5th April 2008

Charters Helvetia
The Triengen & Emmental Explorer

Locos Used

BLS: 191, 225.043, 420.506, 485.001 & 843.502
SMB: 406.171
ST: 828.501 & 828.502

34009 : Interlaken Ost to Spiez Yard
34011 : Spiez Yard to Bern (BLS) Depot
33011 : Bern (BLS) Depot to Sursee
351R : Sursee to Triengen-Winikon
352R : Triengen-Winikon to Sursee
33051 : Sursee to Wolhausen
33075 : Wolhausen to Huttwil
34074 : Huttwil to Wassen im Emmental
34076 : Wassen im Emmental to Burgdorf
34077 : Burgdorf to Oberburg
34086 : Oberburg to Interlaken Ost

Loco(s) Route
191 (1) Interlaken Ost [P5] – Interlaken Carriage Sidings [Track 432]
843.502 (2) Interlaken Carriage Sidings – Interlaken Ost [Track 6, Through Line] – Interlaken West – Spiez Yard [Track 571]
420.506 (2) Spiez Yard – Thun – Belp – Bern (BLS) Depot [Track 6, Track 1] (3)
420.506 (2) Bern Depot – Burgdorf – Langenthal – Rothrist – Zofingen – Sursee
828.501 (4) Sursee – Triengen-Winikon (5)
828.502 (6) Triengen-Winikon – Sursee
420.506 (2) Sursee – Rothenburg – Luzern Guterzug [Track 524]
191 (7)

Luzern Guterzug – Luzern Depot [Track 207]

420.506 (2) Luzern Depot – Luzern [P6]
191 (7) Luzern – Malters – Wolhausen
406.171 (2) Wolhausen – Huttwil – Sumiswald-Grunen – Wassen im Emmental
191 (8) Wassen im Emmental – Sumiswald-Grunen – Ramsei – Burgdorf
485.001 (2) Burgdorf – Oberburg – (9) – Konolfingen – Thun – Spiez Yard [Track 36] – Interlaken West – Interlaken Ost

Notes :
(1) 843.502 on rear.
(2) 191 on rear.
(3) A shunt using 225.043 took place within the depot complex during the visit. 420 506 drew the train back out towards the depot limits, and then 225.043 took the whole train back along Track 6 to the depot doors on Track 1.
(4) 828.502 on rear. (The two BLS locos remained in the train consist during this section of the tour).
(5) A run past was done at Fluplatz Triengen with the train propelling back around 100yards in order to achieve this.
(6) 828.501 on rear. (The two BLS locos remained in the train consist during this section of the tour).
(7) 420.506 on rear.
(8) 406.171 on rear.
(9) After the depot visit at Oberburg, 191 drew the train back out onto the main line.

Source : Stuart Smith

Tour Review
(by Stuart Smith)

Having not been able to do last years tours (due to the birth of my first daughter at exactly the same time), I was looking forward to these.

Having seen the routing before it was ‘officially’ advertised, I knew we would be in for a great weekend.

 Anyway, now to the tours themselves…

 As Alan was now running these tours under his new charter organisation (Charters Helvetia) he had asked me to be his Assistant Tour Manager for the weekend, and as such this involved an early start to get to the carriage Sidings for the ECS into Interlaken Ost. Having met the BLS guard, and with everything in place aboard the train, we made the short run to pick up the majority of passengers.

 From here we were due to return to the Carriage Sidings, and then proceed back through Ost, via Line 6, which is the through line in the middle of the station layout.

 However, a miscommunication from English to Swiss/German resulted in us barely leaving the platform, before reversing back into Line 6. As we were about 20 minutes early, and obviously going to have to wait for our booked path over the single line sections, it was deemed that we ask the guard if the route into the carriage Sidings was possible. After some broken discussion, it was agreed, and off we set…. right to the buffers on Line 432.

 With this done, we headed back towards the station, and took the booked routing through Track 6. A further pick up at Interlaken West followed, before a quick run to Faulensee for our first photo stop of the day.

843.502 at Faulensee during the outward run.

Back on board and we continued along to Spiez, where unlike previous tours, we were booked for a loco change in the yard. 420 506 replaced the diesel at the front.

Departing from the yard we headed via the mainline to Thun, before turning off onto the secondary route via Thurnen (photo stop) and Belp.

191 poses in the sunshine at Thunen.

Once at Bern, we ran direct into the BLS depot, using Track 6, to reach the depot doors on Track 1. Time was allowed to detrain and wander ‘at leisure’ around the depot confines and explore the delights on show. Stabled close to out train was 225 043, and several comments were heard to have it for haulage… if only a few yards. After some persuasion, although I doubt it actually took that much, it was decided to put the shunter on top of our train for an additional haulage. To facilitate this, our train was reversed back to the depot limits, where 225 043 hauled us back to the shed doors. This was (at a guess) probably only around 100-150 yards, but nonetheless, it was haulage in its purest sense.

After this ‘added bonus’, we departed via the main station, and continued via Burgdorf and along the secondary route to Langenthal and Zofingen. A short run further and we were at Sursee. Here we were expecting to have 828 501 (Lizi) for haulage, but another bonus was in the shape of 828 502. These two locos top and tailed our train (complete with BLS locos), and were to take us along the freight only branch to Triengen-Winikon. Whilst attaching the locos, a decision was taken to gain access to the branch slightly earlier than advertised, to allow more time for photo-stops and such like…. However, in doing so, we inadvertently left one of the catering boys behind in his search for hot water…. Oops, hope he didn’t need the branch? At Flugplatz Triengen, actually no more than a short, very low, concrete platform we alighted for another photo stop, complete with run-past. For this the train was propelled back around 200 yards and then ran back towards us. I’m not certain the driver knew exactly what was required, as he stopped where he had started, so in technical terms, not quite a run-past, more of a run-towards.

No. 2 and BLS 420506 at Triengen-Winikon.

Buffers touching – End of the line at Triengen-Winikon.

At the end of the branch (the buffers being duly ‘kissed’), a superb station building was standing, along with a loading platform, and a two-road wooden shed. The later turned out to contain two steam locomotives, which are used for the occasional passenger specials that operate over the branch. After a short break, we retraced our steps back to Sursee, where the STB locos were detached, (and to collect the aforementioned ‘missing’ catering boy), before continuing on towards Luzern.

For a slight deviation at Luzern, we firstly entered the Guterzugbahnhof (the Carriage Sidings), before reversing back into the loco depot – (Track 524 in the Carriage Sidings, and Track 207 in the depot). Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to detrain at either of these locations, but ‘scoring’ the track was the main objective and welcome regardless. Following this we reversed back to the main station, for a break of around 30mins.

Back on board the train, and it seemed that many people had frequented the bratwurst and/or donut stalls.

Suitably refreshed, the train set off towards Wolhusen, where we were due for a locomotive change. On arrival here, SMB loco – number 406 171 was standing ready to do the honours. Also here we were due to lose 420 506, and 191 was expected to run-round to the rear. Despite being booked for a photo stop, we had run into the adjacent yard, with no platforms. However, as this tour was taking place outside the UK, alighting in such circumstances is nearly always allowed, and indeed encouraged… Health & Safety, go eat my shorts.

SMB 171 backs onto the stock at Wolhusen.

Onwards from here, we made our way via the rarely used line from Huttwil to Affoltern-Weier (Only two services per day) to the reversal point at Sumiswald-Grunen. Here we had another ‘highlight’ with the traversal of the freight only branch to Wassen im Emmental. Again, we touched the buffers here and the ‘Branch Line’ contingent were suitably impressed – myself included. Before our return, the obligatory seminar took place on the rear loco.

The ‘seminar’ at Wassem im Emmental.

Back at the mainline, we continued on the RM-ebt network to Burgdorf for our final loco change. 485 001 was waiting to back on to our train as we arrived. During the layover, some of the tour participants used the time to take photos of the ex-SNCF kettle ‘steaming down’ in the adjacent loco shed.

The final loco of the day – 485.001 waits for departure from Burgdorf.

With premier ‘freight’ motive power now in charge, we started our homeward routing. However, we still had one final attraction to enjoy – the depot visit at Oberburg. Here the train turned off the main line, and into the yard itself, stopping on the track immediately adjacent to the depot building. (Sorry, the particular track number was not noted). The depot contained numerous stored and withdrawn shunters and an array of units and coaching stock. As the depot is single ended, we had to shunt back out to Oberburg station, before the 485 could continue heading us back homeward. At Thun we rejoined the BLS mainline to Spiez, which again, despite being advertised as a set-down, was done in the freight yard. Here we stopped in Track 36, which bizarrely is next to Track 571 which we had done on the outward routing…. and here was me thinking that I had got the hang of numbering systems abroad.

Having departed the yard, we took the Interlaken route, running direct to terminate at the Ost.

And so ended day one, a very enjoyable tour with plenty for everyone – even the 191 brigade… Yes you know who you are!

Stuart Smith

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