Conversion of Waldenburg railway to metre gauge

George Raymond

The canton of Basel-Land is moving toward a commitment to widen the 13-km
from Liestal to Waldenburg to metre gauge.

Abandonment of the Waldenburg railway's exotic 75-cm gauge promises
long-term savings on purchases and maintenance by using products already
available for the many other metre-gauge lines in Switzerland and elsewhere.
Plans also include merging the Waldenburg with Baselland Transport (BLT),
which runs Basel’s metre-gauge tram lines 10 and 11 to the suburban towns of
Rodersdorf, Aesch and Dornach.

A window of opportunity is opening in the early 2020s, when SBB will be
rebuilding Liestal station and shifting the Waldenburg’s tracks to
accommodate a fourth standard-gauge SBB track. Also, the Waldenburg’s trains
from the 1980s are not handicapped-accessible. The Waldenburg’s loading
gauge will be widened for rolling stock 2.4 metres wide. Completion is
slated for the end of 2022.

Converting the Waldenburg’s steam locomotive, Gédéon Thommen, would require
an estimated 2 million Swiss francs and private donors.


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