Aigle–Leysin railway

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Aigle–Leysin railway
Transport Publics du Chablais logo.svg
Transports Publics du Chablais - 362 - 01.jpg
Overview
Termini Aigle
Leysin, Switzerland
Operation
Opened 1900-1915
Owner Transports Publics du Chablais
Operator(s) Transports Publics du Chablais
Depot(s) Aigle
Technical
Line length 6.209 km (3.858 mi)
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
Electrification 1500 V DC
Highest elevation 1,047 m (3,435 ft)
Maximum incline 23 %
Rack system Abt

The Aigle–Leysin railway (French: Chemin de fer Aigle–Leysin, AL) was the earliest of the narrow gauge line in the Chablais area of south west Switzerland. The line was opened on 5 May 1900, a 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)-gauge cog-wheel railway using the Abt rack system.

Nowadays it is joined in Aigle's main railway station by express trains of the Swiss Federal Railways together with those of three other, local, narrow-gauge railways: the Aigle-Ollon-Monthey-Champéry Railway (AOMC), the Aigle–Leysin Railway and the Aigle-Sépey-Diablerets Railway (ASD).

History[edit]

All three narrow gauge lines start outside Aigle CFF station: here in 1979
  • 5 May 1900 : opening of the section from Aigle CFF station - Grand-Hôtel des Bains (Aigle).[1]
  • 5 November 1900 : opening of the section from Grand-Hôtel des Bains - Feydey (Leysin)[2]
  • 1912 : The line between Leysin-Village et Leysin-Feydey is doubled[2]
  • September 1915 : Extension of the line to the current terminus at Leysin-Grand Hôtel.[2]
  • In 1946, the rolling stock was renewed, and the traction current voltage was changed from 650 to 1300 volts. This allowed the journey time to be reduced to around 30 minutes.[2]

The route[edit]

The Aigle–Leysin railway line is 6.5 km (4.04 mi) long and rises 1,047 m (3,435 ft) from its terminus outside the main line station in Aigle to its summit at the Grand Hôtel at Leysin. The first 1 km of the route is through the streets of Aigle from the railway station to the railway depot where the train reverses to enable the powered vehicle to be at the rear of the train for the uphill journey, normal working on a rack (cog-wheel) railway. From this point the line climbs steeply through the vineyards, the steepest gradient being 1 in 4.3 (23%).

The operating voltage of the line has changed four times, increasing from 600 V DC at opening, first to 650 V DC, then in 1946 to 1300 V DC, and later to the present operating voltage of 1500 V DC.

Mergers[edit]

In 1975 the four local railway companies, Aigle–Leysin, Aigle–Ollon–Monthey–Champéry, Aigle–Sépey–Diablerets and Bex–Villars–Bretaye (BVB) merged to form a single operating company, known as the Transports Publics du Chablais (TPC). This brought about increased co-operation between the companies in the provision of community-based services.

Federal involvement[edit]

The line leaves Aigle as a street tramway
The route now operates as TPC line A

In 1985, the Federal Government informed the Aigle–Leysin Railway, and other privately operated railways, that it would cease all funding the following year, however they renewed a federal concession for a further period of 50 years. An agreement was signed between the Canton of Vaud, the communities served by the railway and the Aigle–Leysin Railway and its partners to renew rolling stock and upgrade the track.

In the mid-1990s, faced with greatly increased operating costs, the Canton of Vaud and the communities served by the railway petitioned the Federal Government to revoke its 1985 decision. The Federal Government did so and in 1996, recognizing the importance of this regional line as a public transportation carrier, awarded the line with a contract to provide a public transportation service. This brought about, in 1999, talks which resulted in the founding, the following year, of Transports Publics du Chablais as the parent body of local public transportation with the four local railway companies as founding members. The railway now operates as line A under the TPC banner.

Locomotives, railcars and rolling stock[edit]

Compartment coach with compartment for lying patients CF2 21 at the Blonay–Chamby Railway (BC) in Chaulin at Summer 2010

The line owns just two locomotives. Their class He 2/2, built by SLM /SIG in 1915 was rebuilt in the company workshop during 2006/7, and has returned to service in near original condition and in its original red livery. They also have a 1949-built class Te 2/2.

The "automotrices" (railcars), painted in a light chocolate and cream livery, are, with the exception of No. 201 which is a class Arseh 2/4, of class BDeh 2/4. The company also owns 5 "Voiture Pilote"(driving trailers) of class Bt and retains 2 older coaches, class B2 for historic trains.

Details from official stock lists, May 2006 and personal observations 2006-2009.

No. Name Class Builders Details. Date Completed Notes
12 He 2/2 1915 Static monument, En Chalex
101 Te 2/2 Reb. AL 1949 Rebuilt 2006/7, returned to traffic, 2008. Out of service, Les Diabrelets, Sept 2009.
201 Arseh 2/4 SLM/BBC 1946 Converted to 1st class Restaurant Car
202 BDeh 2/4 SLM/BBC 1946
203 BDeh 2/4 SLM/BBC 1946
301 Aigle BDeh 2/4 SIG/SAAS 1966
302 Leysin BDeh 2/4 SIG/SAAS 1966
311 Yvorne BDeh 2/4 Vevey/BBC 1987 Ex-No. 303
312 Ollon BDeh 2/4 Vevey/BBC 1987 Ex-No. 304
313 La Berneuse BDeh 2/4 Vevey/BBC 1993 Ex-No. 305
351 Bt SIG/SAAS 1966
352 Bt SIG/SAAS 1966
361 Bt ACMV/SIG/BBC 1987 Ex-No. 353[3]
362 Bt ACMV/SIG/BBC 1987 Ex-No. 354
363 Bt ACMV/SIG/BBC 1993 Ex-No. 355
B2 1900
B2 1955

Abbreviations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aigle-Leysin, numéro spécial Histoire de mai 2003 dans TPC News, Transports Publics du Chablais
  2. ^ a b c d Maison, Gaston (1975). 75 ans du chemin de fer Aigle-Leysin (in French). Aigle: Revue des amis du rail. p. 104. 
  3. ^ Internetplattform Schmalspurtreff, Aigle-Leysin-Bahn (AL), Spur 0e Güterwagen K2 51 aus Karton, Beitrag vom 10.05.2013, Steuerwagen Bt 361 bis 363, ehemals 353 bis 355 retrieved 15 May 2013