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Electric Railways of the Berner Oberland

Paul Russenberger, 21st November 2017

The November meeting was organised by the Electric Railway Society and the speaker was Paul Russenberger of the Swiss Railway Society. After a brief history of the Swiss Confederation Paul showed a few well chosen pictures of trams in Bern with a suitably snow covered mountainous background.

The approach to the main topic of the evening was by way of the narrow gauge Chemins de fer Montreux-Oberland Bernois from the French speaking Canton Vaud to Zweisimmen and an end on connection with the standard gauge BLS to Interlaken Ost. From Interlaken Ost the interconnected group of lines comprising the Berner Oberland-Bahn, Schynige-Platte-Bahn, Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen-Mürren, Wengernalpbahn and Jungfraubahn were covered in turn. In each case an historical summary of opening and electrification dates and other significant data preceded a selection of pictures of the line in question. Varying gauges and electrification systems mean that each line requires its own dedicated rolling stock.

The pictures had been taken over the course of many visits at all times of the year from high summer to the winter sports season. As a walker and skier, Paul had taken pictures of trains in spectacular landscapes as well as more conventional railway enthusiast's views at stations etc.

It was a very comprehensive and well received presentation on an area where narrow gauge electric railways continue to play a very important role in supporting tourism and the local economy.

Geoffrey Tribe

London Area - 21st November 2017

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