The Bernese Oberland Railway (BOB) is being modernised. The first railcar from the new rolling stock was delivered in November 2016. After successful test trips and acceptance by the Federal Office of Transport (FOT), the maiden voyage took place on Friday, 10 February 2017 from Interlaken Ost to Zweilütschinen. The new railcar was inaugurated by the President of the Board of Directors of Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG, David-André Beeler, the CEO of Jungfrau Railways Urs Kessler and the Manager of BOB Stefan Würgler, together with the Bernese Senior Councillor Barbara Egger-Jenzer. The Senior Councillor provided an enthusiastic greeting: "The new BOB railcars stand before us – leaving nothing to be desired: low floors, comfortable, efficient operation, speedy and quiet."
For the first time, a sustained rolling stock concept
The inaugurated railcars have been running according to timetable from Monday, 13 February 2017. A total of six new three-part trainset and three low-floor units were ordered from BOB for over 77 million francs. The delivery was made step-by-step up to autumn 2017. "Together with the renewed rolling stock at Wengernalp Railway 2014/2015 and Jungfrau Railway 2016, we have realised, with investments of 170 million francs, a modern, qualitatively high and future-oriented concept for the next 30 years from Interlaken Ost to Top of Europe," said Urs Kessler. For this purpose, Jungfrau Railways has, for the first time in its history, a consistent concept for rolling stock and operations from 565 to 3,454 metres above sea level.
New depot for modern trains
In order that the new rolling stock can be maintained directly on site, the existing workshop in Zweilütschinen was extended. The main building for the new depot is 135 metres long, 20 metres wide and 8.5 metres high. This included construction of a main hall with two tracks with pit platform, service platforms and moveable overhead line, as well as an underfloor lifting facility for lifting an entire railcar. The five-track hall is planned with an integrated washing bay. Another two outside tracks and a signal box have also been newly created. There have also been various renovations and construction works in the existing workshop. The investment amounts came to a total of approximately 35 million francs. Start of construction was in summer 2015. After nearly 1.5 years of construction, the depot could be put into operation in December 2016. Completion, including environmental adaptations, will be accomplished by summer 2017.