24th April 2010

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The Horw & Alp Transit Explorer

Locos Used BLS 178, BLS 180, BLS 186, BLS 485 011, BLS 485 013, SBB 843 062, SBB 843 074 & SOB 456 143
Stock Used 50 63 18-33 801-5 + 50 63 82-33 840-4 + 50 63 18-33 811-4

Route :
33040 : Interlaken Ost to Luzern
33050 : Luzern to Horw
33051 : Horw to Luzern Alpenquai
33061 : Luzern Alpenquai to Erstfeld
33061R : Erstfeld to Amsteg-Grund & Erstfeld-Nord
33062R : Erstfeld-Nord to Erstfeld
33062 : Erstfeld to Arth-Goldau
33064 : Arth-Goldau to Othmarsingen
33076 : Othmarsingen to Interlaken Ost

Loco(s) Route
485 011 Interlaken Ost [P5] - Interlaken West [P1] - Spiez [P1]
178 (1) Spiez - Thun - Gumligen [Track 4] - Bern Avoider - Burgdorf - Langenthal - Rothrist - Zofingen - Sursee [P3] - Rothenburg [Track 3]
485 013 (2) Rothenburg - KM Post 84.1 (3)
178 (1) KM Post 84.1 - Rothenburg [Track 3] - Luzern Guterzug [Track 528, touching the buffers]
843 062 (4) Luzern Guterzug (via Standard Gauge Track) Horw Ennethorw (Horw Cement Works)
843 062 (4) (5) Ennethorw Horw (via Standard Gauge Track) - Luzern Guterzug [Track 528]
843 062 (4) Luzern Guterzug (via Tracks 577 & 727) Track 402
843 062 (4) (5) Luzern Guterzug  (via Track 727) - Luzern Alpenquai [Track 745]
843 062 (4) Luzern Alpenquai Luzern Guterzug [Track 727] - Track 402
843 062 (4) (5) Luzern Guterzug - Track 727 - Track 528
456 143 (4) Luzern Guterzug - Meggen - Immensee - Arth-Goldau RB [Tracks 9 & 69] - Brunnen [Track 3] - Altdorf [Track 7] - Erstfeld [P4]
843 074 (6) Erstfeld - Amsteg-Grund (to loading hopper)
843 074 (6) Amsteg-Grund - Erstfeld [P4] - Erstfeld Nord [Track 2]
843 074 (6) (5) Erstfeld Nord - Erstfeld [P4]
178 (7) Erstfeld - Schwyz - Arth-Goldau [P8]
178 (1) Arth-Goldau - Rotkreuz - Wohlen [Track 4] - Dottikon Umspannanlage [via Tracks 170, 922 & 168] - Othmarsingen [Track 6]
485 013 (2) Othmarsingen - Lenzburg - Aarau - Olten [P8] - Langenthal - Burgdorf - Bern Avoider - Thun - Spiez Yard [Tracks 16 & 36]
180 + 186 Spiez - Interlaken West [P2] - Interlaken Ost [P8]

Notes :
(1) 485013 on rear.
(2) 178 on rear.
(3) The train was booked to traverse the Tanklager Petroplus Branch, but the train crew were unable to energise the overhead wires.
(4) 485013 & 178 remained in the formation.
(5) Propelling move.
(6) 456143, 485013 & 178 remained in the formation.
(7) 456143 & 485013 on rear.

Source : Stuart Smith

Tour Review
(from Stuart Smith)

Today's outward run started with 485011 from last night, although at Spiez this was replaced by 178 & 485013 in top n tail formation.

178 in the sun at Rothenburg (photo: Stuart Smith)

Once moving again, we retraced yesterdays route as far as Rothrist, where we diverged right and took the route towards Luzern. At Rothenburg we pulled up in Track 3, with the plan to cover the adjacent sidings into Tanklager Petroplus. After a short pause we reversed a few hundred yards and then stopped. After another short pause, the driver was noted changing ends and we returned to the station. The problem was then discovered to be that the 'overheads' could not be energised for the short branch as it seemed an all important key was missing. After a quick impromptu photo stop to fill the time, we continued along to Luzern and entered the Guterbahnhof (Carriage Sidings). We touched the blocks on Track 528, before attaching an SBB Diesel (843062) for the run to Horw over the Standard Gauge route. The original plans for this area should have seen us cover three short freight-only branches between Luzern and Horw. However, on the 1st January, two of them ceased being operational and were subsequently closed with immediate effect. The remaining one, serving a cement works, still remains open, and it is that to which we were headed.

The standard-gauge tracks run parallel with the metre-gauge rails of the Zentralbahn to Mieringen and Interlaken (a much quicker route than we had taken to get here) and has a flat crossing beyond Horw station to reach the cement terminal. The SBB loco duly kissed the buffers at the far end of the complex, which allowed some great photos with the Rigi standing dominant in the background. A 30minute break in the schedule was given here, and although the train propelled back a short distance to a better photographic location, their was little to see and do, except watch a remote controlled lawn mower (of sorts) happily spin itself around an adjacent office front lawn!!! Now that's technology!!!

BSK at Horw Cement with 843 062 & 485 013 (photo: Stuart Smith)

843 062 & 485 013 plus the impressive Rigi behind (photo: Stuart Smith)

After the break, the 843 propelled us right back to Luzern again (a distance of 5.1 kms), where we were then shunted to the remains of the Alpenquai. This line is currently truncated short of the waters edge due to construction work close to the station, but thankfully is due to be relaid at some point. Now let's hope we can visit the Luzern area again on a future tour and take in this line.

A final shunt back into the carriage sidings saw us drop off the diesel and then attach an SOB loco for next leg. This was 456143 and although a handful had had it previously, most scored the rare loco once we had set off.

456 143 being attached at Luzern CS (photo: Stuart Smith)

Our route took us around the northern shores of Lake Luzern, past the Swiss Transport Museum and along to Arth-Goldau. We ran through the yard here, spotting one the few SBB Re 4/4's which carry the rare orange and white livery. From here it was onwards towards Erstfeld, with the freight loco notching up 120kph for long sections of the journey. (Speed verified by the tour participant in the cab at the time)!

At Erstfeld it was time for yet another highlight, with runs to Amsteg-Grund and Erstfeld-Nord construction sites. For this we needed diesel power again, and so another SBB Class 843 was utilised (843074 on this occasion). This coupled on the front of SOB/BLS electrics, and so at this point we actually had 4 locos, yet only 3 coaches in the train formation!!!

843 074 & 178 at Amsteg-Grund (photo: Stuart Smith)

The two branches are in existence as part of the massive construction project taking place to build the Gotthard Base Tunnel (a 57km tunnel running under the Swiss Alps). The tunnel is due for completion in 2017, and will drastically reduce journey times between North and South Switzerland, and on to Italy. Although, you won't get the fantastic scenery currently enjoyed as you go over the top!

Having traversed both lines, we returned to Erstfeld and said goodbye to the diesel, before starting the homeward journey. At Arth-Goldau we dropped off the SOB electric, and took the line via Wohlen to Othmarsingen. A reversal here allowed the 'newer' BLS engine to lead again, and this took us back to Spiez. Another quick loco change produced our 7th and 8th haulages of the day, with 'brown bombers' 180 & 186 taking us back along the shores of the Thuner See to Interlaken.

180 + 186 at Spiez - last leg of the day (photo: Stuart Smith)

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