Waldenburg railway

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Waldenburg railway
Logo Waldenburgerbahn.png
Locale Switzerland, Canton of Baselland
Termini Liestal
Opened 1880
Owner Waldenburgerbahn AG
Line length 13.1 km (8.1 mi)
Track gauge 750 mm (2 ft 5 12 in)
Electrification 1500 V DC
Maximum incline 3.8%
Route diagram
0,0 Liestal Bahnhof 327 m above the sea
1,3 Altmarkt 334 m above the  sea
3,4 Bubendorf Bad 360 m above the  sea
4,6 Talhaus 373 m above the  sea
5,8 Lampenberg Station 396 m above the  sea
7,9 Hölstein Station 423 m above the  sea
8,5 Hölstein Süd 434 m above the  sea
Hölstein Weidbächli 446 m above the  sea
Hirschlang 461 m above the  sea
10,8 Niederdorf Station 469 m above the  sea
11,7 Oberdorf Winkelweg 490 m above the  sea
12,3 Oberdorf Station 499 m above the  sea
13,1 Waldenburg Station 518 m above the  sea
Stop at Bad Bubendorf
Terminus at Waldenburg
Line passing through Oberdorf
Line passing through Hölstein
Waldenburg train arrives at Liestal, with SBB train to left
Share of the Waldenburger-Bahn-Gesellschaft, issued 1. March 1880

The Waldenburg railway (German: Waldenburgerbahn; WB) is a narrow-gauge light rail system in the canton of Basel-Landschaft. The 13.1-kilometre (8.1 mi) long[1] single-track line runs from Liestal, the capital of the canton, to Waldenburg, with stops in Bubendorf, Hölstein, Niederdorf, and Oberdorf. It connects to SBB train services in Liestal railway station.[1][2]

The line is operated by the Waldenburgerbahn AG, and is, with the exception of a few industrial and funicular lines, the only line in Switzerland with a track gauge of 750 mm (2 ft 5 12 in). It was opened on 1 November 1880 and was operated by steam-hauled trains until 1953, when electric operation began.[1][2]


A concession was granted by the canton of Basel-Landschaft on 18 June 1871 for the construction of a narrow gauge railway from Liestal to Waldenburg and eventually further to Langenbruck. In 1873 the concession was altered to give the Swiss Central Railway the commission to build the railway. For financial reasons in 1876 the Swiss Central Railway requested a deadline extension. On 25 November 1879 the Waldenburgerbahn was founded as a separate company and took over the concession for the railway from Liestal to Waldenburg.

After only eight months' construction, the railway opened on 30 October 1880. Seats were provided in second- and third-class carriages. In 1881 the railway served eight stations with four journeys in each direction. The fastest journey over the whole 13 km line took 56 minutes.

In 1909 a committee made an application for the construction of and operation of an electric narrow-gauge railway from Waldenburg through Langenbruck to Balsthal, with a connection from St.Wolfgang to Mümliswil. The outbreak of World War I stopped plans for the extension of the line, and a 1912 proposal to electrify the line and regauge it to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) gauge.

On 26 October 1953 electric operation of the railway began, using 1500 V DC. New rolling stock was acquired for this.

The current rolling stock, consisting of seven railcars and 10 control cars was acquired between 1986 and 1993, replacing the 1953 stock.

In late 2015, the government of Basel-Landschaft canton approved a plan to convert the line from 750 mm gauge to meter gauge in 2023.[3]


The line is built to 750 mm (2 ft 5 12 in) gauge, and is electrified at 1500 V DC. For most of its route, the line takes the form of a single-track roadside electric tramway. There are 11 intermediate stops, and six passing loops.[2]

The journey over the whole line takes around 24 minutes. The line forms part of the Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz (TNW) common fare network, and is numbered 19 in that network's publicity, but this number is not displayed on the vehicles. The line runs a half-hourly service throughout the day, with additional trains during peak hours. From spring to autumn tourist trains are also operated, hauled by the only operating steam locomotive on the line, 1902-built Number 5 Gedeon Thommen.[2][4][5][6][7]

Rolling stock[edit]

Current rolling stock[edit]

Image Numbers Notation Year Notes
090927 Liestal IMG 4913.JPG 5 G 3/3 1902 Steam locomotive Gedeon Thommen; built by SLM; plinthed at Liestal station in 1961 but returned to working order in 1980; now used for tourist service[1][8]
090927 Liestal IMG 4909.JPG 11-17 BDe 4/4 1985
Bogie motor cars; 11-14 built in 1985-86; 15-17 in 1993
WALDENBURGERBAHN1.jpg 111-120 Bt 1985
Bogie driving trailers; 111-114 built in 1985-86; 115-120 in 1993
Four historic carriages; now used for tourist service

Former rolling stock[edit]

Image Numbers Notation Year Notes
Rehhag2G2WBi.jpg 2 G 2/2 1880 Steam locomotive Rehhag; built by SLM; by 1913 in use on the construction of the Hauenstein Tunnel; ultimate fate unknown[9]
Waldenburg4G3WBi.jpg 4 G 3/3 1887 Steam locomotive Waldenburg; built by SLM; out of service in 1910 and subsequently scrapped[10]
4 G 3/3 Steam locomotive Langenbruck; in use up to electrification in 1953; ultimate fate unknown[8]
6 G 3/3 1912 Steam locomotive Waldenburg; built by SLM; sold into preservation in 1954; now at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne[8]
7 G 5/4 1938 Steam locomotive; built by SLM; continued in use after electrification but scrapped in 1960[8]
Trains du Waldenburg (4).jpg 1-3 CFe 4/4
BDe 4/4
1953 Motor cars; out of service; scrapped

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Buckley, Richard (2000). Tramways and Light Railways of Switzerland and Austria (2nd edition), p. 119. Gloucester, UK: Light Rail Transit Association. ISBN 0-948106-27-1.
  2. ^ a b c d Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2012. p. 11. ISBN 978-3-89494-130-7. 
  3. ^ "Medienmitteilung Umspurung der Waldenburgerbahn". 
  4. ^ "Abfahrtszeiten ab Waldenburg Station Richtung Liestal Bahnhof" (PDF). Waldenburgerbahn AG. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  5. ^ "Abfahrt Bahnhof Liestal" (PDF). Swiss Federal Railways. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  6. ^ "Linienfahrpläne". Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz. Retrieved 2015-01-27. 
  7. ^ "Dampf- und Sonderzüge". Waldenburgerbahn AG. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Switzerland's Waldenburgerbahn, 2010". www.internationalsteam.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  9. ^ Moſer, Alfred (2006). Der Dampfbetrieb der ſchweizeriſchen Eiſenbahnen 1847—2006. Ein abſchließendes, umfaſſendes Werk über ſämtliche Dampflokomotiven der ſchweizeriſchen Eiſenbahnen. et al. (7 ed.). p. 325. ISBN 978-3-033-00948-6. 
  10. ^ Moſer, Alfred (2006). Der Dampfbetrieb der ſchweizeriſchen Eiſenbahnen 1847—2006. Ein abſchließendes, umfaſſendes Werk über ſämtliche Dampflokomotiven der ſchweizeriſchen Eiſenbahnen. et al. (7 ed.). p. 331. ISBN 978-3-033-00948-6. 

External links[edit]