Brünig railway line

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Brünig railway line
ZB Interregio mit HGe 101 bei Niederried.jpg
An InterRegio train following the Lake Brienz shoreline. The locomotive is a rack-and-adhesion type HGe 101.
Operation
Owner Zentralbahn
Operator(s) Zentralbahn
Technical
Line length 74 km (46 mi)
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge
Electrification 15 kV, 16 23 Hz
Maximum incline 12% (rack); 3% (adhesion)
Rack system Riggenbach
Route diagram
0,0 Lucerne 436 m above the sea
0,4 Hubelmatttunnel 550 m
Lucerne Allmend/Messe
2,3 Former KLB
1,8 Allmendtunnel 470 m
3,4 Kriens Mattenhof
4,5 Horw 441 m above the  sea
7,4 Hergiswil Matt 445 m above the  sea
8,7 Hergiswil 449 m above the  sea
Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line
Lopper I 1186 m
13,2 Alpnachstad 435 m above the  sea
14,9 Alpnach Dorf 452 m above the  sea
18,7 Kerns-Kägiswil
20,6 Sarnen 473 m above the  sea
23,4 Sachseln 471 m above the  sea
Ewil Maxon
29,3 Giswil 485 m above the  sea
32,2 Kaiserstuhl OW 698 m above the  sea
Tschoren 44 m
35,8 Lungern 752 m above the  sea
Käppeli 146 m
37,8 Käppeli 896 m above the  sea
40,1 Brünig-Hasliberg 1,002 m above the  sea
42,1 Brunnenfluh 810 m above the  sea
45,5 Meiringen 595 m above the  sea
50,8 Unterbach
53,2 Brienzwiler 575 m above the  sea
57,8 Brienz 566 m above the  sea
Brienzdorf 895 m
59,3 Brienz West 581 m above the  sea
Bachtalen 168 m
Dorni 361 m
61,9 Ebligen 582 m above the  sea
Bolaui 134 m
65,0 Oberried Brienzersee 589 m above the  sea
Kehlengraben 187 m
Grütgraben 55 m
68,3 Niederried 578 m above the  sea
Platten 26 m
Lehnen 53 m
Ringgenberg 112 m
71,0 Ringgenberg 596 m above the  sea
Bürgli 50 m
Rotegg 348 m
Aare 167 m
74,0 Bernese Oberland railway
74,0 Interlaken Ost 567 m above the  sea

The Brünig railway line (German: Brünigbahn) is a Swiss narrow gauge railway line that links Lucerne, in central Switzerland, with Interlaken, in the Bernese Oberland. The line runs via Alpnachstad, Giswil, Meiringen and Brienz, and passes over the Brünig Pass, using sections of rack railway to overcome the gradients, but with most of the line operated by normal adhesion methods.[1]

The line is 74 kilometres (46 mi) long. It opened in stages between 1888 and 1916, and was, between 1903 and 2004, the only narrow gauge line of the Swiss Federal Railways. Today the line forms part, along with the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line, of the Zentralbahn railway company. The line is served by regular InterRegio trains that operate the full length of the line, together with Regio trains that operate between Interlaken and Meiringen, and Lucerne S-Bahn trains between Lucerne and Giswil. The section of line between Hergiswil and Lucerne also carries regular trains on the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line.[2][3][4]

History[edit]

An early train on the climb from Meiringen to the Brünig pass
A train near Meiringen, under Swiss Federal Railway ownership.

The line was constructed by the Jura–Bern–Lucerne Railway (JBL), which opened the section between Brienz over the Brünig Pass to Alpnachstad in 1888. Initially, the line relied on steamships on Lake Brienz and Lake Lucerne for its onward connections. In 1889, the line was extended from Alpnachstad to Lucerne, giving connections to the rest of the Swiss railway network. In 1891, the JBL became part of the Jura–Simplon Railway (JS).[2][3][5]

In 1903, the JS became part of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). Only in 1916 did the last section of the current line, between Brienz and Interlaken, open. This allowed through trains to operated from Lucerne to Interlaken, and provided an easy interchange with trains to Bern and beyond.

The line was electrified in 1941 and 1942, using the standard Swiss main line system of 15 kV 16 23 Hz AC supplied by overhead line. The electrification lead to a significant acceleration of services, with typical through journey times reduced from over 3 hours to 2 hours.[2][3]

In 1964, a junction was constructed at Hergiswil with the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg Railway (LSE), and from that date trains of the LSE used Brünig line tracks to reach Lucerne station. On 30 June 2004, the Swiss Federal Council empowered the SBB to sell the Brünig line to the Zentralbahn company, formed by the LSE, and which now owns both railways. The takeover took effect on 1 January 2005.[2][6]

In late 2012, a new tunnel route was opened between Kriens Mattenhof station and the approaches to Lucerne station. The tunnel replaces a less direct surface alignment, allowing the abolition of several congested level crossings and the provision of double track. A new station, Lucerne Allmend/Messe, built within the tunnel, serves the Swissporarena.[7][8]

Operation[edit]

Route[edit]

Gradient profile of the line
Start of the line; the Brünig line terminal platforms in Lucerne station.
Giswil station is the terminus of the S-Bahn service from Lucerne.
A GoldenPass liveried train descending the rack section from the Brünig Pass towards Giswil.
Brünig-Hasliberg station is the summit of the line, in the Brünig Pass.
A train climbing the rack section from Meiringen to the Brünig Pass.
Regio trains, made up of Stadler SPATZ units, passing at Brienz.
Bridge carrying the line over the Aar river into Interlaken Ost.

The line begins at Lucerne station, one of Switzerland's principal railway stations and which is shared with the standard gauge lines of the Swiss Federal Railways. The metre gauge terminal platforms, and the first section of the line, are shared with trains of the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line. Shortly after leaving the station, the line enters a tunnel under Lucerne's southern suburbs as far as Kriens Mattenhof station. From here the line runs on the surface to Hergiswil, where the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line diverges.[1][3]

From Hergiswil station the Brünig line runs through the Lopper I tunnel, under a shoulder of Mount Pilatus, to Alpnachstad, which is the starting point of the Pilatus railway. The two lines are of different gauges, and there is no track connection. From Alpnachstad station, the Brünig line follows the Sarner Aa river and Lake Sarner to Giswil. Beyond Giswil station, the line's first rack section then allows the line to climb to Kaiserstuhl station. From here, the runs through the upper basin of the Sarner Aa and alongside Lake Lungern as far as Lungern. This is the steepest adhesion worked section of the line.[1][3]

After Lungern station, a second rack section lifts the line to its summit at Brünig-Hasliberg station in the Brünig Pass. Beyond the pass, the line descends its third and final rack section, down the steep side of the valley of the Aar river, to Meiringen. This is the steepest rack worked section of the line. At Meiringen station, the Brünig line reverses direction with trains both entering and leaving the station from the west end. The Meiringen–Innertkirchen railway (MIB) connects here, leaving the station from its eastern end. Although there is a track connection between the two lines, they are electrically incompatible, and no through trains operate.[1][3]

From Meiringen to Brienz the line runs close to the Aar river, in that river's valley. At Brienz station, the starting point of the Brienz Rothorn railway is beside the Brünig railway station. The two lines are of different gauges, and there is no track connection. Beyond Brienz, the Brünig line runs along the northern shore of Lake Brienz, in a section often affected by landslides. Finally the line crosses the Aar river on a high bridge, so built in order to allow lake shipping to reach Interlaken. It then passes over the standard gauge access to the BLS AG works at Bönigen, before descending into its terminus at Interlaken Ost station, which is shared with the BLS AG and Berner Oberland railway (BOB). There is a physical connection with the BOB, which is also metre gauge, but again the lines are electrically incompatible and no through trains operate.[1]

Stations[edit]

Infrastructure[edit]

The line is built to metre gauge (3 ft 3 38 in gauge), and operates on the rack and adhesion principle, using sections of Riggenbach rack to overcome the steeper gradients gradients encounted on the approaches to the Brünig pass, but with most of the line operated by normal adhesion methods. The line is electrified using the standard Swiss main line system of 15 kV, 16 23 Hz AC, delivered by overhead line. The line has maximum gradients of 12%, using the rack, and 3%, using simple adhesion.[1]

The route is 74 kilometres (46 mi) long. It consists mostly of single track with passing loops at most stations, although the section between Lucerne and Hergiswil, which is shared with the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line, is mostly double track. For much of the distance between Lucerne and Horw, one of these two tracks is dual gauge, allowing standard gauge freight trains to reach the industrial areas along the line, and the Eichhof brewery.[1]

Services[edit]

The line is served by hourly InterRegio trains that operate the full length of the line, stopping at all stations between Meiringen and Giswil, but only at a selected stops between Interlaken and Meiringen, and between Lucerne and Giswil. An hourly Regio train operates between Interlaken and Meiringen, stopping at all stations. Between Lucerne and Giswil, twice-hourly trains of the Lucerne S-Bahn line S5 provide a stopping service. The section of line between Hergiswil and Lucerne is shared with trains on the Luzern–Stans–Engelberg line, including a further InterRegio train per hour, and the twice-hourly Lucerne S-Bahn line S4.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2012. pp. 22, 33. ISBN 978-3-89494-130-7. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Die Geschichte der Zentralbahn" (in German). Zentralbahn. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Allen, Cecil J. (1958). Switzerland's Amazing Railways. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons. pp. 107–109. 
  4. ^ a b "Luzern–Brünig–Interlaken". Bundesamt für Verkehr. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  5. ^ Bärtschi, Hans-Peter. "Jura-Simplon-Bahn (JS)" (in German). Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  6. ^ Peter Berger, Hans Waldburger and Christoph Berger (1998). Bahnen nach Engelberg. Luzern: Minirex. ISBN 3-907014-10-3. 
  7. ^ "Ausbau Zentralbahn" [Zentralbahn Expansion] (in German). Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  8. ^ "Ausbau Zentralbahn - Ziele und Nutzen" [Zentralbahn Expansion - Objectives and Benefits] (in German). Retrieved 2013-01-15. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Brünigbahn at Wikimedia Commons