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2001-built twinset 92 at Barboleusaz station
|Native name||Chemin de fer Bex–Villars–Bretaye|
|Opened||10 September 1898|
|Line length||17.1 km (10.63 mi)|
|Track gauge||Metre (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)|
|Electrification||700 V DC Overhead wire|
|Highest elevation||1,810 m (5,938 ft)|
The Bex–Villars–Bretaye Railway (French: Chemin de fer Bex-Villars-Bretaye, BVB) is a metre gauge railway line operating between the towns of Bex and Villars-sur-Ollon and the Col de Bretaye mountain pass, situated in the Chablais region of southwest Switzerland. It is, in fact, two railways, one mixed adhesion and rack worked between Bex and Villars-sur-Ollon, the other, linking Villars to the Col de Bretaye being worked on the Abt rack system. Passengers making the full journey are required to change trains at Villars.
The authority to construct the railway was gained in three stages, that from Bex, a small town on the main Lausanne–Simplon railway, to Villars-sur-Ollon on 15 October 1897; from Villars to Chesières on 19 December 1905 and from Villars to Bretaye on 5 October 1911. The lines were opened in five stages. A tramway was opened from Bex to Bévieux on 10 September 1898, continuing to Gryon from 3 June 1900 as a rack railway and reaching Villars, again as tramway, just over one year later. The line from Villars to Chesières was opened on 12 August 1901, less than eight months after authorisation while the final link, that from Villars to Bretaye, opened on 18 December 1913 as a distinct company. The two companies BGVC and VB merged in 1943. However, the company was officially registered as "Forces motrices de l'Avançon" and this company still exists. Simply, the railway no longer belongs to this company. Since 1999 the line has been operated as part of the Transports Publics du Chablais and details from that date of investments are included under that heading.
The first part of the line, reflecting its tramway history, runs alongside and through the streets of Bex from its terminal in the square outside the main line station. For many years, the 3.4-km section between Bex station and Bévieux had a regular tram service in addition to the through service, albeit running only approximately hourly, using 1948-built three-axle trams 15 and 16. A bus service replaced the tram service in 2002, but in 2007 it was reported that a single round trip was still scheduled to take place each weekday, departing Bévieux at 7:01 and Bex at 7:15, using one of the 1948 trams. In 2013, this round trip was still being operated and was scheduled to depart Bévieux at 6:58 and return from Bex at 7:12, on weekdays only.
Locomotives, railcars, and rolling stock
The passenger services on the line are operated by railcars (self-propelled railway vehicles; in French automotrice), either singly or with driving-trailer cars (voiture pilote) or the more recently built twin-unit railcars (automotrice-double) of class Beh4/8. A full list is given below based on the official stock list of the railway together with personal observation.
Most of the goods wagons used on the line date from 1900–1910.
|8||Be 2/2||SWS||1907||Self-propelled electric railcar; rebuilt 1953; out of service|
|9||Be 2/2||SWS||1915||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|15||Be 2/3||SWS/SLM||1948||Three-axle tramcar|
|16||Be 2/3||SWS/SLM||1948||Three-axle tramcar|
|22||BDeh 2/4||SLM||1940||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|23||BDeh 2/4||SLM||1940||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|24||BDeh 2/4||SLM||1941||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|25||BDeh 2/4||SLM||1944||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|26||BDeh 2/4||SLM||1945||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|42||Te 2/2||SIG (rebuilt by BVB)||1898||Shunting locomotive|
|53||Bst||1964||Control trailer; rebuilt 1997|
|54||Bt||1964||Control trailer; rebuilt 1999|
|65||Bt||SIG/ACMV (Vevey)/BBC||1987||Control trailer|
|81||Gryon||BDeh 4/4||ACMV (Vevey)/SLM/BBC||1976||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|82||Ollon||BDeh 4/4||ACMV (Vevey)/SLM/BBC||1977||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|83||Bex||BDeh 4/4||ACMV (Vevey)/SLM/BBC||1987||Self-propelled electric railcar|
|91||Bretaye||Beh 4/8||Bombardier Transportation (Vevey)/Stadler||2000||Self-propelled twin-unit electric railcar|
|92||Barboleuse||Beh 4/8||Bombardier Transportation (Vevey)/Stadler||2001||Self-propelled twin-unit electric railcar|
|93||Tuttlingen||Beh 4/8||Bombardier Transportation (Vevey)/Stadler||2001||Self-propelled twin-unit electric railcar|
- ACMV....Ateliers de constructions mécaniques de Vevey
- BBC.....Brown, Boveri & Cie
- BT......Bombardier Transportation
- SAAS....S. A. Ateliers de Secheron, Geneva
- SIG.....Societe Industrielle
- SLM.....Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik, Winterthur
- Buckley, Richard (2000). Tramways and Light Railways of Switzerland and Austria (2nd ed.). Gloucester, UK: Light Rail Transit Association. p. 118. ISBN 0-948106-27-1.
- Dölling, Gerhard (1993). Strassenbahnatlas Schweiz 1993 [Swiss Tramway Atlas 1993]. Berlin: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Blickpunkt Strassenbahn e.V. pp. 32, 112. ISBN 3-926524-13-8.
- Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Light Rail Transit Association: 34. January 2008. Missing or empty
- "BVB timetable, valid 9 December 2012 – 14 December 2013". Transports Publics du Chablais. Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bex-Villars-Bretaye railway line.|
- BVB website (in French)