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Concerning WSB aticle published in T&UT (November 2005)

Dear Editor,

I would like to make some clarifications to C.J. Wansbeek’s otherwise informative article on light rail in the Aarau area (T&UT, November 2005).

The correct spellings of the rivers that give Wynental and Suhrental (and hence WSB) their names are Wyna and Suhre. Confusingly, the Wynental line is geographically in the Suhre valley for its first 3km.

The 2008 date cited for the transfer of Aarau-Suhr services to the SBB alignment is speculative as funding remains uncertain. Also, the 2004 closure date of the SBB line concerns only passenger services as freight is still carried. To describe the current situation on the WSB between these two places as “gutter-running” fails to do justice to what it means to run a single track tramway on a narrow two-lane road. Motorists may suddenly be confronted with a tram coming the other way on their lane, and must respond by switching to the other side of the road. Although this situation is taught in driving schools, it remains a liability, especially for motorists who are not familiar with the situation. Similar practices can be observed in many other parts of Switzerland but mostly on roads that are less busy than this one.

The map marks the Beinwil to Beromünster railway line as closed and dismantled throughout. In fact, the WSB transferred its services to the section between Reinach and Menziken in 2002, so abandoning the street-running section that is marked as open on the map. Likewise, street running in Muhen ceased in 2004 when a more westerly reserved alignment was inaugurated. The map also indicates that the Schöftland line once terminated on the North side of Aarau station, but fails to add that the Menziken line did likewise. These sections were realigned in 1967 and 1924 respectively.

The system is not actually as old as the article suggests. The Suhrental line (Aarau-Schöftland) opened in 1901 and the Wynental line (Aarau-Menziken) in 1904. The two companies merged in 1958.

Letter submitted to T&UT in December 2005.

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