Re: Less travelled narrow gauge trains


John Lovda
 

Well, I just returned. The weather in the north was not great. 7-8 degrees C with off and on rain. I was amazed at the number of people bundled up sitting outside at bars or coffee shops having drinks. The weather in the south (Brig, Valais) was much better but still chilly.
I spent a day riding the Appenzeller Bahn starting at Gossau to Urnäsch, Appenzell, Gais, Altstätten. back to Gais and then up to St. Gallen. Beautiful ride especially the rack section near Altstätten. The rack section used older EMUs with pull down windows. The rest of the route used very modern EMUs.

I went down south one day and took the TPC rack train from Bex to Villars. After leaving the Bex station it travels down the main street in town before engaging the rack section. This route was quite steep, much steeper than MGB rack sections. Took the bus down the winding switchback road to Aigle and then took the TPC train to Champery. The initial part of the ride travels through the flat section in the river valley to Monthey but the section south climbing the mountains was closed for construction and travelers had to take the bus. I decided to turn around and return to Aigle. I spent some time train spotting in Spiez and finished the day on the Zentral Bahn to Luzern (another EMU).

Probably the most beautiful trip I took was the bus from Flüelen to Linthal over the Klausen Pass. Continued to Zeigelbrücke and then took an SOB to St. Gallen. This SOB section was new to me and the scenery was lovely. Instead of travelling straight back to Zürich I took the Appenzeller Bahn a second time taking the "U" shaped route to Gossau.

On Sunday I took the RhB from Chur to Pontresina, back up the Engadin Valley to the Vereina Tunnel to Klosters and back to Landquart. There were a few Ge4/4 II and III's with new werbelok colors.

I spend several hours train spotting on Saturday morning at the Brig depot. My "guide" was a fellow train photography enthusiast who lives near Domodossola. He came in on the SImplon car ferry to meet me. The depot is a long way from the main station and we did a lot of driving from one side to the other. The turntable and roundhouse were being renovated and the area was loaded with construction materials. There were only 3-4 locomotives spread out over a wide area.

Physical issues will probably prevent me from returning for another trip like this. However, the bigger issue for me is the change in the railroad system since I started coming in 1994. One; gone are the days of spending hours up close at the Erstfeld and Lausanne depots and seeing a high density of equipment. Second; as perfect as the SBB infrastructure is, it is getting incredibly boring. There are now thirty seven different varieties of the same white EMUs. The SOB, TPC, RhB, AB and Zentral Bahn are just the same except smaller with different colors. The sealed windows are great for viewing but terrible for photography due to glare and reflections. I am lucky to have been around during the "good old days."

Thanks again for all your help.

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