Re: Glacier Express, Panoramic Cars, Train Catering etc.

tudor erich

--- wap5loco2004 <hungfy@...> wrote:

Dear members of this forum

A couple of years ago, I was involved in a
discussion on this forum
about RhB restaurant cars. I received very
informative and
interesting answers to my queries from Markus
(Guerbetaler) and
others. So I hope that there will be similar answers
to queries I
have about my favourite Swiss train, the "Glacier
Express(es)". I
have not managed to visit Switzerland since 1997,
and probably won't
be able to do so in the near future � so I rely on
information from others.

1) According to the timetable on the official
Glacier Express site,
the Standard trains #902/905 are composed of
"conventional 1st class
carriages and 2nd class panorama carriages". Does
this mean that this
season there are no "conventional" i.e. non-Panorama
2nd class
carriages on the Standard GEs? If so, this would
result in the rather
peculiar situation on these trains, with the 2nd
class accommodation
being in some ways superior to the 1st class.
English is an interesting language!

It could be that the text is correct but does not tell
the whole story, or that what is says is intended to
be what occurs.

However, in Andermatt in May this year the GE charts
showed 902 and 905 composed of two panorama cars and 4
ordinary coaches.

2) Catering Services.

Standard GE 902/905 and the Davos Premium GE
906/909, have a Dining
Car (for part of the journey) and a Railbar. Is the
Railbar a push
trolley serving light refreshments, which circulates
throughout the trains?

St.Moritz Premium GEs 904/907/908/911 have in-seat
catering, as in
the Pullman services formerly run on British
railways. Are hot meals
only served between 11.00 and 13.30 hours, as in the
other GE trains'
Dining Cars? These St. Moritz Premium GEs are not
described as having
Railbars, but do they in fact have such a facility
to supplement the WRp?

In message #6539 0n May 9 2006, Markus reported that
RhB WR 3812 and
3815 2are said to be prepared for use in the Glacier
probably Zermatt-Davos". Are these two now the
regular Restaurant cars for GE 906/909?

The Jumbo WR 3816/3817 must be on the Standard GE
902/905 between
Chur and Disentis and vv. The users of this car
can't dawdle over
their meals as they don't have much more than an
hour to eat their lunches!
This has been the case for some time.

As Markus reported on August 11 2006, 902 couples to
904, and 905 to
907, Disentis-Chur and vv. I presume that during
this time, WRp in
904 and 907 are NOT available to passengers in 902
and 905. In fact,
even though the trains run coupled, does the
between the two trains remain shut off?

What then of WR 3810/3811/1813? Or of WR3822 and
WR-S3814? I presume
that none of these operate regularly on the GEs now.
So are they
being used to improve catering facilities on
ordinary Albula expresses?
From my observations over the years and the catering
vehicles, nothing is set in stone! Of the vehicles the
most consistent has been 3815 working Chur -Andermatt
or thereabouts and return. However even this vehicle I
have observed in a different train, and also it
suffered collision damage at Chur some years ago and
was hors de combat for a while.
All the other vehicles swop around according to need.
This can be private bookings or railway requirements.
I have seen 3822 on a GE at Disentis with no other
catering vehicle in the train. However, historically
at Disentis one of the local hotels supplied meals for
the GE and these were delivered minutes before the
scheduled arrival of the train. So it is possible that
hot meals were provided in 3822 but not prepared on
the train. Incidentally, have you ever thought of the
staff? The GE restaurant car used to leave Chur about
5.30. We have joined the train at Reichenau and more
staff joined at Thusis. The car was available to the
public and we often had breakfast. From Filisur the
tables were laid up and often there were two other
coaches to lay up which were to be used later. One of
these was often with the same car but the other was
moved to be with Jumbo on the party train from St
Moritz. At St Moritz the car would be moved to the
actual GE service to Zermatt and the same crew worked
to Brig where the vehicle terminated. They spent the
night locally and unwound the cycle the next day
passing their opposite crew around Disentis. So that
was not a very social life for the staff.

More to follow if you are still with me.


3) Panorama Cars.

The new Stadler GE Panorama Cars look quite smart.
How do they differ
internally from the Breda Panorama Cars? And are
they much of an
improvement? Experiences of those who can compare
the two would be interesting.
How do you measure improvement? On 23/9/2006 a GE
failed approching Disentis blocking the line. It took
two and threequarter hours to get that train to
Disentis. AND what about all the other people
inconvenienced by this? More details available if

The new cars have suffered major problems. At one
point a manufacturer`s fitter was based at Landquart
working on the problems but the cars remained in
service. Is that service for the passenger?
Incidentally in 2000 I rode in the Bernina Express in
the new cars. They had been in use four months. Of the
six coaches in the train, the loos in five were locked
out of use. The only one in use was at the other end
of the train from where we sat in the last coach. Ever
tried a five coach walk in a sloping train on a
constanly winding route? The staff were apologetic but
not offering any compensation. Interestingly during
our latest visit in May 2007 we were booked on the BE
from Chur in a panoramic car which was not provided
until Pontresina. We received a full refund of the
reservation fee although we had the service paid for
for half the time. Note that the coaches were
manufactured by the same firm.

The new GE coaches have suffered from air-conditionig,
loo, lighting,suspension and brake problems I believe.
How can that be an improvement?

Well at least the first class ones are at 3 across
rather than the 4 of the Pininfarina cars. I thought
that was a right rip off. I thought the one I rode in
was better than the Pininfarina ones and my partner
said the loo was much better. The loo door in the
disabled car was certainly much better. Loo doors in
the older cars were a constant nightmare, often the
fight to get in or out of the loo would disturb others
in the vehicle.

[irrelevant quote removed]

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