Passenger trains on industrial tracks?
filed on: 06.06.2012 (6th Jun 2012)
They can still be found, those railway tracks criss-crossing the city's industrial areas, often lightly built and running by the roadside if not on grooved track on the roadway. Their number has decreased over the years under the combined effect of heavy industry making space for residential developments and the broader downward trend in wagonfreight. Nevertheless, some such lines do survive and two even cross tram lines at grade. One is the Swissmill siding (picture above), remnant of a once more extensive system in the Hardbrücke area crossing the tram lines at Escher-Wyss-Platz. This line is still used by several trains a day serving Swissmill. Seeing much less use is another line from Bahnhof Altstetten to Zollfreliager Altstetten (formerly used as a customs storage site) but currently being redeveloped as housing. The line crosses tram route 2 on Badenerstrasse. A branch off this line serves the VBZ workshops in Altstetten and is occasionally used for deliveries of new trams, transferring old ones (as recently used by the Mirages headed for Vinnitsa) and delivering track supplies.
Seeking to improve connections to the new housing development, VBZ investigated whether the line could be used as a passenger link using lightweight railcars. The investigation has produced a negative result, with the many road crossings and the need to secure these being among the reasons. Nevertheless, the line will see some further use with spoils trains from the clearing of the site using the line. After that only the section serving the VBZ workshops will be retained.
This news item is from the 2012 newslog.
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