Bex–Villars–Bretaye railway

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Bex–Villars–Bretaye railway
Barboleusaz train A.jpg
2001-built twinset 92 at Barboleusaz station
Native nameChemin de fer Bex–Villars–Bretaye
LocaleBex, Switzerland
Opened10 September 1898[1][2]
Line length17.1 km (10.63 mi)
Track gaugeMetre (3 ft 3 38 in)
Electrification700 V DC Overhead wire[1]
Highest elevation1,810 m (5,938 ft)
Rack systemAbt[1]
Route map
Villars-sur-Ollon Golf
La Clairière
La Barboleuse
Gryon Bois-Gentil
Les Posses
Le Bevieux
Foyer Dents-du-Midi TPC-bvb
Bex Pont-Neuf
Bex Place du Marché
Bex la Ruaz

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,[1][2] 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 line, with a total length of 17.1 km,[1] rises from 427 m (1,401 ft) at Bex to 1,810 m (5,938 ft) at Bretaye. Of this length, 7.34 km is operated on the Abt rack system.

Villars Railway Station

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.[1] 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.[3] 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.[4]

Electrical power is provided at 700 V DC[1] through an overhead contact wire.

Three-axle tram (15 or 16), at left, and three of the 21–26 series cars in front of Bex SBB/CFF station

Locomotives, railcars, and rolling stock[edit]

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.

No. Name Class Builder(s) Year completed Notes
8 Be 2/2 SWS[1] 1907[1] 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[1] 1948[1] Three-axle tramcar[1]
16 Be 2/3 SWS/SLM[1] 1948[1] Three-axle tramcar[1]
22 BDeh 2/4 SLM[1] 1940 Self-propelled electric railcar
23 BDeh 2/4 SLM[1] 1940 Self-propelled electric railcar
24 BDeh 2/4 SLM[1] 1941 Self-propelled electric railcar
25 BDeh 2/4 SLM[1] 1944 Self-propelled electric railcar
26 BDeh 2/4 SLM[1] 1945 Self-propelled electric railcar
31 Lavey HGe 4/4 SIG/MFO 1953 Locomotive
32 Villars HGe 4/4 1964 Locomotive
42 Te 2/2 SIG (rebuilt by BVB)[1] 1898[1] Shunting locomotive
51 B 1953 Rebuilt 1996
52 Bs 1953 Rebuilt 1999
53 Bst 1964 Control trailer; rebuilt 1997
54 Bt 1964 Control trailer; rebuilt 1999
61 Bt 1976 Rebuilt 2000
62 B 1977
63 Bt Schindler/SAAS 1976 Control trailer
64 Bt Schindler/SAAS 1977 Control trailer
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


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v 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.
  2. ^ a b Dölling, Gerhard (1993). Strassenbahnatlas Schweiz 1993 [Swiss Tramway Atlas 1993]. Berlin: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Blickpunkt Strassenbahn e.V. pp. 32, 112. ISBN 3-926524-13-8.
  3. ^ Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Light Rail Transit Association: 34. January 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "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.

External links[edit]