Narrow Gauge Panoramic Cars

Giger-Baumann <giger.baumann@...>

End of March in the factory at Altenrhein, Stadler handed over the first of ten panoramic cars to RhB (Rhätische Bahn) as local newspapers told. These cars belong to the PA90 type, developped by Schindler (who owned the Altenrhein factory at that time) as a unit construction system to match the very different parameters of Swiss narrow gauge lines. 41 cars of this type in 14 subtypes have been built until now, the maximum number of identical cars being 7. The PA90 system knows the following possibilities:
  • different lenghts as to meet restrictions on lines with very sharp curvature, as on Bernina line of RhB (45m radius) or St. Gallen - Gais of AB (30m radius)
  • closed or open toilet system or no toilets
  • intermediate or driving trailer (car or cab car)
  • conventional windows or panoramic windows (dome car)
  • air brakes or vacuum brakes, with or without cogwheel
  • center buffer or automatic coupling
  • air condition or conventional heating/fresh air system
  • electrical system for 300, 1000 or 1500 V a.c. or d.c. or combined
  • compartments
        A: first class 2054mm seating 2+1 or 2+2
        B: second class 1782mm (long distance) or 1650mm (short distance) seating 2+2
        D: baggage
        t: cab car
Cars have been ordered by:
  • AB: Appenzeller Bahnen, 1500 V d.c., air brakes (short cars with cogwheels), automatic coupling, 12 cars, short distance version
  • RhB: Rhätische Bahn, 300 V a.c. (and 1000 V d.c, short cars only)., vacuum brakes, central buffers, 17+10 cars, long distance version
  • SBB: Brünigbahn, 1500 V a.c., air brakes (with cogwheels), automatic coupling, 2 cars
The panoramic cars are:
2 SBB As 102-103, 1995, long, 2+2
3 RhB A 1291-1293, 2000, short*, 1+2, air condition, closed toilets
1+6 RhB B 2501-2507, 2000, short*, air condition, closed toilets, car 2501 with office instead of toilet
* as to have more seats, there is only one entrance per car
The other cars, delivered in 1992-93, were:
3 RhB A 1273-1275, short, 1+2
3 RhB A 1281-1283, long, 1+2
3 RhB B 2391-2393, long
1 RhB BD 2475, short
7 RhB B 2491-2497, short
2 AB ABt 134-135, long, 1+2, closed toilets
2 AB B 234-235, long, closed toilets
2 AB ABt 116-117, short, 1+2, without toilets
2 AB AB 191-192, short, 1+2, without toilets, car 192 delivered as B 192, seating 2+2
4 AB B 291-294, short, without toilets
Width of cars is 2650mm. And besides the gauge of 1 meter, these cars have one more thing in common: they are all painted in red.
Markus Giger
P.S. I sometimes hesitate, whether I should take the English or the American word. I know we have European and American members. I am grateful for suggestions how to improve my Railway-English (... or Railroad-American?). Please off-list. Thanks.