30th August 2008

Charters Helvetia
The Brugg & Zurich Avoider

Locos Used BLS: 171, 183 & 465007
Stock Used ????

33031 : Interlaken Ost to Basel Bad
33041 : Basel Bad to Konstanz (DB)
33065 : Konstanz (DB) to Erstfeld

Loco(s) Route
183 (1) Interlaken Ost - Interlaken West - Spiez - Thun Yard [Track 233] - Konolfingen - Langnau [Track 5]
171 (2) Langnau - Ramsei - Huttwil
183 (1) Huttwil - Langenthal - Rothrist - Olten - Tecknau - Liestal - Pratteln - Basel (SBB) Yard [via Track S31, E2 & G93] - Basel Bad [P2]
171 (3) Basel Bad - Basel (SBB) Yard [via Track A15, D61 & D86] - Muttenz - Rheinfelden - Stein-Sackingen - Frick - Brugg Avoider - Othmarsingen [P4]
465007 (1) Othmarsingen - Mellingen - Wettingen - Regensdorf-Watt - Zurich Seebach - Kloten Balsberg - Winterthur - Andelfingen - Schaffhausen [P2] - Etzwilen - Kreuzlingen - Konstanz [P3]
171 (3) Konstanz - Kreuzlingen Hafen - Romanshorn [P4] - Romanshorn South [Track 84, Signal J84]
465007 (1) Romanshorn South - Romanshorn Avoider - Amriswil - Weinfelden - Bussnang - Wil [P4] - Lichtensteig - Uznach - Rapperswil - Pfaffikon SZ - Samstagern - Biberbrugg - Arth-Goldau [P8]
171 (3) Arth-Goldau - Schwyz - KM Post 22.8 [X-Over to Up Line] - (4) - KM Post 25.9 [X-Over to Down Line] - Fluelen - Altdorf - Erstfeld [P1]

Notes :
(1) 171 on rear.
(2) 183 on rear.
(3) 465007 on rear.
(4) Single Line Working near to Sisikon.

Source : Stuart Smith

Tour Review
(by Stuart Smith, including photos)

So once again, it was time for Alan Spencer's charter weekend in Switzerland. The two days ahead promised to be 'top quality' with plenty of mileage on offer - taking us from Central Switzerland to Basel on the German Border, then right across to the East, and finally within touching distance of Italy in the South - over 1100km's in total.

As with most tours, we started at Interlaken Ost (with most travellers staying overnight in Ringgenberg, Reichenbach or Interlaken itself) and headed direct to the BLS mainline at Spiez. After the pick up, we continued to Thun, where we took track 233 through the yard to bypass the station. It must be said at this point that Charters Helvetia had requested the use of many non-platform roads and/or traversal of yards during the journey to enhance the running of the train for the 'track bashers' onboard.

After Thun, we joined the tracks of the RM-ebt network for the run to Langenthal. The reason for doing this was mainly to traverse the missing two sections (i.e. Langnau - Ramsei & Huttwil - Langenthal), which had been unable to be fitted in to the previous tour in April. In addition, this route also included a run over the rarely-used Affoltern - Huttwil section.

183 pauses at Langnau alongside a BLS 4-car EMU.

From Langenthal we had a 'fast' run to Olten, where we took the newer route via the Hauenstein-Base Tunnel, to reach Liestal before a right turn took us towards Basel Yard. At Pratteln, we took the flyover onto the freight only lines and into the yard itself. Passing through the yard we noted many freight engines (Swiss, German and French) all awaiting their next turns of duties, and even saw around half a dozen EWS Class 66's in their 'revised' livery. Our route through the yard took us via tracks S31, E2 & G93, which were conveniently numbered above the overheads for easy recording. Once through the yard we took the 'non passenger' curve into Basel Bad station for our locomotive change.

183 rests at Basel Bad after its run from Interlaken.

The plan had been to change both 'brown bombers', but the revised timings allowed time for only one change. So we said goodbye to 183 and hello to 465007. After our short break we made a reversal and headed back through the yard (this time going via tracks A15, D61 & D86) before joining the 'reception' lines at Muttenz - these run between the main passenger lines and the yard itself on a slightly different alignment.

At Pratteln we continued straight ahead towards Rheinfelden and on to Stein-Sackingen. From here we took the route to Brugg AG, where we used the avoider to bypass the station and head down to Othmarsingen. Another reversal here, saw our first 'haulage' with the 465, having been on the rear since Basel.

465007 prepares to lead after our reversal at Othmarsingen.

Once on the move again, we ran via Regensdorf-Watt and the freight only curve at Zurich Seebach. Beyond Winterthur, we took the direct route to Schaffhausen, stopping briefly on the narrow bridge over The Rhein to view the powerful Rheinfalls.

Roughly following the River Rhein, we continued Eastward. Beyond Stein am Rhein, we skirted around the banks of the Untersee to Kreuzlingen. A short pathing stop (enough for most to take advantage of the local shop selling Ice Creams) before running around the corner to Konstanz, where we reversed in the DB platforms. Departing further Eastward, we took the curve to Kreuzlingen Hafen and continued along the shores of the Bodensee to Romanshorn. We continued through the station a short way, and stopped just past the 'number 2' signal box. From here we reversed around the avoiding line for a quick run to Weinfelden. Here we turned left and took the secondary route down to Wil and on to Wattwil. At Uznach we joined the line from Ziegelbrucke and continued along to Rapperswil, before crossing the causeway over to Pfaffikon. We traversed this section over the water just as the sun was starting to set, which resulted in a spectacular golden haze over the Zurichsee.

Beyond Pfaffikon we took the SOB route through to Samstagern and Arth-Goldau. After our final reversal, we headed South to Schwyz (from where Switzerland gets it's name) and on to Brunnen. Passing through the many tunnels on this section, we had a brief section of single line working, scoring the crossovers along the way. Finally we made it to Erstfeld, where we all transferred to the nearby hotels for dinner and beers.

Stuart Smith

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