Swiss Holiday 2015

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Monday 8th June was billed as a day to look at some of the private railways and tramways in the Biel/Bienne and Neuchatel areas. Plans unravelled somewhat once we had got to Bern when Siemens units 511123 (on the 08:43 to Biel) and six car sibling 511024 on the following 09:13 both failed with control issues. We transferred onto a BLS operated S-Bahn train, running over the same route, along with most of the passengers from the two missing SBB RE services. This meant the 4-car Cl.515 MUTZ unit was, what might be described as, ‘well filled’!

From Biel we boarded Aare Seeland Mobil (ASm) Stadler built unit 505 for the run towards Ins. We dropped off the train at Tauffelen to view the depot there. We were shown round by ‘the boss’ who then volunteered one of his fitters to take us down the line to Siselen to the other depot. Siselen station is a request stop so once we were ready to continue to Ins we had to push a button on the platform which would give a signal aspect to the train driver that there were waiting passengers at the next station. He duly stopped, slightly surprised to see the number of people waiting there!

From Ins we made our way to Neuchâtel on Transport Public Fribourgois (TPF) Stadler standard gauge unit 527191. The plan had been to view the Neuchâtel Tramway but, as we were well behind the clock, the trammists in the group very magnanimously offered to skip that part of the itinerary. So we continued to La Chaux-de-Fonds on refurbished SBB Cl.560/2 unit 560275. The low floor add-in centre cars of these units are air conditioned, very pleasant on a hot day!

From La Chaux-de-Fonds we took a look at the Chemin de fer du Jura (CJ), firstly on its metre gauge route to Glovelier. We boarded unit 612 for the run and en route crossed a steam hauled special working at Bollement. The CJ website indicates that they run special public services with the steam loco on selected dates between May and September (reservation is essential!). From Glovelier we continued to Porrentruy on SBB unit 521027, and then on to Delle on the French border on unit 560258. The line used to continue into France but is currently blocked by buffer stops, although we did gather that there is a move afoot to restore the line, and a train service, into France. Returning to Porrentruy we hopped on a CJ standard gauge unit, 567141, for the short run up to Bonfol. This unit was one of the prototype SBB Cl.560s prior to the squadron build of the class in the 1980s. SBB sold the unit to CJ in 2008. From Bonfol we returned to Porrentruy and thence to Biel for dinner, Chinese again in a restaurant just along the street from the station.

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TPF 198 Fribourg 08Jun15 Richard Morris
  Transports Publics Fribourgeois Stadler Flirt 198 (built 2014) at Fribourg. Photograph taken at 08:00 on Monday 8th June. Richard Morris

SBB 11325 Glovelier 08Jun15 Richard Morris
  SBB Re4/4 11325 having just arrived at Glovelier with a short freight train. Photograph taken at 08:00 on Monday 8th June. Richard Morris

ASm 503 and 509 Taumluffelen 08Jun15 Malcolm Hammond
  ASm units 503 and 509 (Stadler 1997) inside the depot / workshops at Täuffelen. Photograph taken at 10:43 on Monday 8th June. Malcolm Hammond

ASm 304 and 525 Siselen 08Jun15 Malcolm Hammond
  ASm 304 (built 1966) and 525 (built 1965) both former EMUs now used for departmental trains at Siselen working to Kieswerk. Photograph taken at 11:15 on Monday 8th June. Malcolm Hammond

ASm 523 Siselen 08Jun15 Malcolm Hammond
  ASm 523 (built 1965) a former EMU now used for departmental trains at Siselen working to Kieswerk. Photograph taken at 11:31 on Monday 8th June. Malcolm Hammond

BLS 235-095 Ins 08Jun15 Malcolm Hammond
  BLS diesel shunter 235-095 (built 1984) parked up at Ins. Photograph taken at 11:56 on Monday 8th June. Malcolm Hammond

CJ 560-141 Bonfol 08Jun15 Richard Morris
  Chemin de Fer du Jura unit 560-141 (ex SBB 560-002) at Bonfol waiting to work train R26465 to Porrentruy departing at 16:34. This Branch is at risk of closure due to the cost to upgrade to required disabled access standards. Photograph taken at 16:33 on Monday 8th June. Richard Morris

last updated: 06/11/15