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Forchbahn BDe4/4 farewell

filed on: 18.10.2004 (18th Oct 2004)

The end of BDe4/4 and Bt4 operation on Forchbahn was marked in style by a VHF tour yesterday (17th October). On the first leg, the formation consisting of 105 + 13 + 104 + 12 brought visitors from Stadelhofen to Forch. Commemorative tickets were issued on board. Many riders flocked to the windows to enjoy the characteristic song of the motors echoing along Forchstrasse for the last time (on the newer trains, windows cannot be opened to this extent). A first photo stop was held in the forest above Rehalp, much to the anger of honking motorists, who were flagged to a stop during the brief three minutes that photos could be taken.

At Forch, a line-up was staged with representatives of all rolling stock generations. Inside the depot, refreshments were served and souvenirs sold (the author went home with a destination flip-board from 108). In the afternoon, the tour continued with the same vehicles being coupled into various typical (and not so typical formations) and shuttling between Forch and Esslingen (each time in a different composition) with the ubiquitous photo stops. Many further photographers lined the road. Unfortuntely, the morning's good weather gradually deteriorated. Some good photos can, however, be seen on Adrian Senn's website. Congratulations are due to VHF for the excellent organisation and operation.

The future of these vehicles was also much discussed during the tour. They will be sent to Antananarivo, Madagascar (many have already been shipped) where they will be used to operate a suburban service on what, according to the source, is either a disused tram line or a section of railway line. For this purpose, diesel generator units will be fitted by the new owners. There is some doubt as to whether the venue will be a success, as only a small section of the line is curently runable and it is not clear how strong commitment is to repairing the rest. Neither is it clear whether the line follows a corridor in need of such a form of transport. The Swiss Confederation is financing the shipment and Forchbahn donating the cars. Possibly, three Bts could also go to BVB (Bex).

On Forchbahn, BDe4/4 10-16 and Bt4 101-8 are being replaced by Stadler built Be4/6 low-floor articulated cars 61-73. Delivery has now reached 70. Three such units coupled replace a four car set of bogie cars, with the thirteenth unit being kept spare. BDe4/4 10 is to be preserved by VHF.

See also 04.10.2004 (tour) and 13.07.04 (Madagascar).

This news item is from the 2004 newslog.

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