Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday: Kandersteg Autoverladung

The BLS is operating a car loading facility at Kandersteg station to take cars through the Loetschbergtunnel. I walked over to the other side of the station and approached the attendants.

Me: "Excuse me, would you mind if I take photos of you when loading and unloading cars on the train?"
Attendant: "Huh? What do you want?"
Other Attendant: "[rolls eyes] He wants to take photos."
Attendant: "You can't go on the tracks. We'd get into trouble, if you do that."
Me: "I'd get into trouble, too, if I did that."
Attendant: "Stay on the ramp, and don't get in the way of the cars."
I walked over to the end of the ramp, enjoyed the sunshine and took photos. It was quiet, no activity at the ramp.

A few minutes later, a loaded train arrived from Goppenstein.

These BLS Re 4/4 locomotives don't look that impressive, but are very strong and already 50 years old. Numbers 170 - 190 are even equipped with ETCS.

At the ramp, the trains pull all the way forward to the bumper.

The side board of the first car can be lowered onto the ramp, and the cars drive off to the side.

The train is quite long. All cars drive forward until they reach the flat car behind the locomotive and leave the train.

When all cars are off the train, the train is loaded for the opposite direction.

Hello, Ludwigsburg!

I'm apparently not the only one interested in documenting the experience...

I really like these locomotives. They have a somewhat odd-ball personality.

The last couple cars for a departing train always enter the ramp at higher speed, obviously worried they'd miss the departure and would have to wait 20-30 minutes for the next train. There are three loading tracks here. I can imagine that it might have gotten very busy during the peak travel seasons before the Loetschberg base tunnel was built.

After hanging out at the ramp for a while, I decided to hike up a nearby hill and look at the operation from a higher vantage point.

There's even a bench here.

The shadows were getting longer, and it didn't take long until the sun started to hide behind mountains.

One last photo.

Hiking over old snow back down to Kandersteg station.

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