RhB : Bernina Gem 4/4


David Prior
 

I paid a call to Davos Platz today (to have a trip with Ge4/4i 605), and saw a large poster in the booking hall. Despite having been there 5-6 times during 2020/21, I hadn’t noticed this before (unobservant, or it’s recent).

Advertising the panoramic Bernina Express service is a picture of the train near - I think - Lago Bianco / Ospizio Bernina, headed by electro-diesel Gem4/4 801.

Can anyone confirm whether this was ever “usual”, or is a photo of a very rare working ? I’m just interested to know whether 801/802 have any passenger train history.

Probably a quite naive question, but I’ve never read a report of those two and not been around long enough to place this photo.


glyn.jones
 

Hi,

I have a photo I took in 2005 in Poschiavo of the Bernina Express being
hauled by Gem 801 and Abe 4/4 44 heading to Pontersina with 801 leading.

Regards,

Glyn


Guerbetaler
 

Am 15.05.2021 um 17:54 schrieb David Prior via groups.io:
I’m just interested to know whether 801/802 have any passenger train
history.
Until the modernization of the ABe 4/4 III 51-56 it was possible to freely combine any two out of 41-49, 51-56 and 801-802. Thus Gem+ABe was an often seen combination.

801-802 were needed for snow clearing and for work trains in diesel mode. But that wasn't every day. Without such tasks they were used in normal daily traffic, especially during the Summer season (when snow blowing was rare ;-))

In times when the Bernina-Express still was a group of short green EW I, uncoupled from the St. Moritz train in Samedan, 801+802 were for some time the diagrammed motive power for the Bernina-Express. They took over the group of coaches in Samedan and worked in diesel mode to the first stop after Pontresina (they can only switch the mode when stopped). This was until 1981, when Pontresina station was rebuilt and allowed ac trains to enter on track 3.

Markus, Gürbetal


DAVID STEVENSON
 

I have several photos of the Gems operating, even as late as 2011, with one of the ABes. Haven’t been since. It would be rare to see one on it’s own though with a passenger train.

DAVE S


Andy
 

Hello Dave,

The Gems were, in fact, designed as express engines, (in one sense) in that they were designed to haul the Bernina Express from Chur to and through Pontresina using diesel, continuing along the line non-stop until they stopped to pass another train, whereupon the pantographs were raised and the diesels turned off, before continuing to Tirano. In winter, when the Bex was short (up to five coaches), a single Gem was sufficient but from the expansion in the summer to more coaches (I've seen photos of up to 9 - all green in the early days), both Gems were used.

Later, by the mid '80s, there are photos of them hauling localzug single-handed and, as Glyn has mentioned, to help double-head the summer Bex. This was because in those days, for a while, the Bex was not allowed to pick up 'local' passengers so the railcars (the 40s in those days; with the 50s as of 1988), had to run empty. Since tourist trains were pretty full in the summer in the late 80s, the 40s tended to be used for the busiest trains of the day, which they could only do if a Gem were used for the Bex. Since if bookings were high the Bex then ran in two parts (Bex A-D), both Gem could indeed be seen occasionally heading express trains as originally intended.

I think the last time I saw a Gem heading a timetabled passenger train was in 2011, and then only as a replacement for what would normally have been a 40, which presumably had failed. By that time the Allegra were multiplying and it would not be long before the 40s also stopped being used for passenger trains...

Hope that brief 'general history' helps,

Regards, Andy McMillan


glenn allen
 

801 & 802 worked on passenger trains, I have photos of them from 1987 to 2009 as either the lead or second vehicle on passenger trains. In recent years I’ve only seen them on infrastructure trains or working with a snowblower.

 

 


Guerbetaler
 

Am 15.05.2021 um 22:11 schrieb Andy:
The Gems were, in fact, designed as express engines, (in one sense) in that they were designed to haul the Bernina Express from Chur to and through Pontresina using diesel,
Sorry, Andy, this is not a fact. Fact is, that this use of Gem only started five years after their delivery and was a way to overcome the flaws of the ancient Pontresina track plan. Finally they pulled the BEX, which then only existed in Summer, between 1973 and 81. And they only pulled it out of Samedan, not out of Chur!

But the intention of RhB when they ordered these locomotives was to get two snow clearing trains that could operate in diesel mode. Together with Gem 801-802 the Xrot et 9218-19 were delivered. Even if they were electric rotary snowploughs, it was possible to use one of Gem's diesel generator group to feed the Xrot et while the second one was used for the (slow) traction of the train.

It was also intended to use these locomotives to replace the remaining steam locomotives in any use. 1971 during repair work in the Magnacun tunnel, which required the electric wire to be taken down, Gem 802 pulled the trains through the tunnel.

Finally it was intended to get additional motive power for the Summer season on the Bernina line.

Markus, Gürbetal


Guerbetaler
 

Am 15.05.2021 um 21:44 schrieb DAVID STEVENSON via groups.io:
I have several photos of the Gems operating, even as late as 2011,
with one of the ABes
I would be very much interested in 2011 photos, as the ABe 4/4 II went out of passenger use by the end of 2010.

Markus, Gürbetal


Mick Sasse
 

I was thinking "surely I've had a Gem more recently than 2011?!" - but having checked my moves book: Nope, it was September 2007, on the way from Aleppo to South Gosforth via Alp Grüm... (802+44 on the 09:06 [Tirano -] Alp G - Pontresina [- St M] on 10/09/2007)

Now that's what I call a sign of ageing!!!


Guerbetaler
 

Am 16.05.2021 um 00:53 schrieb Mick Sasse:
but having checked my moves book: Nope, it was September 2007
Thanks for looking up. I can also offer photos of 2007. Serching the internet, I found photos of 2009 of mixed MUs
https://bahnbilder.ch/picture/5290

And, very interesting, an MU of 801 and 802 pulling BEX in 2010
https://bahnbilder.ch/picture/6840

I can't find photos or indications that a Gem was on a passenger train after 2010.

Markus, Gürbetal


gordonwis
 

I posted one of my pictures on a Facebook 'loco bashing' group in June last year captioned thus:

RhB 802 and 45 entering Bernina - Lagalb station southbound. 19/8/2009

[it was a timetabled passenger train]


gordonwis
 

Here is my 2009 picture


David Prior
 

Thank you to all for taking time to post these many interesting replies - it’s much appreciated.

The image I originally mentioned on the wall at Davos Platz station does indeed have two traction units ; behind the Gem4/4 is what I believe to be an ABe 4/4 II, in line with what many have reported/photographed.

David


Andy
 

I agree with everything you say - except that only in quieter times was the Bex part of an Albula Expresszug. When it was run in two sections the 'B' (which left first) was certainly added to the back of an RhB train but in high summer I am sure I've seen a photo of the main portion (Bex-A) storming up the Albula with two Gems throwing diesel fumes to the heavens. It will take me a while to ;locate it but I was surprised to find it when I saw it too...
WRT the return trip, certainly by 1988 the C and D portions (C portion up to 3 coaches; D portion originally 8 but latterly normally 7), arrived at Pontresina at different times. These were added together and with a B or an AB (there were through coaches from Pont-Chur and vice-versa in those days), at the front and a restaurant car between that and the Bex, it was certainly hauled as a complete train back to Chur, normally by a Ge6/6ii. There are several photos of it.

While an RE with a Bex Tail is not unknown, when the main 8 coach Bex was hauled to an engine change at Samedan the front portion was normally only a Ge6/6ii, an AB and a B, so little more than through coaches Chur-St M.

It is certainly true, however, that there were many changes of stock and policy over the years; nothing stays static for long on the RhB - which is one of its charms ! (At least we can agree on that, I'm sure!)

Kind regards, Andy McMillan


Guerbetaler
 

Am 16.05.2021 um 14:28 schrieb Andy:
I agree with everything you say - except that only in quieter times
was the Bex part of an Albula Expresszug.
Andy, we speak about timetable 1973-81.

Markus, Gürbetal


Andy
 

Andy, we speak about timetable 1973-81.
Fair point, Markus.

However, as David wrote, " Can anyone confirm whether this was ever “usual”, or is a photo of a very rare working ? I’m just interested to know whether 801/802 have any passenger train history", I have offered info from other periods.

I'm sure he's got the picture now, though. 8^)

Regards, Andy


Andy
 

Haven't found the Gems heading anything in the public passenger line in 2010 0r 2011; but I do remember seeing one more recently. I found it; it's dated 18th Oct 2019... (attached).
As for the ABe 4/4ii, they were indeed in use on Regionalzug and Bex right until the end of 2010, (the last pair I photographed was on the 23rd Dec), but while they appear often (dozens of times) in 2011, none are on passenger trains. I have however seen a pair heading a passenger train more recently, (same date), but I can only presume it - or rather they - were a charter or film episode, as it remains a singular event afaik. (Also attached.)

Regards, Andy McMillan


Guerbetaler
 

Am 18.05.2021 um 20:05 schrieb Andy:
Haven't found the Gems heading anything in the public passenger line in 2010 0r 2011;
Latest regular passenger use I found was 18th October 2010
https://www.eisenbahnfotos.ch/bahn/displayimage.php?album=search&cat=0&pid=5110#top_display_media
BTW, the train was 40 min late, 801/802 jumped in for failed motor coaches, the caption says

but I do remember seeing one more recently. I found it; it's dated 18th Oct 2019...> but I can only presume it - or rather they - were
a charter or film episode, as it remains a singular event afaik.
yes, charter

https://www.bahnbilder.de/bild/schweiz~rhaetische-bahn~strecke-berninabahn-sm-ti/1174218/fotoextrazug-mit-gem-44-802-murmeltier.html


Illya Vaes
 

Op wo 26 mei 2021 om 17:55 schreef Andy <andy@countrysidemodels.co.uk>:
Haven't found the Gems heading anything in the public passenger line
in 2010 0r 2011;
July 5th 2010: both RhB 802 and 801 with local 1629 St. Moritz - Tirano.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/56649659@N00/49837629341/in/dateposted-public/
They pulled local 1660 Tirano - St. Moritz back.


Illya Vaes
 

Op wo 26 mei 2021 om 22:49 schreef Illya Vaes <illyavaes@gmail.com>:
Op wo 26 mei 2021 om 17:55 schreef Andy <andy@countrysidemodels.co.uk>:
Haven't found the Gems heading anything in the public passenger line
in 2010 0r 2011;
July 5th 2010: both RhB 802 and 801 with local 1629 St. Moritz - Tirano.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/56649659@N00/49837629341/in/dateposted-public/
They pulled local 1660 Tirano - St. Moritz back.
The next day 801 did the same services together with the 48, which was
the usual combination I ever saw with the Gem's (two together was pretty
unique for me).