Wetzikon Meilen's last wagon saved
filed on: 16.06.2009 (16th Jun 2009)
With such projects as Glattalbahn and Limmattalbahn now growing the Zürich tram system beyond its urban confines, it is often forgotten that there was a time that interurban lines extended much further into the surrounding countryside. Forchbahn and Bremgarten Dietikon Bahn (now BDWM) are but survivors of a once more extensive system. Wetzikon Meilen Bahn (WMB) was one of the more outlying part of this. It connected Kempten to Meilen Schifflände via Wetzikon, Gossau, Grüningen and Langholz, and opened in 1903. The short stretch from Meilen SBB to the lakefront at Schifflände closed in 1931, followed by Kempten to Wetzikon SBB in 1939. The remaining section survived until 1950. The corridor is now served by the VZO bus company. The above locations are all some distance from Zürich, but at Langholz (Oetwil) the line had a track connection to Uster Oetwil Bahn which in turn connected to Forchbahn's tracks at Esslingen. Through workings from Zürich did not occur regularly but there are reports of special trams having done this.
Passengers at Grüningen's bus station (which, as its railway-style architecture suggests, is the former WMB station) are reminded of this tramway by car CFe4/4 2, which is on display behind glass. Despite its appearance, this is not a genuine ex WMB tram but a practically identical vehicle from Trogenerbahn (BDe4/4 23) restored to represent the WMB vehicle by Tram Museum Zürich and placed here in 1992.
The only known vehicle to be a genuine WMB survivor is open goods wagon L53 of 1903 vintage. On occasions, WMB would fit this wagon with benches to provide delightful open-air rides. Following WMB's closure, L53 was transferred to the Solothurn – Niederbipp – Langenthal – Melchnau railway (now part of Aare Seeland mobil) where it was numbered K183 and ultimately passed to the custody of the track maintenance department. After 106 years of service, this rare vehicle (which still has its spoked wheels and other original features) has returned to Oetwil where it is displayed outside Holzhausen Museum. This institution now has a permanent exhibition on WMB's history.
Prellbock magazine (issue 3/09)
This news item is from the 2009 newslog.
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