25th April 2010

Charters Helvetica
The Rhine and Ramsen Explorer

Locos Used BLS 171, BLS 180, BLS 185, BLS 186, BLS 485 018, DVZO Tem 354 7 SBB 11419
Stock Used 50 63 18-33 801-5 + 50 63 82-33 840-4 + 50 63 18-33 811-4

Route :
33050 : Interlaken Ost to Basel Postbahnhof
33051 : Basel Postbahnhof to Basel SBB RB
33055 : Basel SBB RB to Killwangen-Spreitenbach
33056 : Killwangen-Spreitenbach to Etzwilen
705R : Etzwilen to Ramsen
706R : Ramsen to Etzwilen
33060 : Etzwilen to Zurich Oerlikon
33062 : Zurich Oerlikon to Dietikon
33063 : Dietikon to Interlaken Ost

Loco(s) Route
186 + 180 (1) Interlaken Ost [P5] - Interlaken Carriage Sidings [Track 434]
186 + 180 Interlaken Carriage Sidings - Interlaken Ost [P7] - Interlaken West [P1] - Spiez [P4] - Thun Yard [via Tracks 249, 240 & 147]
186 + 180 (2) Thun Yard - Konolfingen [Track 6] - Hasle-Ruegsau - Burgdorf - Langenthal - Aarburg-Oftringen - Olten [P4] - Tecknau - Pratteln - Basel SBB RB [via Tracks 381, E15, E25, F35, G72, G92 & A42] - Basel SBB GB [via Tracks D71, C52, C21 & C41] - Basel Postbahnhof (to Signal C37B)
11419 (3) Basel Postbahnhof - Basel SBB GB [via Tracks C41, C21, C51, C72, J57, J67 & J96] - St. Jakob - Basel SBB RB [Track G56]
11419 (4) Basel SBB RB [via Tracks F41, F36, F40, T30, E20, E32, E2 & 374] - Pratteln [P4] - Rheinfelden [Track 5] - Frick - Brugg [P1] - Turgi - Baden - Killwangen-Spreitenbach [Track 8]
185 + 171 (2) Killwangen-Spreitenbach - Wurenlos - Buchs-Dallikon [Track 3] - Regensdorf-Watt [Track 4] - Zurich Seebach - Winterthur Yard [Track 104] - Seuzach - Etzwilen [Track 4]
Tem 354 Etzwilen - Ramsen - frontier point at KM Post 38.2
Tem 354 (1) frontier point - Ramsen
Tem 354 Ramsen - Etzwilen [Track 5, then Yard headshunt]
Tem 354 (1) Yard headshunt - Etzwilen [Track 4]
11419 (4) Etzwilen - Schaffhausen - Rafz - Bulach - Oberglatt - Zurich Oerlikon - Oerlikon South Sidings
185 + 171 (2) Oerlikon South Sidings - Zurich Oerlikon [P3] - Dietlikon [P2]
11419 (4) Dietlikon - Zurich Stadelhofen - Zurich Hbf [P22] - Dietikon - RB Limmattal Yard [via Track 111, Ost Staff Halt, West Staff Halt, Tracks 172, 182 & 192] - Killwangen-Spreitenbach [P2] - Othmarsingen - Lenzburg - Aarau - Olten [P8] - Langenthal - Burgdorf - Bern Avoider - Thun Yard [via Tracks 144, 219 & 239]
171 + 185 Thun Yard - Spiez [P3]
485 018 Spiez - Interlaken West [P1] - Interlaken Ost [P7]

Notes :
(1) Propelling move.
(2) 11419 on rear.
(3) 186 & 180 on rear.
(4) 185 & 171 on rear.

Source : Stuart Smith

Tour Review
(from Stuart Smith)

We started the day with last nights locos again, and as an added bonus for those on board early enough, we made an additional propelling move into the Carriage Sidings. We traversed Track 434, which is known locally as the 'Football Siding' due to it's close proximity to the adjacent floodlit football pitch.

Back into the station to pick up the remainder of the passengers before the run back along the Thuner See to Spiez. The section between Interlaken and Spiez must be the most travelled piece of track for me (outside the UK), yet I never tire of the 20minute journey past some spectacular scenery.

On arrival at Thun, we ran direct into the Yard where we attached the SBB Ae 6/6 loco to the rear. 11419 had been spotted there the previous day when we passed so it's identity was no surprise to those on board.

11419 at Basel RB (photo: Stuart Smith)

Today's route took us north again via the Bern Avoider and Olten, past Pratteln and through the sprawling yards at Basel. From here we continued past the motive power depot and dropped down the under-pass that leads to platforms 1-5 of the main station. This route also leads to the Postbahnhof (Post Terminal) which was our main objective. We stopped at the entrance signal to the actual buildings, but were unable to proceed inside due to it being all locked up and no staff being present to operate the ground signals.

186 + 180 in Basel PostBahnhof (photo: Stuart Smith)

After a quick photo stop we retraced our steps back to the main yard for a loco change and short break. Here we lost 180 & 186, and gained 185 & 171. Most took the opportunity here for some reasonable photos in the sun and also to wander over to the adjacent rows of SBB locos that were parked up.

Sunny day at Regensdorf-Watt with 185 + 171 (photo: Stuart Smith)

Once on the move again, we continued eastwards past the impressive Feldschlosschen Brewery, down through Brugg and across to the outskirts of Zurich.

At the impressively sounding Killwangen-Spreitenbach, we made another reversal before taking the freight-only curve to Wurenlos and then several other non-passenger curves and loops between there and Winterthur.

Our main objective this afternoon was the long closed route from Etzwilen to Singen, which has reopened as far as Ramsen as a steam railway. Upon reaching Etzwilen we had to drop off our three electric locos and attach the local shunter belong to DVZO. This was Tem354 and after a few abortive attempts (and the presence of a steam train) it managed to attach itself to our stock. In order to gain access to the branch we had to perform a double shunt (again not helped by the presence of said steam train). Once this was completed we set off at quite a brisk pace, passing over a very impressive bridge across the Rhine. Several assorted items of small motive power were doted along the line as we sped along towards Ramsen. The train actually ran a short way beyond the former station, stopping at the Swiss/German border, and right next to the 38.2 KM Post.

Tem 354 at Ramsen (photo: Stuart Smith)

A short propel back to Ramsen where we were able to alight as the small shunter ran around the train. Many took the opportunity to visit the Bratwurst bar in the station car park, whilst the railways own shop was open for business too.

From here we returned to Etzwilen, where we swapped back to our 3 electric locos for the start of the homeward leg.

11419, 171 & 185 at Etzwilen (photo: Stuart Smith)

This was by no means direct, and took us via Schaffhausen and Bulach, then on to the outskirts of Zurich again. Another reversal at Oerlikon, saw us head down under the city, passing through on the low level platforms, before emerging at Hardbrucke.

A short way further and we veered left into the yard at Limmattal, where this time, unlike two years ago, we took a route around the far side of complex and passing through the two staff halts. The number crunchers were no doubt more than happy, as several of the usually elusive locos were noted as we made our way along. Exiting at Killwangen-Spreitenbach we took the main IC route back through to Olten, and then via the classic route back to Thun. Here we dropped off the SBB electric, and the 2 BLS locos ran round to head us the short distance back to Spiez. The final (and 16th) tour loco of the three days was 485018, which efficiently returned us to Interlaken and the conclusion of another excellent weekend.

As always, thanks to go Alan Spencer for his organisation, the staff from BLS who assisted through the three days (and no doubt beforehand too) the rest of my fellow CH stewards for the witty banter and their professionalism (yeah right!) and of course all the tour participants that make these tours such an enjoyable experience.

See you all in August for 4 more days of fun!

Back to "The Railtour Files"