. Running on selected Sundays, it makes six journeys (starting at 1100 and then on the hour) of approx 50 mins duration varying the route each time. This day the 1500 trip went out and back on tram route 9 to Guisanplatz. Afterwards just managed to get the RE service at 1553 to Neuchâtel with BLS 420.501. These hourly semi fasts are worked by ex SBB Re4/4 locos. No sign of the elusive 527 class of EMU so on to Biel/Bienne with 560.120 to look in at a metre gauge line that runs from a single platform underneath the main station to Täuffelen and Ins, part of the Aare Seeland mobil set up. The units have a central power car with a driving trailer on either side. A fifteen minute service operates to Täuffelen Monday to Friday with every other train running through to Ins. Basic half hourly to Ins on weekends.

Headed back to Olten firstly on a stopper with 560.242 to Solothurn changing to 460.117 for the final leg.

Mon 27/6: On the last day it was time for a Swiss paddler so to Nyon via Bern and Lausanne, the first part of the journey being on DB ICE 401.580+080. Picked up the ‘SIMPLON’ on the 1015 Geneva to Lausanne. Only got as far as the first stop at Nernier when an announcement was made (in French only of course!) about a technical problem. Nothing more was said and then off we went now 30 minutes late. Didn’t make up anything on the way so it missed its run over to Evian and back and berthed until booked departure time of 1535 back to Geneva. By the metro on car 247 from Ouchy to Delices for some photography then by 248 up to the main station for the 1520 to Bern behind 460.031.

At Fribourg noted new FLIRT 527.191 in Transports Publics Fribourgeois livery. Changing at Bern it was back to Olten with 460.049, picking up the bag from the hotel then with 460.105 to Zurich Hbf. The final run on SBB was with 500.001 for the short run to the Flughafen. Another very enjoyable wander around a country with excellent transport links.

Visit Report. Continuing Alan Baxter’s report from September 2010
Friday 24 September: It was my intention to go to Mulhouse in France today to have a look at traffic there (460 055 Interlaken to Basel) but I discovered that the French unions were having one of their frequent hissy fits and regional traffic was disrupted.  The long-distance traffic seemed to be running as we passed a Zürich-bound TGV on the approaches to Basel.  My reserve choice was another visit to Weil-am-Rhein, and this turned out to be similar to my last visit, although there was one variation in that 185 585 of HGK turned up with a freight bound for Switzerland.  Mitsui (formerly Dispolok) 189 995 also passed through; this class of loco has a remarkable amount of numbering on its sides. 

The Platform 5 Germany Part 2 book, published in 2004, is badly needing updating. Eisenbahn Kurier published a book of German private locos and multiple units early in 2009 but a large number of new 185s, 186s and 189s have appeared since then.
On the passenger side an IC from Nürnberg passed through headed by 101 092, this is the loco which was rebuilt after a crash at Bruhl, near Bonn, a few years ago.  Return to Interlaken was with 460 011 (again).

Saturday 25 September.  A grand circular tour, Interlaken-Bern-Brig-Spiez-Interlaken, was on today's agenda.   460 011(!) to Bern. The Swiss Capital is in the process of taking delivery of a new batch of 7-section Combino trams, numbered 651 upwards (at variance with the Swiss Platform 5 handbook), while two trolleybus routes in the west of Bern are being converted to tram operation and there are also plans afoot for RBS Line G which enters the city over the urban tram tracks.

Then it was 460 029 to Lausanne and 460 032 from there along to Brig, single deck stock for the latter as DD is still banned from the Rhône Valley line.  An emu numbered 522 201 was sitting at Martigny, this is one of the new sets built for working into France, after SNCF refused the original 522s on grounds of crash-worthiness.  The original sets have had their 25kV ac equipment removed and they have been renumbered as Class 523.  The Martigny-Brig locals are being operated by refurbished Kolibri sets renumbered in the 560 4xx series.   

At Brig I was able to catch a train for Spiez over the old route, worked by BLS sets 535 102/106.  The old line is popular with walkers and we picked up a good crowd at the stations on the ascent who had walked down the Lötschberg trail from Goppenstein. I got out at Spiez and then, would you believe, it was 460 011 in charge again back to Interlaken!

Sunday 26 September: It was time to move on again, to Rapperswil on the Zürichsee.  There are a number of ways of getting from Interlaken to Rapperswil and I decided on the Brünig line to Luzern and then the Voralpen Express to Rapperswil.  Firstly it was a 5-minute run on an ICE set from Interlaken West to Ost.  The ICEs have always run with their 1st class vehicles at the rear going towards Ost and it is be probable that SBB have decided that their IR trains will now run the same way round.  Pity the poor 1st classers trudging to the end of a 14-vehicle train at West!  

At Ost 101 966 arrived with a train from Luzern and ran round to take the 1004 service out as far as Meiringen, where 101 963 was waiting to take the train over the pass and on to Luzern, an enjoyable run as always.  New stock is planned for the Zentralbahn to replace the loco-hauled Golden Pass trains, presumably the eight 101s will find a new owner.


The Voralpen Express is a joint SOB/SBB venture with SOB providing the stock in the form of its five-coach push-pull sets and also its class 456 for some of the diagrams.  SBB supply 2 Re4/4ii to the workings with 11143 and 11222 doing the honours during the time I was at Rapperwil.  It was the former loco which was at the rear of the train leaving Luzern, using the Lakeside line via Kussnacht-am-Rigi.  When the tunnels at Luzern were being improved in the mid 1990s these services were diverted to run via Rotkreuz but were put back to their old route as soon as the improvements were complete, however the Gotthard line trains, which were switched at the same time continue via Rotkreuz to this day. At Arth-Goldau a northbound freight with a Re20/20 combination ran in as we were leaving.


Then it was up the 1 in 20 and down the other side to Pfäffikon finally along the causeway to Rapperswil where arrival, needless to say, was on time.  Accommodation was four nights at the Best Western Hotel Speer, which is right opposite the station.
Rapperswil station has seven platforms, 1-5 long enough to accommodate 3x450 sets or 3 of the newer 514 sets, while 6-7, which is the island nearest the water, are much shorter. At the western end of the station the various lines coalesce into a single track making its way along the causeway towards Pfäffikon.  

The main service is the hourly Voralpen express, and the remaining services using the station are Zürich S-Bahn S5 which comes through from Pfäffikon to Rafz or Niederwenigen, and the terminating services S7 which goes to Winterthur via the lakeside through Meilen and S15 which runs to Affoltern-am-Albis.  The last two are both operated by SBB's new Class 514 which have now all been delivered.  In the opposite direction SOB runs a service to Einsiedeln using its batch of Flirt emus numbered 526 041-051.  A new batch of these are now on order which may displace the loco-hauled Voralpen Express. 

Another service goes to Ziegelbrücke and is worked by SBB Class 560 Kolibri sets, on this day two of the services were being worked by 561 001/003 which have lost their duties into Germany and will eventually be converted back to standard 560s. 

Monday 25 September: First part of the day's outing was a religious trip (!) to see the monastery at Einsiedeln.  SOB 526 041 was waiting at Rapperswil for the run across the causeway to Pfäffikon before taking to the hills to call at Wollerau and Samstagern (where one of the SOB depots is) and then the junction station at Biberbrugg. From there it is just a short run uphill to Einsiedeln.

Having seen what I wanted to see and taken a few photos (outside!) I took the other service to terminate at Einsiedeln, the half-hourly Wadenswil (SOB 526 047).  This goes back to Samstagern before turning left and plunging downhill at 1 in 20 max to Wadenswil which is on the Zürich-Chur line but one stop of the IR trains nearer Zürich than Pfäffikon. An S2 line train arrived at the opposite platform and I took this via the old line into Zürich HB. S2 is one of the two services (S8 is the other) which reverses in the main bit of the HB before going on to Effretikon near Winterthur, and uses platforms 51-54, which were created a few years ago when the main platforms were being reconstructed and extended, and are a positive country mile from the main concourse.  

Afterwards I decided to sample S14 to Hinwil which is the only one of the S-Bahn DD services to terminate in Zürich HB and has been converted to Class 514.  It leaves the HB and runs via Wipkingen and Oerlikon, where some massive reconstruction of trackwork is on-going, before branching off and going via Uster to a junction at Wetzikon. A short single-track branch then goes to the terminus at Hinwil, from where a tourist railway continues on to Bauma on the Rüti-Winterthur line.  Nothing much seemed to be happening here, perhaps this line only operates at weekends? 

I returned to Wetzikon on the same set (514 031) before transferring to an S5 service which is the traditional Class 450 plus stock.  These sets are looking a bit dated now, when seen alongside the 514s, but still form the majority of the services.  450 067/070 plus their stock have been sold to the SZU with six more sets to go there later.

Having reached Zürich HB low level via the 3-mile Zürichberg tunnel and Stadelhofen I decided to sample tram line 10 which was extended from its previous terminus at Oerlikon out to the airport in 2009.  This line uses the new 3000 series vehicles, some in an alternative livery.  The extension beyond Oerlikon uses reserved track for most of the way.  Methinks the Edinburghers should visit Zürich and see how that city builds tram-lines, in view of the imbroglio involving trams in Edinburgh! 

The trip out to the airport takes 35 min and from there I went downstairs to get S2 out to Effretikon before coming back on the S7 which goes to Rapperswil.  This line has single track sections in the Kloten area and again along the lakeside so cannot be an easy line to work.  I went across to Pfäffikon to watch some peak-hour workings, RJ162 (1116 209/210) passing Zürich-wards soon after I arrived and there was also some freight including two Ae 6/6 and HGK 185 586 heading west. This way be the return working of the train I saw at Weil the previous Friday, I presume it goes to Buchs as I have never seen class 185 of any description at Chur.

Tuesday 28 September: There are two narrow-gauge lines within the boundaries of Zürich.  One is the Forchbahn which exits the city from Stadelhofen via the urban tram tracks, and the other is BDWM Transport from Dietikon to Wohlen in the western suburbs.  I had decided to do the latter, and so started with a Line S5 train as far as Wetzikon, changing there to S3 which serves Dietikon on its way to Aarau. It calls at Ruti which is the southern terminus of a Thurbo service to Winterthur, then at a place called Pfäffikon in Canton Zürich which is not to be confused with the better known Pfäffikon in Canton Schwyz. 

It then goes via Effretikon and the Zürichberg Tunnel to the HB and thence parallel to the Zürich-Bern/Basel lines to Dietikon which is next to the eastern access to Limattal yard.  The narrow gauge tracks are on the south side of the station.  The BDWM used to have a standard gauge operation including some freight but this ceased in 2007.  A half-hourly service to Wohlen is provided using the new Stadler emus which are still being delivered, and the existing stock also runs shorter services to Bremgarten West.  It was unit 5003 providing this particular service and after leaving the station it goes along the street for a bit before taking to road-side running.  It follows the road religiously up hill and down dale as far as Bremgarten, this resulting in gradients as steep as 1 in 19, and a hairpin bend or two. 

At Bremgarten the standard gauge appears and the track is mixed gauge from here to the terminus at Wohlen.  The tracks leave the roadside and climb through the trees before descending to the terminus at Wohlen.  This is on the Lenzburg-Rotkreuz line and is passed by Gotthard line freight.  There is another service to Othmarsingen operated by Class 560 and I took this to its terminus. 

Othmarsingen is at the intersection of the Zürich-Bern and the line used by Gotthard freight, and is a busy spot for passenger and freight.  It is also not the quietest place in the world, the adjacent motorway junction sees to that!  A variety of motive power was seen including Crossrail 185 599 and Ae6/6 11426 before I took a train to Brugg and then to Olten.  540 019, which now belongs to the OeBB came past before 11111 arrived with the train to Olten.  It again is a noisy place but at least the noise is railway-related!  In the time I was there there was plenty of activity including some Ae6/6. 610 496 and 11495 sat at the head of Platform 8 for about half an hour before shuffling off, probably in search of some freight to haul. There were ICE sets and a Cisalpino ETR 610 set to add some variety to the predominance of Class 460 and again on the freight side two Crossrail Re4/4iii 436 111/115 went through.

Eventually time came to leave and I joined a service formed of a pair of Class 540 topping and tailing six vehicles.  There are still about 50 of these units in service working peak hour services around Zürich.  However there is a batch of DD Stadler emus on order for the Zürich S-Bahn to be known as Class 511 which are being delivered early in 2011, which may spell the end for the Class 540s.   I took this train to its terminus at Wettingen, one station east of Baden, before changing to an S12 to Zürich HB low level and finally S5 back to Rapperswil.

Wednesday 29 September: For my last full day in Switzerland I decided on a trip to Austria!! I had passed through Innsbruck in 1999 but not since, so I was going to make use of the Railjet service from Sargans.   460 088 was in charge of the 07.47 Basel-Chur from Pfäffikon to Sargans.  RJ163 arrived about 12 minutes later with 1116 204 at the head and 1116 217 in the middle of the train.  We left Sargans via the loop constructed in 1980 to eliminate one of the two reversals which Austria-bound trains then had to make within 20 minutes of each other.  

At Buchs we found that the Zürich-bound Railjet was 10min late so we had to wait until it cleared the single line and arrived in the station with 1116 205. We then left Buchs at the end we had come in at, turning sharp left and crossing the Rhein to enter Liechtenstein.  Poor Vaduz! The capital of the Principality doesn't even have its own station, sharing it with the neighbouring village of Schaan, and it is served only by local trains.  It takes about 10 minutes to pass through Liechtenstein and the first stop in Austria is at Feldkirch. 

We then continued on double track to Bludenz where there is a large allocation of Class 4024 and there was also a glimpse af a former Kolibri set in bright colours. From Bludenz the line singles and we progressed up a 1 in 40 gradient through ever-wilder scenery to the west end of the 6 mile-long Arlberg tunnel which is double track.  At St. Anton the route becomes single again descending steeply and passing from Vorarlberg into Tirol before Otztal where double track resumes for the remaining distance into Innsbruck.  We ran into Innsbruck past the junction for Italy and the shed after a journey of 2hr 12 min.  

Innsbruck Hbf has seven through platforms and four west-facing bays.  There is also an avoiding line coming from the shed which joins the main line at the east end of the Hbf.  Long-distance traffic is usually operated by the various varieties of Taurus locos although 1144 occasionally appears, while local services to such places as Wörgl and Brennero are the preserve of class 4024 which took over from class 4020 some years ago.  One service bound for Italy was hauled by Mitsui black 189 989.  There is also a DB presence in the form of RE/RB services to/from München which are operated by Class 111 at the Innsbruck end of the train.  The freight traffic seen was all to/from the Arlberg direction and again produced a mixture of Taurus/1144.  Freight bound for Italy leaves the main line at Fritzens-Wattens four stations to the east of Innsbruck and passes to the south of the city through the 8-mile long Inntal tunnel before joining the Brenner line at Unterberg-Stefansbrücke, the first station out of Innsbruck (I might have had time to go to Jenbach or wherever to see this traffic). 

Eventually it was time to go home, using an IC service to Bregenz double-headed by 1116 136/144.   It was a pleasant return trip in the late afternoon sunshine.  I decamped at Feldkirch to catch 4024 027 forming a stopper to Buchs, then it was 11140 to Sargans where I felt my way through the building site to Platform 2 for a train to Pfäffikon headed by 460 003.  Finally 450 002 was at the rear of an S5 back along the causeway to Rapperswil.

Thursday 30 September: Time to leave Switzerland and head for Konigswinter in the Rhein Valley. EC100 Chur to Hamburg calls at Pfäffikon at 10.19 and arrived on time with 460 047, and the 1st class coaches at the front.  This service makes all the stops of the semi-fast Chur-Basel as far as Zürich from where it then runs fast to Basel.  11157 was at the head of the train on this leg.  We were held up on the Olten avoider to allow 401 088, forming ICE374 from Interlaken Ost to Berlin Hbf, to get in front of us. 

At Basel 101 104 backed on to what had been the rear of the train before we set off into Germany.  Work on the new NBS between Basel and Freiburg is proceeding steadily.    Motive power seen on the way to Koblenz was much as expected except the sighting of a Class 145 in blue livery at Karlsruhe bearing the number 145 030-7 on its ends.  This loco belongs to the Pressnitztalbahn and has the computer number 7 to distinguish it from the real 145 030 which has the correct computer number 3.  The EVN of the false loco is 145 085.

We got into Koblenz on time and were able to catch the 1618 to Königswinter despite the Platform 4 escalator not working.  143 263 was at the head and we passed a private 146 520 besides a number of other things before entry into Königswinter on time at 1709. Accommodation was six nights at the Hotel Bergischer Hof.

Alan Baxter reporting on his journeys in September 2009.

Friday 18 September: 08.34 Eurostar London to Brussels. The Paris train leaves at 08.32 and was called at 08.06, with the Brussels 2 minutes later, so there were two sets of passengers on the ramps for platforms 7-8 at the same time. I don’t ever recall trains leaving from adjacent platforms so close together at Waterloo.


Transit of tunnel and on to Brussels uneventful with 3 min early arrival. A loco numbered 2802 was in the carriage sidings at Brussels, this is the second loco to have carried this number, the original being one of 3 locos built in 1949 and spent much of its time on station pilot duties at Brussels Midi before withdrawal in 1997 (and is preserved somewhere, I believe?). Then on to Namur in Break unit 406, much less opulent than the AM96 sets which work the services on the opposite half-hour. Single line working between La Hulpe and Ottignies. Arrival at Namur on time and then one night’s stay at the Grande Hotel de Flandres opposite the station.

Afterwards I viewed the passing traffic from Platforms 4/5. Platforms 10/11 were operating as bays accessible from the east end only, while the starter at Platform 5 has been relocated on the platform but the track still veers away from the platform 100 yards from the end. It was fairly busy with some freight on the Athus-Meuse line, the interesting workings occurring during the peak period when we get loco-hauled workings to Arlon, Jemelle etc. One train for Dinant was 2750 with 6 DD coaches which had 2755 coupled behind with 5 more DD coaches going to Liers,and so were split off at Namur. There were only 2 freight workings seen coming from Line 162.

Saturday 19 September: “One of our locos is missing”. EC91 has become a through train to Chur this year and duly turned up behind 2004 departing 08.41. Stockem Yard had 4xClass 55 in the main bit and a line of Nohabs adjacent to the depot. Arlon station did not have the usual collection of freight locos, there were 3x23, 2x77, 2x20 and 2x13. There was two-way working over the Luxembourg-bound track from Arlon to the border, while the other track is being re-electrified. At Luxembourg there was no sign of the SNCF loco meant to take over – normally EC91 gets the loco off EC296 but that had not been seen either. A delay ensued until they found an engine for us and eventually 26165 appeared and coupled up before leaving 52 down. Thionville was stacked out with 27000/37000, as it was a Saturday, including a Veolia example 37515. Slow running on right-hand pair of tracks from Thionville as far as the entrance to Woippy yard before crossing to fast tracks. No time was gained on the remainder of the French leg and at Mulhouse it was announced that we were terminating at Basel. No freight locos at Mulhouse Ville, and the loco-hauled 16500 sets have been replaced by some of the later examples of Z27500.
So I had to get out at Basel 50 late, but I could now sample the new accelerated service to Chur. At the last timetable change two through services were introduced to Chur, one leaving Basel at XX.33 and running fast to Zürich then stopping only at Sargans and Landquart to take 139 minutes to cover the 129 miles from Basel. The other service is a semifast leaving at XX.47 making 4 stops before Zürich and 7 afterwards, 176 minutes to Chur. Timings from Zürich are as last year. There are two exceptions to this, EC7 runs as per the previous timetable, non-stop Basel-Zürich and then semi-fast beyond, and EC100 is the same in the opposite direction. 460 115 did the honours with a mixture of SD & DD and a surprise was the amount of noise barriers which have been erected in the last year, not as tall as some of the DB examples. Arrival into Chur was at 1752, which was only 9 minutes later than if EC91 had run on time throughout! Then it was 4 nights at the Hotel Freieck in Chur’s Old Town.

Sunday 20 September: Still on the lookout for border crossings, I had discovered another one across the Rhein between Koblenz and Waldshut in the north of the country. To get there I had to take a Chur-St. Gallen train which was hauled by 11198, one of the six examples which had an ÖBB pantograph fitted many years ago to allow it access to Lindau. Buchs has become a weekend gathering point for motive power and there were several SBB and ÖBB locos sitting in the yard. At St. Gallen I changed to a Genève train hauled by 460 051 as far as Winterthur. Winterthur-Bülach is Zürich S-Bahn service S41, alternate trains being extended to Waldshut. This service is Thurbo-operated and another of this company’s tentacles extends north of Schaffhausen to Thayngen. 526 761 formed the 12.36 to Waldshut, which runs initially parallel to Winterthur-Zürich on the 3rd track which was laid a few years ago, before bearing off to the right, passing some suburban back gardens and some industrial premises before running into hilly country. It passes through the mile-long Dettenberg Tunnel before swinging round to enter Bülach, on the Zürich-Schaffhausen line. Bülach is another stabling point and a good collection of Re4/4 and Re6/6 were sitting idle waiting for Monday’s traffic – used to be Ae6/6 stabled here! From Bülach the Waldshut train continues towards Schaffhausen for two stops to Eglisau, where it bears left while the main line singles to cross the most impressive viaduct. Now also on single line we trundle along with the Rhein on the right and eventually enter Koblenz. As far as I can see the only thing it has in common with its much larger German namesake is that both are beside the Rhein. Once upon a time it was possible to continue on to Stein-Sackingen but this line is freight-only as far as Laufenburg, which is the terminus of Basel S-Bahn S1. To access Waldshut involves a reverse and swing to the right over a line which was electrified only about 10 years ago, then curving to the left through a tunnel, passing over the Eglisau-Koblenz line and then the Rhein, before rising to run alongside the non-electrified Schaffhausen-Basel Bad line terminating at a buffer-stop at the end of Platform 5, an extension of Platform 1. Customs were not operating and so I was free to wander about. Services are mostly DB class 641 single car dmus, helped out by Class 628 two car sets, all based at Haltingen. There is also a 2-hourly IRE service Basel Bad-Ulm which is operated by Class 611 tilting sets. These gave no end of trouble when introduced on Basel-Lindau in 1998, replacing a class 218+stock service, and from time to time emergency timetables had to be introduced to cater for tilt failure. From 2005 the service has run to Ulm instead of Lindau with passengers for the latter place having to change at Friedrichshafen. From Waldshut I returned to civilisation on 526 720, which goes back to Koblenz and then on to Baden. It joins the Baden-Brugg line at Turgi before running into Baden and an S12 service got me back to Zürich HB low level. Upstairs platforms 6-7 are currently out of use. A refurbished 560 set numbered 560 202, which is one of the Glarus line sets, was seen before EC101 arrived to take me back to Chur. A former RM set, 526 262, now under BLS management, was an unusual sight at Wadenswil.

Monday 21 September: To Tirano today, by ordinary train rather than the Bernina Express which as usual was fully booked. The train to St. Moritz was headed by RhB 641. At Thusis there was an Engineering train double-headed by701 and 243 the latter a shy beast which has escaped my notice until now. The Landwasser Viaduct is undergoing repairs to its structure and is shrouded in red material until the works are complete (end 2009 I believe). Similar work is going on at one of the Albula viaducts between the Tuoa and Zuondra Tunnels, this time the covering is white rather than red. Bergun/Bravuogn station is wearing its alternative name of Madruns again, which it was given for the film The Directrix which was shot about 10 years ago centred on the village. Could we be getting The Directrix 2? At Samedan I caught the connection to Pontresina (RhB622) where there was a train bound for Tirano, but with only one motorcoach(RhB55) and consequently a reduced loading which led to overcrowding, at least as far as Poschiavo. The trip was as wonderful as ever and was blessed with fine weather and I noted that the Bernina motive power was six pairs and two singles. No sign of 52, 54 or 801. At Tirano E633 208 was at the head of a freight train in the platforms in the FS station. The platforms form a kind of headshunt for incoming freight and they have to start from there in order to get out.
Return journey was in one of the motorcoaches (51) of the St. Moritz version of the Bernina express which acts more like a local train than either the Chur or Davos trains. 622 was again the Samedan shuttle and 619 completed the run back to Chur. Considerable tree felling has taken place at the bottom of the spirals and approaching the top portal of the Rugnux Tunnel it was possible to see away down beyond Muot loop on the other side of the valley, and a train approaching the loop from Bergun. We were still at the loop before it and sat quietly for 30sec while 705 passed on its way uphill. There was a new track machine numbered RhB92020 (is this the new numbering system) in the sidings at Reichenau-Tamins and back at Chur one of the SOB Re4/4IV sat at the head of a train of postal containers. The nearest point of the SOB to Chur is at Pfaffikon, 54 miles distant!

Tuesday 22 September: It was off to Weil-am-Rhein, near Basel, today, to see whether there had been any changes in workings since this time last year. 460 014 plus DD stock formed the 08.09 to Basel. At Basel I got an S6 (Class 521) round to Basel Bad, these services now run half-hourly before going off to Lorrach etc. Then it was a short hop in DD stock pushed by 146 110 to Weil. There appears to be less going into the yard nowadays and more passing by on the main line, much of this through traffic was SBB Class 482 and Crossrail’s fleet of Class 185. In the middle of this year, Class 145 was put on Rhein Valley freight, and several examples of this class, previously unknown in Basel, were noted. Other classes seen were Class 152 and DBs own 185s, mostly from the batch approved for Switzerland, and a 189 Dispolok, 189 998, also appeared. Curiously DB Class 189 has not been noted here although the Dispolok version is a regular visitor. No diesels were seen on containers, but it may have been the wrong time of day for these as they were certainly seen later on (see Konigswinter notes). Passenger traffic was ICE1 and ICE3, with the occasional Class 101, with Class 146.1 on the hourly Offenburgs and Class 111 on the occasional RB to Freiburg.
Return to Chur was in EC101 which I got on at Basel Bad, 101 121 as far as the SBB station and Re4/4II beyond.

Wednesday 23 September. Change of base today, using first of all the Glacier Express at 11.38 off Chur. 648 was in charge of the first leg, taking 12 well-filled vehicles non-stop to Disentis, where the train divided and MGN1, one of the former BVZ locos but identical to 101-108 which normally work this route, backed onto the front portion which then stopped only at Andermatt to pick/up set down, although there were other stops too, for crossing purposes. Again the weather was wonderful (I seem to have been lucky with the weather on this trip in recent years) and arrival in Brig, over the new faster approach, was on time at 15.23. That left me 13 minutes to catch the train to Spiez via the pass (who would ever want to go through the base tunnel except someone in a hurry), which was formed of 2 of the new BLS Class 535 emu stock. The pass route is a favourite one for walkers and a large crowd of them squeezed on board at stations such as Ausserberg and Hohtenn, so that we were quite full by Goppenstein at the top of the hill.
At Spiez there was a wait of about 15min until 460 014 showed up with the Basel-Interlaken, regrettably running the wrong way round as some trains on this route are scheduled to do. I got out at Interlaken West as I was going up to Wilderswil and the No 5 postbus is more convenient for the village than the BOB. Then it was 4 nights at the wonderful Hotel Baren.

Thursday 24 September: Although Interlaken West has a crossing loop, most trains use Platform 1 going east and west. The crossing moves are between stopping trains each hour, and the IR trains cross at the three other loops between here and Spiez. It was off to Olten today to see some freight, and the first bit of activity was a few minutes after leaving Interlaken. 11502, with Tm9656 on the other end, was heading a short freight at Darlingen. 460 053 was the motive power with Mark IV stock to Olten. This major junction has plenty of traffic, passenger and freight, going through it plus movements on and off the depot. Part of the carriage works seem to have closed and the two tiny shunters which operated at the traverser are no more. Anybody expecting to see long trains with Ae6/6 power would have been disappointed. Only one such, with 11469 in front, came through and only eight examples of the class appeared in the 4 hours I was there. Many of the freights have gone over to Re4/4 or Re6/6 haulage and some of the new BLS 486s passed. A pair of DB class 185 passed as did two Crossrail machines of the same class and two of Crossrails Re4/4III, formerly RM, were at the head of another freight. The passenger side was mostly class 460, with Re4/4II on trains between Basel and Luzern. Class 522, which SNCF refused to accept because of crashworthiness aspects (do they still have their 25KV equipment?) are sharing Basel S-Bahn services with Class 521, and a class 523, which looks identical to 521/522 but is only configured for working within Switzerland, arrived with a stopper from Luzern. Return to Interlaken was again in Mark IV stock with 460 076 at the rear. 11502 was now in the sidings at Thun, where it remained for the next 2 days.

Friday 25 September: Pratteln was the intended viewing place today to see what was going over the Gotthard. 460 076 was in charge to Basel and 610 508 was on a freight at Thun. Basel now has platforms numbered up to 17, the highest-numbered being east-facing terminal platforms next to the through freight lines. There was a reminder of Great Britain as the SBB staff tried and failed to get 522 004 and 521 026 to couple together, and eventually I left them and went to Platform 1 to get to Pratteln within 521 025. It must have been a quiet period because activity was hardly what might be called constant. There was some interest in a pair of Crossrail 186s, 902/903, and there was also 185 595/7 which have Crossrail branding, and one SNCF 37000, but no Ae6/6 so eventually I shuffled off to Olten again to see if there were any more of these venerable machines about. No such luck, but something even more venerable in the form of a 2-10-0 52 8055 which ran in from the Upper Hauenstein direction with a 3-coach special. There were only 4 Ae6/6 seen this time with 11480 at Langenthal on the way back to Bern via the old main line. 460 064 was the motive power to Interlaken.

Saturday 26 September: To Langenthal to ride the branch line of the ASM to St. Urban, having done the main line from Solothurn via Niederbipp at this time last year. 460 064 to Bern, and then after a visit to the bear-pits (currently closed while the new bears are being quarantined) and a bowl of soup from the underground restaurant, 460 079 with DD stock to Langenthal. The ASM island platform is on the north side of the station, and one of their new twin-car articulated sets 110 was forming the branch shuttle. The branch is so short (about 4 miles) that two return trips can be done in an hour. It leaves the platform and runs past the depot, and a short distance further on it branches off to the right. It passes an industrial estate then crosses over the top of the line from Olten, and leaves the built-up area behind, but only briefly as we enter Roggwil and then St. Urban, where alternate trains terminate. My train ran on a couple of hundred yards further to the terminus at Ziegelei where there is a stabling point.
Back at Langenthal there were two Ae6/6, 11453 and 11507, sitting in the station area, and I got on another DD set with 460 083 as far as Olten, to circle back via the Pied de Jura line. Normally the stopping trains on this line are Class 560 but this was hauled stock with 11299 which was going as far as Biel. ASMs standard gauge shunter numbered 837 826 was working at Oensingen and then at Biel a line of Ae6/6, headed by 11510, occupied the road in the yard nearest to the main lines. However there were some SBB Cargo liveried examples among the red and green locos, and it was deduced that these were working locos and they would be gone on Monday. From Biel another stopping train (560 048) got me to Neuchatel and a pair of NINA sets BLS 525 031/014 took me back to Bern. A stop at Kerzers added a third NINA in front of the other two, there are now 38 of these sets, some of them 4-section, after the BLS bought the two sets previously with the TRN. From Bern it was 460 044 back to Interlaken.

Sunday 27 September: Time to move on, next destination Luzern. After 5 minutes in an ICE set, 101 967 was at the head of the Golden Pass stock. Alternate through services to Luzern have this branding. It is a pretty run along Lake Brienz and I noted BRB12 in steam at Brienz. 101 964 came onto what had been the rear of the train at Meiringen for the rack section up to Brunig-Hasliberg, and down the other side to Giswil, another bit great for scenery, before some faster running past the bottom of the Pilatusbahn, through the tunnel to Hergiswil and finally down into Luzern. Accommodation was 2 nights at the Waldstatterhof (an Alkohol-frei establishment!) adjacent to the station.
A wee circular trip was done afterward, firstly on 523 014, one of a new batch of these sets which operate stopping trains to Brunnen, and to Sursee on the line to Basel. We went via the lakeside line stopping at the new station on the Wurzenbach loop which serves the Transport Museum, and then on to Arth-Goldau. This is an interchange point for fast and semi-fast Gotthard services. On alternate hours an ICN set comes from Basel via Luzern and exchanges passengers with a hauled set which has come from Zürich. The former then goes on to Lugano stopping only at Bellinzona while the latter has Locarno as its terminus, calling at principal stations en route. On intermediate hours the provenance of the trains switches. A train to Zürich was taken with 11116, and then on to Basel with 460 009, via Brugg and Rheinfelden., and to complete the circuit a fast train back to Luzern was headed by 11247. This was a through train to Locarno, which gets to Luzern in 62 minutes stopping only at Olten. There is a second hourly service to Luzern, which is an extension of the previous service from Basel to Zofingen which was provided in 2004 when the NBS opened.

Monday 28 September: I decided to do a trip to Lugano today, where I had not been for a few years, to see what the freight situation was on the Gotthard. 11152 brought in the train from Basel, and a sister loco came on the other end. The Gotthard line services leave the Luzern area via Rotkreuz, as they have done since 1996, although this is about 5 miles longer than the lakeside line via Kussnacht. Two new stations have opened before Rotkreuz, one of them with the enigmatic name of Root D4, which serves a technology park. At Arth-Goldau there was a delay waiting for a FS ETR470 set forming a train to Milano, the ICN to Lugano was behind that, and the Locarno, which I decided to remain with as I was not in a hurry, followed third in the queue. Freight heading north was not excessive. There were 2 of the BLS class 486 on shed at Erstfeld – since when has Erstfeld become a BLS shed? The mountain section via Goschenen was wonderful as always and one wonders what services will operate this route from 2017 when the base tunnel opens. There will obviously have to be something to cater for the walkers and cyclists who abound on this route. At Biasca there was the unwelcome sight of approximately 25 Ae6/6 in a line, awaiting a call to the breakers. In no particular order, I noted 11458/505/490/504/515/432/497/431/465/454/511/441/515/444/445/476/443 which makes 17 but there were others. Does anybody have the full list?


The train was about 20 min late into Bellinzona where I got out and awaited a connection to Lugano which was formed of one of the ICN sets which has been drafted onto this route from Biel-Konstanz. Lugano was hot and there did not appear to be much freight about, perhaps it was all going via Luino. Return to Bellinzona was in one of the Class 524 TILO sets which look exactly like Classes 521-523 but are fitted with a 3000v DC pantograph for working into Italy. Back at Bellinzona the first item to appear was single railcar 1021, the Red Arrow, which was on an excursion to Locarno. Sharing some duties with Class 524 were some of the most recent examples of Class 523, and Class 560, and 484 018 passed with a freight. No 474s were noted. 11116 appeared with the service to Luzern and waiting in the loop north of the station was a container train double-headed by a loco numbered E484 902 and 185 572. Again southbound freight was at a premium until we got to the Brunnen area where 610 447 was waiting to proceed. There was also a train double-headed by DB 185 and Ae4/7 10997 was sitting in a siding. Other freights were at Arth-Goldau and Rotkreuz.

Tuesday 29 September: My last Swiss resort was Lausanne, which is easy enough to get to from Luzern as since 2004 there is a through service to Genève Aeroport operating via Zofingen and the NBS to Bern. 460 050 was providing power to Mark 4 stock from the rear. An Ae6/6, 11456, was shunting at Sursee. At Puidoux-Chexbres, at the top of the 1 in 55 down to Lausanne there is the sudden panorama of the lakeside villages and the lake with the mountains of France behind, another of these views of which Switzerland has so many. Accommodation was 2 nights at the Hotel Ala Gare, a short walk from the station.
I sampled the new Metro on my way up to have a look at the cathedral. It is a very smart operation where there are doors to the platform and access is denied until the train has arrived and come to a stand. Later I took the standard gauge TSOL round to Renens, the stock on this DC line is similar to that operating Genève-La Plaine. I watched the traffic at Renens for a while and noted that none of the newly refurbished Class 560 sets are yet in traffic, although there are odd vehicles sitting in the sidings at Lausanne (and at Olten!).
Though most of the local services are Class 560 there are some peak-hour extras with Re4/4II and 11203, 11158 and 11180 were performing such duties.

Thursday 1 October: It was time to leave Switzerland and make for Konigswinter in the Rheinland of Germany. The first part of the journey, Lausanne-Basel was in an ICN set at 0845 off Lausanne. At Yverdon there was a newly refurbished Kolibri set sitting in the yard. This had TRAVYS logos and I assume that this is one of the two sets sold to the PBr in 1989 and renumbered 568 384/5, which I note have been returned to CFF stock and have acquired the numbers 560 384/5. At Biel the line of Ae6/6 which had been there on the previous Saturday had gone. A Dispolok 182 600 passed the other way with a freight.
At Basel 11143 eventually arrived with EC101 and I joined the train as 101 084 coupled to the other end before making off into Germany.

Visit Report June 2010. Roger Sanders reporting.
DFB : The final stretch of the original line, Oberwald-Gletsch, is advertised to be reopened 20/08. For the remainder of the 2010 season there will be no through services over the entire route. Instead Realp-Gletsch will continue to operate with one round trip per day FSaSuO, while Oberwald-Gletsch will offer 3 round trips per day also FSaSuO. Over both sections the season last day is 03/10. The Oberwald-Gletsch shuttles may be steam or diesel operated.

On 25/06 Roger Sanders took the Postbus from Oberwald up to Gletsch (beware Zuschlag added to Swiss Pass) which climbs, complete with hairpin bends necessitating the bus driver blowing the posthorn, alongside the line for most of the journey. The relaid track appears to be rack throughout. Its most spectacular feature is the climb through a spiral tunnel. Down at Oberwald the main works in hand were installing the level crossing with inlaid Abt rack across the busy Furka Pass road, also a new turntable was partially complete. As yet there are no buildings to house any DFB stock. The new service will terminate alongside Oberwald MGB Bf on the south side but at the time of the visit, 8 weeks to opening, there appear to be no facilities for DFB passengers.

Visit Report. Alan Baxter reporting.
Sunday 19 September 2010: Today's project was to have a look at the Koblenz-Waldshut border crossing.
First stage was Chur to St. Gallen. This IR service is one of the few not push-pull or operated by Class 460. 11220 was at the head opf thr train to St. Gallen. At Sargans the Buchs line platforms are being reconstructed following on from similar work on the Zurich line platforms a year or two ago. Beyond Rohrschach doubling is taking place towards St. Fiden.
460 108 plus DD stock was the train from St. Gallen as far as Winterthur.

The Waldshut trains are part of S-Bahn service S41 and go from platform 9. They are formed of Thurbo sets and 526 757 was doing the honours on this occasion. It leaves Winterthur running parallel to the Zurich line before branching off to the right, passing some suburban back gardens and some industrial premises before climbing at 1 in 40 to the mile-long Dettenberg Tunnel. Upon exit it then drops down to the junction station at Bulach on the Zurich-Schaffhausen line. A year or two back Bulach was a weekend meeting point for Ae6/6 but instead there was a gathering of Re4/4 and Re6/6. Alternate services from Winterthur extend to Waldshut and we continued a short distance to Eglisau on the line towards Schaffhausen, then going straight on where the main line turns right over the high viaduct across the Rhein.

We continued to Koblenz with the river visible on the right, running into the platforms at Koblenz where there is a meeting of Thurbo services every 30min. The train then reversed, continuing over a section of line electrified only ten years ago, swinging to the right then back left through a tunnel and crossing over the line we had just come in on, then crossing the Rhein and rising to run alongside Schaffhausen-Basel Bad before entering Waldshut where the line terminates at a bufferstop at the extension of Platform 1. There is an indirect connection between the line from Koblenz and the DB tracks.The DB bit of the station is not electrified and services are worked by Class 641 plus two-hourly IRE services to/from Ulm which are Class 611. Passengers for Lindau need to change at Friedrichshafen Stadt. Return to civilisation was in another Thurbo set 526 735 to Baden. Once upon a time it was possible to go from Koblenz to Stein-Sackingen but this line is freight-only as far as Laufenburg which is the terminus of Basel line S1.

Return to Zurich was in a 450 set on service S12, and then I caught EC101 back to Chur.
EC162 from Vienna was running through as we made our stop at Thalwil, this is now a Railjet service and was formed of two of OBBs 6 coach(7 coach?) sets in dark red livery with matching Taurus loco. 1116 207 was in the middle of the train with 1116 223 at the rear. At Landquart two of RhBs new Allegra sets 3506/8 were in the yard.

Monday 20 September: To Tirano today but not in the Bernina Express which was full as usual. I followed behind in the St. Moritz service which had 642 for haulage. On the way out of Chur we passed 3507 in the yard. These new dual-voltage Allegra sets will number 15 in the current batch being delivered and will take over Bernina services, the Arosa line and Landquart-Davos, thus allowing retirement of motor-coaches 41-49 and the Ge4/4 601-610. Another five sets, this time 11kV ac only, will run the Thusis-Chur-Landquart-Schiers S-Bahn service and allow motor-coaches 511-516 to be withdrawn.

There were none of the new sets visible as far as Pontresina. Bergun/Bravuogn is again wearing the alternative name Madruns which it had when a film was being made centred on the village about 12 years ago - perhaps a follow-up is being made? Beyond Bergun an amount of tree-felling has been done thus revealing some of the various levels of track on the way up to Preda. At Samedan the shuttle to Pontresina was formed of 608 and at this place 3504 was waiting at the head of six coaches forming a service to Tirano. These new sets therefore fulfill the function of a pair of the previous motor coaches and they still have to run round the stock at the terminals. I noted the first 5 of these new sets out and about, all except 3501 having a trailing load - this one was passed at Brusio. The remaining services were headed by two pairs of 41-49 and a pair of 51-56. The Allegras are not as noisy as the sets they have replaced!


Tirano FS station contained two ALe 803 emus running local services to Sondrio and a freight headed by E652 154 arrived before it was time for the return journey within motor-coach 49, paired with 44, at the head of the St. Moritz version of the Bernina Express. There was some late running on the way back and after the shuttle to Samedan (608 again) 626 was waiting impatiently at the head of the train for Chur but it made all the lateness up by the time we rolled into the capital of the Graubunden. There was an SOB class 446, which is ex SBB Re4/4iv, at the head of a train at the mail platform in Chur. A grand day out.

Tuesday 21 September: To Weil-am-Rhein, a suburb of Basel, to see some freight. 460 011 was at the head of a train of SD stock. On the way to Basel we passed a pair of ICN sets running in the timing of one of the xx33 services Basel-Chur. I took 521 030 round to Basel Bad and then DD stock with 146 112 the short distance to Weil. There is a proposal afoot to link Weil to the Basel tram system. When I first visted this location in 1997 the yard was busy with freight coming and going and comparatively little went through on the main line to/from Muttenz.

Nowadays most of the freight bypasses the yard and there is much less coming in to change locos. Much of the freight traffic was headed by Class 185 owned by Crossrail and there was also presence of class 145 which was not known in the area before December 2008. Class 145 has taken over the workings which were previously class 155 and some of the Class 151 workings too. There was also a brand-new Mitsui 189 286 , 185 684 with Railpool logos and Rail4Chem 185 563. Local passenger traffic was Class 146.1 but 146 239 appeared on one diagram. Back at Basel SBB later EC101 was adrift somewhere and so SBB had provided an Ersatzzug to run in the timings of the missing train, 1647 off Basel complete with 12 vehicles and Class 460 loco. OBB 1116 207/209 came past with RJ162 (formerly EC162) while we were making the stop at Wadenswil.

Wednesday 22 September: It was time to leave Chur and head for Wilderswil, using the Glacier Express as the first leg.
While waiting for the Glacier Express to arrive, I noted two ICN sets arriving on the 0733 ex Basel. One set then returns to Basel as the 1009, and the other sits at Chur until the 1509. The two sets then have another run to Chur at 1833, finally returning to Basel at 2216.
The 12 vehicles of the Glacier Express were headed by 650, and another pleasant journey ensued in magnificent weather.

At Disentis the train was split with the forward portion going on behind MGB105, which was originally an SBB loco on the Brunigbahn and sold to the FO in 1990. On the next stretch to Andermatt we went into 4 consecutive loops to await eastbound services, three of which were Glacier Expresses. Time had been recovered on the section to Brig, only for us to stop dead on the new deviation approaching Brig and we sat there for approx 10 min. By the time we got going again and arrived in Brig my train to Spiez via the Lotschberg Pass had gone and the only alternative to waiting for an hour for the next one was the 1549 Romanshorn via the base tunnel. 460 117 was at the rear of the DD stock. Before the base tunnel opened the DD stock was barred from reaching Brig because of clearance problems in various tunnels on the mountain section.

The trip to Spiez is certainly quick, 35 minutes with 13 spent underground including a false exit at Frutigen where a connection goes off and we then spent the next minute in tunnel before emerging into the Kander Valley. I detrained at Spiez to wait for the next Interlaken service and discovered that these trains now run with the loco and the 1st class coaches at the rear from Bern to Interlaken so that a long hike is necessary at Interlaken West to reach the exit. 460 063 was at the rear of the single deck stock and then I got the twice-hourly postbus 5 up to Wilderswil and the Hotel Baren which was my base for the next four nights.

Thursday 23 September: Leaving Interlaken West just before 0900, I found 11404 with a short freight plus Tm8793 in the loop at Darligen. 460 011 was in charge of the service. At Bern I opted for the 1037 to Luzern via Langnau, this was BLS stock with 465 007 at the head. This former main line has seen some double-tracking at the Bern end but the section beyond Langnau remains much as it was when I first travelled the line in 1980! the next leg was on to Olten to view some freight. Olten was busy as ever and there seemed to be more Ae6/6s about than there were at this time last year (is the dump at Biasca still there or have some locos been revived from it?).

Three Crossrail 185s came through at the head of a freight bound for Basel and then 11464 appeared with an incredibly long freight headed towards Zurich. BLS locos old and young were also much in evidence and one of the new shunting locos 922 015 was coupled to 540 059. Another of the 540s, 029, was propelling a coach labelled Securitas, I presume this is a bullion transfer or similar. Eventually I returned to Bern via the old Langenthal line (460 057 and DD) and then 460 011 was the motive power (again) for the last leg back to Interlaken

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TAJIKISTAN.

Visit Report. Keith Chambers August 2012

In Dushanbe, the capital, the locomotive depot is visible from the platform end and a selection of Tajik diesel power was visible in the shed yard on 12/08/12. The plinthed steam loco which used to be in a park near the station was nowhere to be found.
A train of former Russian passenger stock minus most of its window glass was at the platform. This forms a train which arrives in the city each morning bringing in workers from rural areas & leaves each evening to return them.

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TUNISIA

Howard Forster May 2009
Wednesday 06/05/09: A train was taken from La Goulette to Tunis Marine on the Tunis Goulette Marsa standard gauge light railway, which has a frequent service, and is electrified throughout. It was the first railway in Tunisia having been opened in 1872. Originally utilising horses, they were soon replaced by 2-4-0T locomotives, which in turn were replaced by electric units in1908, when the line was electrified at 600v DC by a 3rd rail supply, to form the first electrified railway in Africa. In 1989 conversion to 750v DC overhead supply took place. At present the service is operated by 36 Duwag – Man two car units. Tunis itself has a five line tram network served by 134 Duwag units and 39 Alstom Citadis units, with the possibility of a further 16 being supplied. The TGM depot and the two serving the tram network, are all located in the Tunis Marine area. At the SNCFT station the metre gauge platforms were on the east side and the standard gauge on the west. There were large notices proclaiming that Alstom was going to modernise the network, without any evidence of a start being made.

This may be due to the fact that it is a 15 year scheme costed at 15 million euros, which involves electrifying five suburban lines out of Tunis at 25kv, raising the platforms, renewing the signals and refurbishing the track. The first line to be modernised will be to Bord Cedra. In the platforms there were only narrow gauge locos present, 040-DK 89/98, 040-DM 265 and 040-GT 551. The main servicing facilities were about a mile south of the station. On walking to them, a new depot, presumably for EMUs, had been constructed at the northern end of the yard. Access to the depot was by a keypad gate, there was also a gatekeeper who kindly let us in.

Once inside we were able to see the Chef de Depot, who explained that as the depot was a working area, visits could only be made with written permission; however he did say that there was no restriction on photography by the lineside or on stations, including Tunis. 8 locos had been noted including 040-GE 405. On returning to the station, narrow gauge 040-DO 331 and 040-GT 563 had appeared together with standard gauge 040-DK 82.

Tunisia
Tunis. GE built U6B, SNCFT 040-DM 265 had arrived on a local train. 06/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Tunisia
Tunis. A GM GT18, SNCFT 040-GT 551 had arrived on a long distance train. 06/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Tunisia
Tunis. A pair of MLW DL536Bs, SNCFT 040-DK 89/98 await departure on local trains. 06/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Tunisia
Tunis. Ganz-Mavag SNCFT 040-DO 331 pictured on arrival on a local train. 06/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Tunisia
Tunis. MLW DL536B SNCFT 040-DK 82, one of the standard gauge locos awaits departure. 06/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster


Tunisia
Le Bac. TGM Duwag-Man ERC A107 was pictured on a Marsa - Tunis Marine working. 06/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster


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TURKEY

Visit Report. Peter Longstaff reporting.

At Izmir work on electrifying the suburban routes is very advanced with both Basmane and Alsancak wired up. The latter reopened for long distance trains during my visit after being closed for refurbishment and, presumably, electrification works. All suburban trains continue to use Basmane.

At Konya construction of the high speed line from Ankara appears to be substantially complete, at least as far as a point a few miles short of Konya. Here the track and OHLE end abruptly at a construction depot with a temporary connection into the existing line. There is no electrification work being undertaken onwards into Konya station and no sign of a new station being constructed where the high speed line at present ends.

Reports seen that suggest that the new high speed service will commence sometime in 2010 may therefore be premature ( unless high speed trains are going to be diesel hauled for the last few mils into Konya - this would be a novelty!). Anybody planning to go to Turkey should be warned that whilst trains are modern and comfortable, punctuality is terrible, with delays of 3 or 4 hours not uncommon, and apparent connections unreliable.

Preservation News. Peter Longstaff reporting
The following notes update or amend the LCGB "Preserved Locomotives and railcars of Turkey" booklet. The museums at Ankara and Camlik, the station plinths at Adana, Afyon, Akhisar, Amasya, Ankara, Balikesir, Eskisehir, Haydarpasa, Sirkeci, Izmit, Konya, Manisa, Selcuk, Sivas, Tavsanli and Usak, and the depot plinth at Konya were as listed in the book.

The dumps at Konya, Soma and Halkali depots were as listed, however in the latter case, after a fruitless walk to the depot, the loco was actually found adjacent to the station between the rear of a building and a fence. At SAMSUN a search of the area around the station failed to find 2-8-0 45004. 3317 remains plinthed outside the station.

At KAYSERI 0-8-0 44019 is now plinthed outside the station. 34058 remains plinthed at the depot. At IZMIR 0-8-0 44062, together with a carriage, is exhibited at Basmane station (not at Alsancak as the recent report in CRJ would suggest, although that may have been correct at the time it was written). 0-4-0T 97 is now plinthed outside Alsancak station. The dump at YESILKAVAK contains 5 locomotives with wheel arrangements matching the list but lack of number plates on several makes confirmation of identity difficult.

At USAK 2-10-0 56512 could not be found however there was an 0-10-0 loco there fully plated with the number 55013. This loco does not appear anywhere in your list. 44071, 46105 and 56508 were found stored at the back of the shed, not in the yard. At ALESEHIR 13 locos were found (12 listed), one without a tender. As at Yesilkavak lack of number plates and the condition of the locos made identification difficult. The following were identified from number plates - 34060, 45165, 46226, 56142, 56153, 56912, 57005, 57010 and 57025. The 13th loco appears to be a 2-10-2 of which there are 5 (4 listed).

At KAVAKLIDERE, between Yesilkavak and Alesehir, there is an Uerdingen 4 wheel railbus trailer, No Rm3014, dumped with its interior gutted.

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UKRAINE

Visit Report, Tim Gilbert reporting. Monday 31/5/2010. Border formalities were completed at Mostiska. Don't you find that it's a bit unnerving when they take your passport away and disappear? However, all was well, our passports were returned and after an hour or so we were on our way. First Ukrainian sightings were a ChME3 (are you surprised?), an ER2 and a VL11M. Arrival in Lvov was just before midnight.

Tuesday 1/6. The main depot at Lvov is adjacent to the station but on a lower level behind a set of freight lines. A convenient footbridge runs across the whole layout from near the end of the platform farthest from the main station entrance. Plinthed at the entrance to the depot is 0-6-0T, 9P 460.

As usual our guide hadn't quite got the concept of needing to see all the locos! Several times we had "seen all", only to "discover" more locos around the corner! Some were missed but not, I think, many. The tally was 9 VL10s; 7 VL11M; 1 VL40U; 1 VL80k; 5 VL80T; 1 ChME3; 2M62 1232/1257; 2M62U 0175/0177/0180/0182/ 0209/0294/ 0295A.

After our visit we were shown into the palatial Depot Manager's office where we were given tea. We showed interest in a huge map of the Russian railway system on his wall and he told us about how he had spent 20 years with the military building a strategic line in Siberia in temperatures of -30 degrees! He gave us 20 minutes of his time which was a great privilege as he was clearly an important and busy man. He had to leave and he swept out of his office, brushing aside the throngs waiting for an audience whilst we trailed in his wake!

We were escorted over to the diesel depot, about a ten minute walk away. The round house contained a selection of "historic" items: steam locos b 2137 & L 3535, diesels ChME2 515 & TGK2 7019. Dotted around the rest of the depot were 8 * ChME3; 2 * TEM2U; M62 1603; 2M62 0771/0795/0891/0892/1002/1168/1255; 2M62U 0098/0163/ 0181/0230 and 3 DR1A DMUs. We spent a bit of time at the lineside between the depot and the station, which was quite busy with VL11Ms and VL80s on freight and light engine moves; VL10s and VL40s on passenger and ChME3s shuttling up and down. Stabled outside the Works were VL8s 273/277/472/525/1201; VL11M 077/161; VL11 8 663 and the body of electric mine loco.

Our afternoon excursion was to Strii which has a small depot. First of all we had to find where the train went from. Not from the main station as one might expect but the suburban platforms which are a 5-10 minute walk away! So it was out of the main entrance down the road, right at the next main road and a couple of hundred yards on. Our motive power was EPL2T 030. We hadn't quite got the hang of the tickets and were sitting in a fairly comfortable, if 3+3 seating, part of the train - the cost 8 hryvnia (hv). There were 11 hv to the pound and this was a journey of 75km and 1 hour 10 mins. The ticket lady wasn't too happy and told us to move into the next coach - we were travelling in 2nd class with a third class ticket! Would it be possible to upgrade? Yes, another 5 hv - oh the shock of it!

As expected only a few locos on the depot at Strii but with the adjacent Wagon Works and passing traffic we saw 3 * ChME2; 7 * ChME3; 2M62 1062 (which was said to have come from Chernobyl, although we were assured that it had been decontaminated); 5 * VL11M; 3 * ER2 EMUs; 2 * EPL2T EMUs and a D1 DMU. On the return journey we decided to treat ourselves to 1st class! The same unit as before with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class. 1st class had 2+2 seating with a small buffet area complete with attendant. The cost? A scary 15 hv. Wednesday 2/6.

Our chosen train was the 09.36 to Zdolbunov (arr 11.54). We had checked on the main departure board the previous day and all seemed well. However today there was no sign of it? The board which detailed all departures showed the 09.36 running days as 1,2,4,5,6&7. This was Wednesday. Not to worry! There's a 10.01- which takes 4 hours and 22mins. How long?!! Now those of you are frequenters of the Ukrainian railway network will understand that the service is fairly sparse and thus any clever last minute re-planning is probably not going to happen.

So it was the 10.01. We asked for 1st class but "computer says no". You think I'm joking? She was the spitting image and had exactly that attitude. She didn't look at us once, just stared into the distance. Our motive power was ER9M 195 - with wooden seats, seats which were made of just wood. Did I mention that the journey was 4 hours and 22 minutes? Then again, it did only cost 48 hv - bargain!?

Observations along the route were pretty thin with 3 ChME3s at Dubno being the "highlight". The depot at Zdolbunov is next to the station, which was welcome as the temperature was pushing 30 degrees.

However at the depot we weren't welcome! This is a "special" depot. ChME3s and DMUs didn't look too special to us but a no is a no! Not even a no! no, well alright then. Now I think you might have gathered by now that the day wasn't going according to plan. Indeed the plan was to visit Shepetovka depot but with our late arrival in Zdolbunov, that part of the plan had to be ditched too and the only thing left was to press on to Kiev where we were staying that night.

Now the journey to Kiev is 6 hours and 20 minutes from Zdolbunov! Is there first class on the train? Yes! Thank goodness for that! Cost - 136 hv. The train turned out to be another unit, ER9M 541 but this was comfortable 2+2 seating and was probably the best journey from a comfort point of view that we had. So £12 for over 4 hours of first class travel was a good result.

En route steam L2309 was plinthed at Kazatin station and K 15776 at Boyarka station just outside Kiev. Before heading off to our hotel we checked the train for the following day with another rude information office woman.

Thursday 3/6. Tube to the station (1.70 hv - not quite London tube prices!) then train 047 Moscow - Moldova as far as Zhmerynka. A 3 hour 50 min. run for the unexpectedly high price of 370 hv! As with most of the long distance trains in the Ukraine the coaching stock was sleeping compartments.

An attendant takes your ticket and directs you to a compartment. Our attendant took the tickets and said nothing. So which compartment are we in? A grunt gave us a clue. Later on he came round saying we had only given him 3 tickets. No we didn't, we gave you 4. Off he shuffled only to come back saying it was 3. We held our ground and didn't see him again. I don't know if this was some attempt at a scam or just a cock up!

Each car has a coal fired boiler at the end and so we enjoyed a cup of tea, in a glass with a "silver" holder. Did we want vodka in it? Thank you, no.

Zhmerynka depot was a case of no, no, no, well ok then! The depot chief and his deputy were away but eventually a brave engineer who understood what being interested in trains was about took the responsibility of showing us round. Good man!

The depot stables electric locos and does minor servicing on them. Present: 6 VL40u; 1 VL60 mk; 6 VL80; 6 ChS4; 1 ChS8. However the main raison d'etre of the depot is the diesel fleet for the area and particularly the line to Moldova. 2TE116s are the mainstay of the service, working in pairs or singles. Indeed the train we had come in on was taken forward by 2TE116 1435A.

On the depot were 20 individual 2TE116s; M62 1645; 2M62 0618/0953/ 1150 & 1050B; 2M62U 0068B/0219; 3 ChME3; ChME2 425 (depot pilot) and TGM3A 1643. Finally, plinthed at the station end of the depot was steam Su251 27.

Making our way back to the station we only had a few minutes before our train left and our guide asked one of the attendants if this was the right train. Are you stupid, of course it is came the reply! Now I don't want to give you the impression that all Ukrainian people are rude because they aren't but the vast majority of Ukrainian railways staff desperately need to go on customer care courses!

In contrast, our coach attendant was a pleasant lady who tried to be helpful. In fact we abandoned her and spent the whole journey in the dining car, which was more comfortable than the sleeping compartment and better for spotting. Strangely the return fare was 233 hv?

Friday 4/6. Kiev Passenger depot next to the main station was busy with 47 ChS4; 14 ChS8, plus one half of ChS8 022 decidedly out of use; 7 DS3; single car DMU 610M 001and pilot ChME2 310. Soaring over it all on its huge steel plinth was steam loco FD20 578. We took a taxi to the diesel depot at Darnitsa, where we saw 28 ChME3; ChME2 322; 2M62U 0279/0298/0348; 2TE116 1451/1465 & 1365A and 6 VL80.

From the point of view of the road system, the depot is a dead end. On our way back we came across a long queue. This was some cause for concern as we were now heading for the airport. Our driver was having none of it and he charged down the outside of the queue (fortunately there wasn't anything coming the other way) until we came to the source of the problem which was a level crossing with barriers down.

A crush of vehicles waited at the crossing. It was clear that this had been the situation for a while and tempers were starting to fray. After we had been there a few minutes two of the motorists started to raise the barriers by hand! The lady crossing keeper tried to stop them but they pushed her out of the way and immediately cars started making their way over the crossing. There was nothing she could do. Our driver went straight for it, much to our discomfort! We got on to the crossing and had to wait there a short while whilst the queue of traffic in front moved forward. Then we were over and on our way!

Phew! As we crossed we could seem an overhead maintenance trolley and crew working a few hundred yards down the line. I guess that what had happened was that they had gone past the striking in point for the crossing and then stopped to do work. Of course as they hadn't isolated the crossing it was still waiting for the train it thought was coming.

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USA

Visit Report: Howard Forster reporting

California. Caltrain electrification to go ahead. Cut operating expenses, increase ridership, boost capacity and reduce carbon footprints.

Caltrain officials are set to launch a system electrification program that has the potential to do so — and, by extension, create a more modern railroad that eventually will operate alongside high-speed trains.

The agency long has proposed to electrify the majority of its commuter-rail system, along a 50-mile stretch between San Francisco and San Jose. By doing so, it could operate electric multiple units which are more environmentally friendly than the agency's diesel locomotive hauled trains.

The EMUs also would start and stop faster than the existing trains, so Caltrain could provide more service and, as a result, carry more riders and generate more revenue.

In July 2012 the California Legislature approved a bond sale that will help finance the state's high-speed rail project. A portion of the bonds will be used to help fund local and regional transit projects that will enable transit services to eventually connect with high-speed rail; Caltrain's electrification is among those projects.

Now, Caltrain will move full speed ahead to complete environmental reviews, design work and construction so EMUs can be up and running by 2019. Once they are, Caltrain officials believe the agency will be positioned to serve a growing Bay Area and Silicon Valley population, and address its long-standing budget woes. "The electrification has a lot of appeal for a lot of reasons," says Caltrain Executive Director Michael Scanlon.

A solution Caltrain's financial challenges are chief among them. In recent years, budget issues have caused the electrification program to evolve from a "nice-to-have" to a "have-to-have."

Agency officials first began discussing plans to electrify the majority of the 77-mile commuter-rail system — which runs between San Francisco and Gilroy, through the Silicon Valley — in the late 1990s.



Friday 17/09/10 Kingman, Arizona AT &SF 4-8-4 3759, was plinthed opposite the visitors centre. Williams, Arizona, Grand Canyon Railway, 29 2-8-0 was plinthed at the depot. At the shed, permission to photograph the locos outside was reluctantly given by the manager, who said that they did not encourage visitors.

4960 2-8-2 was ex works and due to enter service the following day. SP & S 539 2-8-2 and Saginaw Lumber 5 3Tr Shay were also present. F40PH 237, GP7u 1105,2134, FPA4 6762/73/6/93 and FPB4 6860/71were noted. It was presumed that FPA4 6768 was stored in another part of the shed. A surprising visitor was BM & LP E60C 6001 Co-Co 50 kV electric.


17.09.2010 BM &LP E60C 6001
50kVac Co-Co at Grand Canyon
Railway shed Williams AZ
17.09.2010 AT & SF 3759 4-8-4 at tourist
information centre Kingman AZ
18.09.2010 GCR 4960,239 & 295 on
15:30 from Grand Canyon Depot AZ
20.09.2010 D&S NG RR 481 on 8:15
from Durango CO climbing through
Animas River Gorge

Flagstaff, Arizona, SWFI 25 2-8-0 was plinthed by the depot

Saturday 18/09/10 Flagstaff Pioneer Museum, SWLM 12 2-6-6-2 was plinthed outside the entrance. Grand Canyon Village, 4960 had been attached to F40PH 239/95 on the daily tourist train. While heading east at dusk, a Black Mesa to Lake Powell coal train passed travelling in the opposite direction hauled by four E60Cs.

20.09.2010 D&S NG RR 481 on 8:15
from Durango CO climbing through
Animas River Gorge
20.09.2010 RGS 42 in the D&S NG RR
Museum Durango CO

Monday 20/09/10 Durango, Colorado, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. K-36 481 2-8-2 was on the 8:15 to Silverton and 486 on the 9:00 departure. Heading north from Durango where the sandstone mountains were replaced by the granite mass of the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains which rise to more than 14000ft, the line followed the course of the Animas River, and climbed 2800 ft in 45 miles to Silverton at an altitude of 9318ft.

20.09.2010 Silverton Northern 1 railcar
at Freight House Museum Silverton CO
20.09.2010 D&S NG RR 481
on 14:00 dep at Silverton CO


As it was ‘the fall’, the journey was quite colourful, and spectacular where the river had carved a narrow gorge through the granite, which resulted in the railroad clinging to the almost vertical rock face. Silverton sits on a plain where the valley has widened. At the Freight House Museum were C-18 315 2-8-0, restored to working order and sheeted over, K-37 493 2-8-2 and Silverton Northern 1, a railbus constructed from a Model T Ford in 1915, originally named Casey Jones and used as an ambulance at Sunnyside Mine Eureka CO.

21.09.2010 D&S NG RR 486 at 32cd Street
on 8:15 from Durango CO
23.09.2010 Mandalay Bay-Excalibur monorail (tram) Las Vegas NV


Back in Durango C-17 42 2-8-0 and K-28 473 2-8-2 were in the museum part of the roundhouse. In service were K-28 476/8 and K-36 480/2. Out of use in the yard were K-37 498 2-8-2 and 9 Bo-Bo diesel,. 11 Bo-Bo diesel was pilot at Durango and 1 & 7 Bo-Bo diesels were passed on the way to Silverton. The trip to Silverton which lasted from 8:15 until 17:30 was a most enjoyable day well spent.
Thursday 23/09/10 Las Vegas, Nevada There are now four monorails available to help transportation in this city. The original 1993 system on the east side of the strip running north from MGM Grand Hotel, after a journey of 3.9miles, ends at present at the Sahara Hotel. It is envisaged that it will be further extended to Fremont Street at some time in the future. Fares are charged on this system. On the west side of the strip there are now three monorail systems which confusingly are called trams in Las Vegas (presumably the original one has the monopoly right to the name) At the south end, one operated from Mandalay Bay Hotel to Excalibur Hotel. Further north is one from Monte Carlo Hotel to Bellagio Hotel and north of that one is the shortest one from Mirage Hotel to Treasure Island Hotel. These three monoraile are cable worked and travel on them is free.
26.09.2010 AT & SF 3450 4-6-4
at Fairplex Pomona CA
29.09.2010 Ferromex C30-7 3539
shunting at Mazatlan Mexico
Saturday 25/09/10 Calico Ghost Town, California. Calico & Odessa 5 0-4-2ST powered by an internal combustion engine, was giving rides to visitors on the 2’ 6” gauge circuit. Yermo, CA Changes have taken place at this location, the offices which were on the south side of the yard are now on the north side, and the north side sidings which for many years have been used to store UP locos were empty.
Barstow, CA Western America Railroad Museum is based at the former AT & SF depot. On view were AT & SF VO 1000u 1460 Bo-Bo, UP SD40-2 9950, AT & SF FP45 95 Co-Co and an unidentified GE44 ton Bo-Bo which appeared to have arrived from industry.


Sunday 26/09/10 Pomona, CA In the compound were: AT & SF 3450 4-6-4, Fruit Growers 3 3Tr Climax, OHT 2 0-6-0, SP 5021 4-10-2, UP 4014 4-8-8-4, 9000 4-12-2 and DDA40X 6915 D-D; also present was US Potash 3 2-8-0 (3’ 0”gauge).

USA News. Ross Middleton reporting. The Federal Railway administration has released the first funds for High Speed Rail. Florida has received $66m which will enable design work and contract preparation for a design build and operate contract and land acquisition to commence.

The next biggest slice of funds is for California, but not for the high speed system, which remains bogged down in the planning process, but rather for improvements to the Oakland to Sacramento Capital Connection service. Most of the money is earmarked for Sacramento station to relieve congestion, but part of the money will also be spent on track improvements to reduce transit times.

Smaller sums of money have been released for planning the Madison to Milwaukee, Empire Corridor route in New York state and a rail plan in New Mexico. Meanwhile another plan has emerged to connect Vegas with Los Angeles. This is a rival high speed proposal to the current Desert Xpress proposal. Called Desert Lightning the proposal is for a line from Los Angeles to Phoenix with a branch to Las Vegas. The proposal also means that Palm Springs is served, which is an important source of wealthy customers for Vegas. However they are asking for federal funds to carry out a feasibility study, it is quite probable that Desert Xpress will have cleared the planning process and start construction before this happens, assuming of course that they are able to raise the required funds.