Schynige Platte Railway

Schynige Platte Railway

The Schynige Platte railway (German: Schynige Platte Bahn, SPB) is a mountain railway in the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland, which connects the town of Wilderswil, near Interlaken with the famous wildflower gardens of the Schynige Platte.

An impressively and varied natural landscape unfolds on the journey, including forests, Alpine pastures and views of the Bernese Oberland. Towards the top of the line, there are also views of the imposing peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The line opened, using steam traction, in May 1893, and was electrified in 1914.

The line is owned by the Berner Oberland Bahnen AG, a company that also owns the
Berner Oberland Bahn railway. Through that company it is part of the Allianz - Jungfrau Top of Europe marketing alliance, which also includes the separately owned Wengernalpbahn, Jungfraubahn and Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen–Mürren railways.

Schynige Platte Railway History

The key milestones in the history of the line are:
1890 The concession for the line was given and the company is founded on 16 September.
1891 Construction starts.
1893 A train with special guests reaches the top on 5 May and the line opens to the public on 14 June.
1896 The Berner Oberland Bahn become the new owners.
1913 The first electric trial run operates on 15 October.
1914 Public electric services start on 9 May.
1928 The Schynige Platte Alpine Garden opens on the Schynige Platte.
1964 The Schynige Platte Railway receives 4 locomotives from the Wengernalpbahn.
1970 The Schynige Platte Railway receives 2 more locomotives from the Wengernalpbahn.
1978 The Schynige Platte Railway receives another locomotive from the Wengernalpbahn.
2001 Teddyland opens on the Schynige Platte on 7 June.


Schynige Platte Railway Route

The Schynige Platte Railway commences from Wilderswil station at an altitude of 584 m (1,916 ft), where it connects with the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge line of the Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB), which operates to Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. Wilderswil is within the built-up area around Interlaken, and buses also provide a connection from the station to the town centre and Interlaken West station.

The line initially runs alongside the BOB for just over 0.5 km (0.31 mi) before crossing the Lütschine river and starting its climb up the valley side. Initially it passes through forest, with a passing loop at Rotenegg at an altitude of 886 m (2,907 ft). The forest is followed by alpine pastures which offer views of the Bernese Oberland including the town of Interlaken bracketed by Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Another passing loop is located at Breitlauenen station, the line's only intermediate station at an altitude of 1,542 m (5,059 ft).

In the final stretch of the ascent, views open up of the glistening giants of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains to the south. The line terminates at Schynige Platte station at an altitude of 1,987 m (6,520 ft), after a journey of 7.25 km (4.50 mi) and a height gain of 1,420 m (4,659 ft). The Schynige Platte alpine botanical garden, a hotel and a mountain restaurant are all located near the summit station.


Schynige Platte Railway Operation

The Schynige Platte Railway is built to 800 mm gauge (2 ft 7 1⁄2 in gauge) and is electrified using a 1500 V DC overhead supply. It is a rack railway, using the Riggenbach rack with a maximum gradient of 25% (1 in 4). The line's depot and workshops are located adjacent to Wilderswil station.

The line is timetabled to only operate in summer months, from the beginning of June to the middle of October. As the upper section of the route, between Breitlauenen and the summit, is subject to heavy winter snowfall and occasional avalanches, the overhead catenary on this section is dismantled after the last train of the year, and reinstated before the first train of the next year can run. The process of removal or replacement normally takes a team of six employees a day to complete, and employs the line's one remaining steam locomotive.

The line provides some 15 return services per day, with services every 40 minutes and a journey time of 52 minutes. Any given service may be operated by a convoy of more than one train, with each train usually comprising an electric rack locomotive and two coaches. The locomotive always operates at the lower end of the train, pushing the train up the mountain and leading it down.


Schynige Platte Railway Rolling Stock

Rolling Stock No: 5
Rolling Stock Type: H2/3        
Rolling Stock Weight: 13t / 16.7t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1894    
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1894
Locomotive Notes: Steam locomotive (0-4-2RT). Used in the seasonal installation or removal of the catenary on the upper section of the line. Also operates a small number of public trains and is available for charter trains. Dampfbahn Schynige Platte 1.JPG

Rolling Stock No: 11    
Rolling Stock Name: Wilderswil
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2    
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW    
Rolling Stock Weight: 16.3t    
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/BBC    
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1914    
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1914
Locomotive Notes: now (2014) painted dark grey

Rolling Stock No: 12
Rolling Stock Name: Gsteigwiler
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2    
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW     
Rolling Stock Weight: 16.3t    
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/BBC    
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1914    
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1914
Locomotive Notes: Operated the first electric service on the Schynige Platte line; a trial run in October 1913. Has been refurbished and carries a colour scheme representative of that period.

Rolling Stock No: 13
Rolling Stock Name: Matten
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16.3t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/BBC
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1914
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1914

Rolling Stock No: 14
Rolling Stock Name: Gündlischwand    
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16.3t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/BBC
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1914
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1914

Rolling Stock No: 15
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1910
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1964-1992
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 55, 1992 back to WAB as shunter Lauterbrunnen, 1997 monument in Münchenstein BL (former Alioth factory)

Rolling Stock No: 16
Rolling Stock Name: Anemone
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1910
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1964
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 56

Rolling Stock No: 17
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1910
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1964-1996
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 57, withdrawn 1996

Rolling Stock No: 18
Rolling Stock Name: Krokus Gündlischwand
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1910
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1964
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 58

Rolling Stock No: 19
Rolling Stock Name: Flühbluhme
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1911
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1964
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 59

Rolling Stock No: 20
Rolling Stock Name: Edelweiss Gsteigwiler
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1911
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1970
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 60

Rolling Stock No: 61
Rolling Stock Name: Enzian
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1912
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1991
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 61, also on the SLB as number 21 between 1970 and 1981, rebuilt 1992

Rolling Stock No: 62
Rolling Stock Name: Alpenrose
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1912
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1989
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 62, rebuilt 1989

Rolling Stock No: 63
Rolling Stock Name: Silberdistel
Rolling Stock Type: He2/2
Rolling Stock Power: 220KW
Rolling Stock Weight: 16t
Locomotive Manufacturer: SLM/Alioth
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer: 1912
Locomotive Date of Manufacturer with SPB: 1996
Locomotive Notes: Originally WAB 63, rebuilt 1996

In 1992, the company started a rebuilding program for 12 coaches. On old underframes, brought to a unified length of 10.695 m (35.09 ft) over buffers, Ramseyer+Jenzer built a new steel body in the old compartment style. 

These coaches carry the numbers 41–52 (41–42 sit on the original underframes number 2 and 4, the others on underframes ex-WAB). Of the original stock numbers 6–8 (1894, 1924, 1929) with open compartments and 21–22 (1929, 1931) fully closed compartment coaches were kept and complemented with numbers 3 (open, 1893), 23 and 24 (closed, 1898, 1901) ex-WAB (last WAB numbers 3, 22, 24). 

This allows to build 10 consists of a locomotive with 2 coaches (see above, Operations). Original coaches 1 and 5 were scrapped in 1970 and 68, number 3 rebuilt as flat car (new number 91).


Schynige Platte Railway Operation

Schynige Platte Railway Owner:                    Berner Oberland Bahn
Schynige Platte Railway Number of Tracks:  Single track with passing loops
Schynige Platte Railway Track Gauge:          800 mm (2 ft 7 1⁄2 in)
Schynige Platte Railway Electrification:         1500 V DC overhead wire
Schynige Platte Railway Maximum Incline:    1 in 4 (25%)
Schynige Platte Railway Rack System:          Riggenbach rack


Schynige Platte Railway Route

Schynige Platte Railway to Interlaken Ost

Wilderswil Depot - 0km - 584m above sea level

Wilderswil station - 0.1km - 584m above sea level

To Lauterbrunnen & Grindelwald

Rotenegg - 1.84km - 886m above sea level

Breitlauenen - 4.61km - 1542m above sea level

Monch, Eiger and Jungfrau viewpoint

Schynige Platte - 7.26km - 1987m above sea level






 
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