Sunday, 13 December 2015

The line over the last couple of decades


Leysin Feyday



Leysin Grand Hotel



The line I know best in Switzerland is the CF Aigle-Leysin, locally known as the Cog. This runs from Aigle on the main line up to the skiing town of Leysin. I have spent many months in Leysin, including a whole winter. This is the easiest way to travel, the road is 15km whilst the railway is 5km, thanks to using the rack. Leysin has four stations, all at different levels. The line runs tramway style in Aigle to the Depot, where it reverses and immediately gains the rack. The first section runs through vineyards, many of which have their own monorail systems for gathering the grapes.

There's an excellent service, hourly in both directions from about 5am to midnight. Some of the older trains still run, there are also some very modern units. The line is metre gauge, there are two other metre gauge lines originating in Aigle, so it's narrow gauge heaven!

A trip down the mountain 2011

Foggy Leysin Village station.

Past vineyards on the outskirts of Aigle.

Starting on the street track past Aigle Depot station.

Aigle Place du Marche halt.

Tight squeeze!

Station approach.

Entering the station forecourt area.

All pics copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing 14.9.2011

You never really get used to it, and I must have done this trip 40 times! The Aigle-Leysin line starts from a brand new station adjacent to the main SBB station in Aigle and immediately runs on street to Aigle Depot station, just over a mile, before reversing and taking the rack up the mountainside to eventually reach, via a couple of wayside halts, the four stations in Leysin.

The street running includes a stretch along a narrow one way street which always delights! Whether from the train or from the pavement it's always entertaining.

The line is busier than ever and replacement of the street running section is not even on the radar so you can safely wait a little longer before visiting. The line itself is absolutely essential, taking just 20 minutes to link Aigle and Leysin, a much longer journey both in miles and time if you're unfortunate enough to have to drive!

There are two other metre gauge lines at Aigle, the long Aigle-Ollon-Monthey, Champery line which has lost its street running stretch in Aigle - it was a simple job to lay a new line along the SBB route and regain the original route just outside town. There is however street track remaining on this line in Collombey, plus a decent amount of roadside running. The other line is the Aigle-Sepey-Diablerets route which still uses street running to exit Aigle, and also has a very rural roadside stretch (traversed twice on every journey) into Le Sepey.

Chemin de Fer Aigle-Leysin


Aigle–Leysin railway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aigle–Leysin railway
Transport Publics du Chablais logo.svg
Transports Publics du Chablais - 362 - 01.jpg
Leysin, Switzerland
OwnerTransports Publics du Chablais
Operator(s)Transports Publics du Chablais
Line length6.209 km
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
Electrification1500 V DC
Highest elevation1,047 m (3,435 ft)
Maximum incline23 %
Rack systemAbt

All three narrow gauge lines start outside Aigle CFF station: here in 1979
The Aigle–Leysin railway (FrenchChemin de fer Aigle–Leysin, AL) was the earliest of the narrow gauge line in the Chablais area of south west Switzerland. The line was opened on 5 May 1900, a1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)-gauge cog-wheel railway using the Abt rack system.
Nowadays it is joined in Aigle's main railway station by express trains of the Swiss Federal Railways together with those of three other, local, narrow-gauge railways: the Aigle-Ollon-Monthey-ChampéryRailway (AOMC), the Aigle–Leysin Railway and the Aigle-Sépey-Diablerets Railway (ASD).

Compartment coach with compartment for lying patients CF2 21 at the Blonay–Chamby Railway (BC) in Chaulin at Summer 2010
  • 5 May 1900 : opening of the section from Aigle CFF station - Grand-Hôtel des Bains (Aigle).[2]
  • 5 November 1900 : opening of the section from Grand-Hôtel des Bains - Feydey (Leysin)
  • 1912 : The line between Leysin-Village et Leysin-Feydey is doubled
  • September 1915 : Extension of the line to the current terminus at Leysin-Grand Hôtel.
  • In 1946, the rolling stock was renewed, and the traction current voltage was changed from 650 to 1300 volts. This allowed the journey time to be reduced to around 30 minutes.

The route

The Aigle–Leysin railway line is 6.5 km (4.04 mi) long and rises 1,047 m (3,435 ft) from its terminus outside the main line station in Aigle to its summit at the Grand Hôtel at Leysin. The first 1 km of the route is through the streets of Aigle from the railway station to the railway depot where the train reverses to enable the powered vehicle to be at the rear of the train for the uphill journey, normal working on a rack (cog-wheel) railway. From this point the line climbs steeply through the vineyards, the steepest gradient being 1 in 4.3 (23%).
The operating voltage of the line has changed four times, increasing from 600 V DC at opening, first to 650 V DC, then in 1946 to 1300 V DC, and later to the present operating voltage of 1500 V DC.


In 1975 the four local railway companies, Aigle–Leysin, Aigle–Ollon–Monthey–Champéry, Aigle–Sépey–Diablerets and Bex–Villars–Bretaye (BVB) merged to form a single operating company, known as the Transports Publics du Chablais (TPC). This brought about increased co-operation between the companies in the provision of community-based services.

Federal involvement

The line leaves Aigle as a street tramway

The route now operates as TPC line A
In 1985, the Federal Government informed the Aigle–Leysin Railway, and other privately operated railways, that it would cease all funding the following year, however they renewed a federal concession for a further period of 50 years. An agreement was signed between the Canton of Vaud, the communities served by the railway and the Aigle–Leysin Railway and its partners to renew rolling stock and upgrade the track.
In the mid-1990s, faced with greatly increased operating costs, the Canton of Vaud and the communities served by the railway petitioned the Federal Government to revoke its 1985 decision. The Federal Government did so and in 1996, recognizing the importance of this regional line as a public transportation carrier, awarded the line with a contract to provide a public transportation service. This brought about, in 1999, talks which resulted in the founding, the following year, of Transports Publics du Chablais as the parent body of local public transportation with the four local railway companies as founding members. The railway now operates as line A under the TPC banner.

Locomotives, railcars and rolling stock

The line owns just two locomotives. Their class He 2/2, built by SLM /SIG in 1915 was rebuilt in the company workshop during 2006/7, and has returned to service in near original condition and in its original red livery. They also have a 1949-built class Te 2/2.
The "automotrices" (railcars), painted in a light chocolate and cream livery, are, with the exception of No. 201 which is a class Arseh 2/4, of class BDeh 2/4. The company also owns 5 "Voiture Pilote"(driving trailers) of class Bt and retains 2 older coaches, class B2 for historic trains.
Details from official stock lists, May 2006 and personal observations 2006-2009.
No.NameClassBuilders Details.Date CompletedNotes
12He 2/21915Static monument, En Chalex
101Te 2/2Reb. AL1949Rebuilt 2006/7, returned to traffic, 2008. Out of service, Les Diabrelets, Sept 2009.
201Arseh 2/4SLM/BBC1946Converted to 1st class Restaurant Car
202BDeh 2/4SLM/BBC1946
203BDeh 2/4SLM/BBC1946
301AigleBDeh 2/4SIG/SAAS1966
302LeysinBDeh 2/4SIG/SAAS1966
311YvorneBDeh 2/4Vevey/BBC1987Ex-No. 303
312OllonBDeh 2/4Vevey/BBC1987Ex-No. 304
313La BerneuseBDeh 2/4Vevey/BBC1993Ex-No. 305
361BtACMV/SIG/BBC1987Ex-No. 353
362BtACMV/SIG/BBC1987Ex-No. 354
363BtACMV/SIG/BBC1993Ex-No. 355