Switzerland - SPB Schynige Platte Bahn

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Schynige Platte-Bahn, which belongs to the same company group as BOB, Berner Oberland Bahn, is just a short sidetrack of the BOB route Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen, only 7 km long and leading from the village of Wilderswil (quite next to the town of Interlaken) only to the platform like area of Schynige Platte (=beautiful plateau), which has a magnificent view over the town of Interlaken and the Lake Thun. Lake Thun is said to be one of the most photographed lakes on earth. The railroad is a pure tourist attraction, run with locomotives from 1910-14 and coaches from 1910-1930s, a place where rich tourists are taken against a robber´s fee up the wonderful hillside in the old style in old coaches along the steep narrow gauge, cog wheel track. All the trains are hauled with small historic electric locomotives which are roughly 100 years old. But most of the coaches used just look old, they are replicas.

The company operates only during summer, normally using two of their totally 12 He 2/2 locomotives from 1910-14. All other railroads including the mother company BOB and the nearby WAB have stopped using the old He´s due to their unreliability. In fact, 8 out of the 12 He 2/2´s of SPB are from ex. WAB Wengernalpbahn. The railroad was opened 14.6.1893 and uses a gauge width of 800 mm (as BOB, WAB, Jungfraubahn and others nearby) and is electrified with 1500V DC since the beginning of the 1900s.

This is the Schynige Platte Bahn museum locomotive He 2/2 no. 14. This cog wheel, two axle plus cog wheels locomotive was built in 1914 by SLM/BBC. It weighs 16,3 tons and is only 5,74 m long. These small cog wheelers were built between 1909 and 1924 and were used on railroads all the way up to Jungfraujoch, well above 3000 m above sea level. Some, like this one, are still used as museum trains for expensive charter trips for tourists. Its maximum speed is a modest 12 km/h, at steep slopes only 8 km/h. Photo from Wilderswil station in May 1999 by Ilkka Siissalo.
Uploaded May 24, 1999.


Special steering cabin / snow plough wagons had to be used in the beginning of the last century in front of He 2/2 locomotives during wintertime in the harsh alpine conditions above 3000 m altitude. This one is attached in front of a tourist attraction museum train at Wilderswil. Photo in May 1999 by Ilkka Siissalo. Uploaded May 24, 1999.
Photo from Wilderswil station in May 1999 by Ilkka Siissalo.
Uploaded May 24, 1999.


The turn of the century museum train is waiting for rich tourists for another charter ride high up to Schynige Platte. All the coaches are from late 1800´s or very early 1900´s. Photo in May 1999 from Wilderswil by Ilkka Siissalo.
Uploaded May 24, 1999.


This small H 2/3 steam locomotive of the type 0-4-2RT no.5 is from the year 1894 and it is the last one of the original locomotives from the times when the Schynige Platte railroad was new. There were originally six of these machines, all built 1891 to 1894. They took care of all the traffic until 1913 when the first He 2/2 electric locomotives became available. This no.5 is still in 2019 occasionally in use for special trains on the line.
Picture from Wilderswil 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Electric locomotive He 2/2 no.63 - or rather the sorry remains of it - at SPB's depot in Wilderswil. Throughout the times Schynige Platte Bahn has had a total of 13 of these He 2/2 locomotives, all from the years 1910-1914. For about 100 years the typical SPB train always consisted of one of these locomotives plus one or two very old coaches.
Picture from Wilderswil 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.


He 2/2 no.61 from the year 1912 is despite its age of well over 100 years still in active use at Schynige Platte Bahn.
Picture from Wilderswil 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Typical Schynige Platte Bahn coaches. They look old, but in fact they are just old looking replicas. In most cases only the undercarriage structure is old.
Picture from Wilderswil 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.


A long consist of parked coaches. A typical SPB train consists of only two coaches which are being pulled uphill by a very old locomotive.
Picture from Wilderswil 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.


The coaches look old-fashioned, but in fact most of them are replicas built 1992-2002 using old undercarriages from 1901-1931.
Picture from Wilderswil 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.


In addition to the passenger trains, SPB needs also several maintenance trains. For example all the electric overhead wirings have to be every year dismantled at autumn and reinstalled in the springtime, because high up on the mountain there is a marked risk for avalanches.
Picture from Wilderswil 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.
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