Double-track island expansion
The existing crossing stations between Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg only allowed an irregular interval timetable with varying departure times and connections. In order to offer a regular half-hourly schedule with consistent connections in Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg, a new double-track island has been built between Wengen and Allmend. The new timetable has the advantage that trains in Wengen will no longer have to wait for up to 15 minutes for other trains to cross. The new service has started with the new timetable in December 2011.
Acquisition of rolling stock
In a further step, the Wengernalp Railway intends to procure new trains for the Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg section. In order to partially replace the now over 60-year old vehicles, new panoramic trains will be purchased in the coming years. These offer passengers more comfort, in addition to a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. The registration date of the new trains is not known at this time.
WAB PLUS, Wengen - Allmend double track expansion
Railway operation on the WAB section Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg is very costly. An irregular schedule, poor connections and old rolling stock no longer meet the requirements of a modern mountain railway. Another annoyance is also the long train stopover in Wengen of up to 20 minutes.
The excellent experience gained with the similar concept WAB 2005 on the Grindelwald side has served as the basis for measures considered for the Wengen side. A modern WAB will ensure a regular timetable with a half-hourly schedule and good connections. The planned quadruple circulation of rolling stock will already achieve medium-term savings on personnel and rolling stock. This requires a double-track island above Wengen, however. The crossings in Wengen and Allmend will be dispensed with as a result.
These measures mean that timetable flexibility can be considerably increased, rolling stock circulation improved and ultimately the main objective of timetable optimization achieved. In a later stage, out-dated rolling stock will be replaced by low-noise, low-floor trains.
The double-track extension extends from km 4,365 to km 5,277, mostly parallel and on the upper side of the existing track. The track system will be realised with a double-track island including today’s existing track and an enhanced catenary system. The longitudinal section follows the current conditions. In some places the existing track will have to be repositioned, in order to keep cutting into the mountain slope to an absolute minimum. Large sections of the catenary system will be newly constructed. A cable duct will be installed alongside the track, as well as track-ballast drainage against the upper slope. The ugly, free-standing switchgear will be removed. This is in the construction area, and the opportunity will be taken to hide it from sight in the transformer building in Wengen. Enhancing the safety installations is also a part of equipping the track system.
Construction will include various cuts into the mountain slope with subsequent protective measures, the building of anchored retaining walls (gravity retaining walls) as well as considerable modifications to the terrain.
Thanks to a joint solution with the land owners and environmental authorities, a major part of the excavated material, a total of approx. 13,000 m3 can be deposited some 200 metres above the construction site in a hollow on land belonging to the Wengen Farming Cooperation. In addition to an ecological and ultimately economically sensible solution, a marked improvement in the track will also be achieved.
Great emphasis will be placed on a natural and thereby tourism-friendly arrangement. As one example, the retaining walls will be constructed in natural stone. An ecological expert will accompany and supervise compliance with all environmental issues during the realisation phase.
Wild Ingenieure AG, Küssnacht, the engineering office responsible for the project, and the railway’s internal experts have estimated the total costs at CHF 9.6 million excluding the VAT.
Expansion of double-track island:
Planning started in 2009
Acquisition of rolling stock:
Planning in 2013
Double-track island facts
New track length: 912 m
Effective length of passing point: 885 m
Max. gradient: 161 ‰
Total length of retaining walls: 185 m
Number of passable railway crossings: 1
Track minimal radius: 60 m
Land acquisition: 4,756 m2
Temp. use of terrain: approx. 8,000 m2
Landfill area: 7,000 m2
Landfill volume: approximately 13,000 m3
Total cost: CHF 9.6 million (excluding VAT).