Switzerland - Travys, OC Orbe-Charvornay railroad

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The "old" Orbe-Chavornay railroad still as an independent rail company


The Orbe - Chavornay railroad OC is just a 3,9 km long private normal gauge line. It was opened already in 1894 and it was at that time Switzerland's first electric railway. It was originally electrified with 600 V DC, but now uses 750 V DC. There has all the time been both passenger and cargo traffic on the line and there is a switch connection to the federal railways SBB main line at Chavornay. But it is the cargo part which has kept the small line alive for so long. There are large industrial plants along the line, including the huge coffee brewery and instant coffee manufacturing plant of the company Nestlé and also a huge container terminal.

For many years the only passenger traffic on the OC rail line was handled by this one small electric railcar, Be 2/2 no. 14. Riding the whole OC line end to end takes only 10 to 11 minutes, so this single railcar could run a twice an hour service.
Picture from Orbe 26.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Another view of the same small Be 2/2 railcar.
Picture from Orbe 26.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.


The same small motorwagon Be 2/2 no.14 has left the station of Chavornay and is here heading towards Orbe.
Picture from Chavornay 13.7.2007 by Ilkka Siissalo.


This BDe 4/4 railcar no.13 from the year 1920 was kept as a reserve and was used only during those times when the motor wagon no.14 shown above was being repaired. This wagon was taken out of use in 2013.
Picture from Orbe 25.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.


The same BDe 4/4 railcar no.13 from 1920 in use just shortly before it was taken out of use. This motor wagon was sold to Buckower Kleinbahn in Germany and it has again been operational there since 2017.
Picture from Orbe 6.4.2013 by Wikimedia Commons user "NAC". Picture published under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. Copyright Wikimedia Commons user "NAC".


This BDe 4/4 railcar no.12 was also from 1920. Here it is seen still in 2003 in its original colours. It had a partly wooden chassis and during 2003 it was already being dismantled to win spare parts for the wagon no.13 which was by then partly modernised. This one was taken out of use in 2002.
Picture from Orbe 26.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.


This Fe 2/2 motor wagon no.32 has been used as a locomotive both at the OC depot in Orbe and also in cargo traffic for many, many years. It was built by SIG and Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon in 1921.
Picture from Orbe 26.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.


The same Fe 2/2 motor wagon no.32 in Orbe 26.7.2018. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Copyright owner is user "Plutowiki" of Wikimedia Commons.


For some time the OC railroad had this clubwagon. It was a former SBB suburban train coach from the Zürich suburban traffic. There was a small kitchen and bar built in and it was offered for club and company meetings while at the same time rolling along the small railroad. The wagon was scrapped fairly quickly because there was not enough use for it.
Picture from Orbe 26.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.


This small electric locomotive Ee 2/2 no.1 has for many years been operating at the huge industrial complex of the company Nestlé at Orbe. OC has two of these small locomotives numbered 1 and 2. They were built by the companies SIG and MFO in 1970. Several companies and private railroads have very similar locomotives built by the same manufacturers, but these two are the only ones built for 750V DC current.
Picture from Nestlé factories at Orbe 26.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Side view of the same locomotive Ee 2/2 no.1.
Picture from Nestlé factories at Orbe 26.1.2003 by Ilkka Siissalo.

OC railway as part of Travys


The OC railway became since summer 2003 a part of Travys, which operates also the narrow gauge railway between Yverdon and Sainte Croix and also the normal gauge former PBr railway, Vallorbe - Le Brassus, also known as the Vallée du Joux railway. Travys also operates local buses. One of the first things to happen was that the OC line got a new large diesel locomotive for the cargo traffic of the Nestlé factories. The small passenger motor wagon no.14 was replaced by a larger train, which was taken over from SZU Uetlibergbahn. There are now also plans to change the line's electric system from 750V DC to the same 15 kV AC which federal Swiss railways SBB is using. This would allow SBB's locomotives to directly run to the OC line but it would alo of course mean that all of the old electric motor wagons and locomotives will have to be replaced.

BDe 4/4 no.15 is the "new" train replacing the old small motor wagon no.14 shown above. This train is not exactly new either. It is a former SZU Uetlibergbahn train from the year 1960. The motorwagon has gotten the name "L´Orbe" and its steering wagon Bt51 is now called "La Sihl".

This picture was originally published by the Wikimedia Commons user "Montbijouwiki". The picture has been taken sometime during spring of 2009. It is published under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.


This old and small Tm 238 diesel shunter locomotive was transferred from the Vallée du Joux railway PBr to OC after OC became part of Travys. It is now normally doing shunting work at Chavornay station. Chavornay is the place where OC's 750 V DC electric system transfers to SBB's 15 kV AC, so diesel machines are needed for moving wagons from one network to the other.
Picture from Chavornay 13.7.2007 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Travys has bought one old Re 420 (Re 4/4) locomotive, ex. SBB for cargo traffic purposes. Especially the company Nestlé needs huge amounts of coffee beans at their instant coffee factories at Orbe. Typically these coffee trains arrive from Antwerpen. Inside Switzerland these coffee trains are often hauled from Basel to Chavornay using this locomotive. Then there is a new diesel of the type Am 842, which takes the coffee trains along OC's 750 V DC line to Nestlé at Orbe.
This picture is copyrighted by user "JoachimKohlerBremen" of the Wikimedia Commons service. The picture is licensed with the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license. It has been taken at Aarberg in the Kanton of Bern 4.11.2018.
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