This post is the first of a series introducing some suburban railways here in switzerland. All of those I will present here I’ve already tried out (some more thoroughly, some less).
If you know interesting railways for me to try out, please do not hesitate to tell me!
I used to take the Forchbahn every day to go to school and later to work, but now that I live in the city, it’s just interest and visiting my parents that keeps me using it. Recently they had this bad accident, so I am still waiting for the new trains to finally be available to the public. Quite lame website by the way, but
here is some light-content which a non-german speaking visitor may understand.
Probably the most interesting thing about the Forchbahn is the terrain it is running through: It starts in the middle of Zürich (city environement) and goes all the way to quite agricultural environement – all within just 40 minutes. The most interesting spot in the whole track is the station Rhealp: It is non-planar and if there is only the slightest bit of moisutre on the track, the train will have quite a hard time in getting away there. Additionally in Rhealp, the voltage is changed from 600 Volts DC in Zürich (shared with the tramway) to 1200 Volts DC for the rest of the stretch.
The oldest cars they have where built back in the fifties. They are quite loud and shaky. If you happen to get into one of those (numbered 10 [although car number 10 isn’t used any more] to 15 and 101 to 110), take the control car as those are not quite as loud as the motor coaches. You will recognize them by having only two doors on the side and no pantographs.
The medium series is numbered 21 to 32 and 201 to 206 (i think – the 200-numbers habe no motors) where 31 and 32 have some smaller modifications but the whole series has the same motors. They are a lot quieter than the old ones (actually even quieter than the newest ones) and quite a bit faster but they have problems with moisture on the tracks – they are sliding quite often.
The first two cars in this series have no armrests on the side of the window.
The newest series is numbered 51 to 58 (all with motors). They are fast, don’t slide around that much, but they are quite noisy when accelerating. This is the first series containing a real computer for cruise control and other stuff and thus it’s the first series which can have softweare-problems preventing it from working ;-)
The Forchbahn really is quite cool, but there’s more to ride and I will tell you about!