Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday 9 October - Kaeserburg and Yverdon Ste. Croix

This Rhaetian Railway locomotive is outside the entrance
This is the front of an Ae 6/6 locomotive which has been set up as a simulator
This circular display of models of different scales kept the kids interest until it was time to go in for the presentation
After an uphill climb to the station we caught the train to Fribourg.  The countryside is fairly flat with mixed farms.  At one station we stopped beside a field of bright green lettuce plants.  They will have to be harvested quite soon before the frost gets them. At Fribourg we caught a trolley bus and then walked about ten minutes to visit the Kaeserburg Model Railway.  We had reservations but arrived behind a coach party.  We had plenty of time but the lady on the desk ensured that we had priority seating for the presentation before the visit.

The first part is an audio visual presentation on the concept of the railway, how it was developed and how it was built.  Paul and I found this very interesting but many of the kids must have been bored stiff.

We were then taken into the lower level where there were set up two massive staging yards, one for SBB standard gauge and one for RhB meter gauge.  At this point there was a lengthy description and some of the kids, big and small wanted to actually see some trains running
There is no scenery in this two level staging yard

Mirrors are used to show the wiring complexity

There is a large, four track, helix which takes the trains up into the operating area.  We then went upstairs to see the trains.

The main station area is controlled through an entrance-exit CTC panel.  This is pretty complicated and the operator has to be on top of things.  All trains are run by computer but he has to route trains through the station area.

At one point the lights were dimmed and we were treated to six minutes of night.  All the passenger trains are lit as are all the vehicles on the layout.
The upper level shows the Kaeserburg rack railway which is served by the Rhaetian Railway
There is a large section unfinished.  One gets the impression that it is there to demonstrate the techniques used in the construction rather then as an interim stage towards a finished product.
The people at the railway were impressed that we had made a point of visiting coming all the way from Canada and said that we should come back in 2018 when the model would be complete.

A lot of work is required on all equipment before it is put on the layout.  In order to ensure reliable operation all wheels are turned to their own specifications. We were surprised to learn that this is a DC layout with an incredible number of sections, the power to each one being controlled by computer.  If they had to do it again they would probably use a DCC system.

The trolley bus took us back to Fribourg and we decided to go to Yverdon les Bains to see what was happening on the Yverdon to Ste. Croix narrow gauge line.
The fake "crocodile" was still in use but the cars behind it were only used now to pull freight trains
There was no evidence of sugar beet loading but these two large flatcars of pit props had just been transferred from narrow gauge skates to the standard gauge.  Pit props were being loaded at Ste. Croix and there was evidence of loading at other stations as well.  It must have been quite a sight when these large cars were brought down the hil on narrow gauge skates.
Since we were here this time last year the railway has taken delivery of three new trains which have taken over all passenger operations with a doubling of train frequency
Ste. Croix. The climb up the scarp to Ste. Croix is always exciting, especially this time as there had been a serious runaway here late last year.
To accommodate the improved train schedule the sidings at Vuitboeuf and Trois Villes, at the top of the hill, have been signaled.  Under the old service the trains crossed at Baulmes.

Click here to see pictures taken of Travys (Yverdon - Ste. Croix)

While waiting for the ICN to take us back to Neuchatel we noticed two 70 year old side rod switchers which are being gradually scrapped at Yverdon

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