13th September 2009
© Tour Review by Stuart Smith
After yesterdays excellent tour, we all had high hopes for today.
Unfortunately, a communication error had resulted in the requested loco being used elsewhere, and so we had BLS 176 to start the day.
Although some will have no doubt scored this loco, most had had it as recently as April 2009 when it operated on another Charters Helvetica tour.
n the rear of the train was SBB Ae 6/6, number 11405 (the second oldest of the class still running in traffic), so this more than made up for the wrong brownie on the front.
Like the previous day, we followed the Thuner See out to Spiez, where we reversed and took the Lötschberg route towards Brig.
As with previous tours along this section of line, various yards and non-
The spectacular scenery and twisting nature of the route ensured that the journey Southwards went very quickly indeed. We had a spot of wrong line working through the actual Lötschberg Tunnel itself, taking the northbound track through the entire length.
At Lalden, we had time built in for a false arrival, which after passengers had disembarked; the train was propelled back a few hundred yards out of sight, then (with everyone in position) made a run towards us again.
Just as we were about to depart, 465016 arrived on an additional for Brig, being run to alleviate overcrowding on the new Lötschberger Units!
(And who says its only the UK that does away with loco-
Back on the move again, and we dropped down into Brig and took Track H12, and then along to Platform 90. This platform serves as the loading platform for car shuttles through the Simplon Tunnel, so does not see regular passenger use.
Once through the tunnel (passing the Italian border at the midway point) we emerged into Iselle. For our reversal here we used Track 5, which is used for the car-
A short photo stop was taken here which also saw 465010 heading light engine back up from Domodossola.
From here we retraced our path back through the Simplon Tunnel, then through Brig again, but this time taking the Rhone Valley route along the valley floor.
A fairly uneventful journey followed, (broken only by the use of the yard at Visp) until reaching St-
At Monthey we had to pass the service train, so rather than just sit in the main platform, we had time to shunt into track 45, which serves as a head-
Another short break at the end allowed time for ice creams, beers, paddle ship spotting or watching dare-
Back at the mainline junction of St-
Suitably refreshed, we started our homeward journey. The first deviation took us through the yard at St-
Whilst waiting at Vevey, ex-
(This loco is hopefully going to be used during part of the April 2010 tours, although you didnt hear it from me if it doesn't happen.)
After the steep climb to Puidoux-
For added bonus at Lucens, we made a shunt onto the Saint-
Continuing along through Payerne and Murten, we arrived at Kerzers and duly reversed in Platform 3. From here we took the rare North to East curve, and made our way towards Bern.
Departing from the capital, we took the mainline as far as Thun, where we ran via the freight yard, using Tracks 145 & 240, and then on to Spiez.
Here we had our final loco change of the weekend.
Since leaving Saint-
Would it be a 486+465 combo, a new pair of 425s, or something else from within Spiez depot?
After a quick loco change (not !!!) the headlights of 465018 and 465002 appeared from the depot and duly backed on to the stock.
So that was that, all that remained was for the pair of blue cruisers to speed us back to Interlaken. Some were happy with the final pairing, others not so.
Personally I was, as I required 002, but had had 018 on the tour back in November 2005.
So at just after 9pm, we arrived at Interlaken Ost (Platform 6) to round off another two successful days of railtours with Charters Helvetica.