Sunday, April 26, 2015

Schnaaggi Schaaggi steam train ride

Not having any plans for the weekend, Tristan and I agreed to meet up in Zurich-Wiedikon for a steam train ride organized by the Zuricher Museumsbahn down to Sihlbrugg and back with a long layover in Sihlwald. This route mostly follows the SZU Sihltalbahn (S4) with exception of the tunnel between Wiedikon and Bahnhof Giesshuebel, which gets used only by occasional freight trains coming up this route and on to bypass Zurich main station.

Arrival in Sihlwald. The grill is ready to feed hungry travelers.
Most of the trip leads through suburbs of Zurich, and, while nice, is actually not that impressive (well, with the exception that we are RIDING IN A STEAM TRAIN! YAY!)

It gets pretty between Langnau-Glattikon and Sihlwald, and really scenic between Sihlwald and Sihlbrugg.

Sihlbrugg is a junction with the regular main line that runs south from Zurich along Lake Zurich via Thalwil to Zug and Luzern. Early in the video Schnaaggi Schaaggi is running around our train in Sihlbrugg while an IR to Luzern is greeting it from the main line. It was fascinating to see this juxtaposition of "our" little steam engine and the modern electric passenger trains that dominate the Swiss railway system. Similar encounters repeated throughout the trip, thanks to the very dense and busy Swiss passenger rail system.

Sihlbrugg: Ready to return to Sihlwald
Sihlbrugg is a popular starting point for hikers. There are several routes to choose from that eventually lead to Sihlwald or further up the Sihltal where they can take S4 back to Zurich.

We took the steam train back to Sihlwald and watched servicing of the locomotive for a while.

While Tristan wasn't too pleased with the offerings at the grill, I got myself a sausage with bread, and enjoyed the view.

Eventually the locomotive service crew came over as well, grabbed food and drinks, and had their lunch, too. 

Just as we were starting to get bored, the locomotive came back to the train and the crew prepared for the return trip to Zurich.

I'm impressed by how the steam train schedule is part of the regular Sunday schedule, even though the train only runs on the last Sunday of the month in the summer. Most of this line is single-track, so meets between S-Bahn and steam train are built into the schedule in a way that maintains punctuality for the S-Bahn.

Back a Wiedikon, the locomotive had to run around the train again for the last trip to Sihlwald. Because of the busy S-Bahn schedule they really had to hurry up to get to the other end of the station. The video has this scene starting at 6:50.

I hung out on the platform until the train departed and got to watch more servicing, while the pressure relief valve lets off steam.

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