Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Switzerland 1988: Maroggia-Melano

Deutsche Version dieses Postings

The following picture of a "tractor" (a small switching locomotive) is, unfortunately, too dark:

Station, Maroggia-Melano, 20.8.1988

In the same station, I then took a few photos of the Integra relay interlocking frame. The line towards Melide had already been "banalized", i.e., been equipped for two-direction running on both tracks, as can be seen from the two home signals on that side. On the opposite side, from Capolago, there is only one home signal, indicating standard left-hand side running:

Interlocking frame, Maroggia-Melano, 20.8.1988

It is interesting to look at the signal designations, which finally show speed indications different from the ubiquitous 1 and 2 indications: The home signals have designations A711/2/3 and A621/2/3, meaning they can signal indication 1 ("Clear"), 2 ("Execute speed restriction 40km/h") and 3 ("Execute speed restriction 60km/h"). The starting signals are called B1,22/3 for the first two platform tracks, B31/3 and B41/2 at the running main tracks.

Hanspeter Thöni adds a number of remarks:

Enlarging the track plan shows that points 1, 2 and 3 are marked with a small 'wedge' between the track lines. This wedge indicates that these are 'points with special properties', where the diverging route can be travelled with 60km/h. This matches the signal designations given above.

The 'banalisation' on the right side can also be seen at the route switches: There are no red signal indications, because there are no longer routes on the 'wrong' track. As happened frequently, the banalisation required too much space for the switches and lamps for the line block. Therefore, a small Integra-Domino panel had been added on the right side.

Without seeing the details on the left side, it is impossible to find out which line block system was used there: Either the same one as in Grenchen Süd, or a so-called OH-block (also called Chrüzliblock). However, it is certain that it was possible to close one track and run bi-directionally on the remaining track.

The round item over the switch for points 8/Ss is an auxiliary cover to prevent accidental reversal of the points.

And, finally, the picture above with the complete interlocking frame shows, on the left (below the calendar), a panel for controlling the lamps on the platforms and in the station building. Nowadays, all these lamps are controlled remotely.


Interlocking frame, Maroggia-Melano, 20.8.1988

When we rode back over the Gotthard, heavy thunderstorms poured tons of water on the landscape. At (I believe) Bodio I took this picture of a huge waterfall behind the station tracks:

Falling water, Bodio?, 20.8.1988

Switzerland 1988: Lugano

Deutsche Version dieses Postings

South of the Alps, in Ticino: I took only this single picture of the Lugano cable car, the heaviest travelled funicular in all of Switzerland:

Funicular, Lugano, 20.8.1988

The interlocking frame was of the German type VES1912:

Interlocking frame, Lugano, 20.8.1988

All the route switches were placed together on the right side:

Interlocking frame, traffic bureau, Lugano, 20.8.1988

Above the electro-mechanical frame, an Integra track panel had been added in later times:

Track panel, Lugano, 20.8.1988

Here are the route switches, on the left for the line to Lamone-Cadempino, on the right for routes from and to Melide:

Interlocking frame, Lugano, 20.8.1988

And finally, here is a picture of the large station building:

Station, Lugano, 20.8.1988

Monday, September 26, 2016

Switzerland 1988: Läufelfingen and somewhere else

Two photos of SBB locomotives, taken at some unknown location:

SBB Ae 6/6 11417, 19.8.1988

SBB Ee 3/3 16425, 19.8.1988

From the train, I aimed at the Integra frame at Läufelfingen:

Integra frame, Läufelfingen, 19.8.1988

Signal box, Läufelfingen, 19.8.1988

Somewhere—probably at Sissach—, I met this Ae 4/7.

Hanspeter Thöni found an interesting detail in this image: At the points, the fouling point is not at the same location where the track circuits end. Therefore, two markers were used: The yellow one marks the track circuit and is used for trains, the red one is the marker for the actual fouling point. A similar distinction was made in Austria with the so-called "small" and "large" fouling point markers.

Ae 4/7 11003, Sissach?, 19.8.1988

Friday, September 23, 2016

Switzerland 1988: Semaphores at Kiesen

Deutsche Version dieses Postings

From Kerzers I continued to Kiesen, where I had seen a semaphore on the previous day. Here are three photos taken somewhere on the ride to Kiesen:

Rear end lamp, Switzerland, 18.8.1988

Panel for brake test and "right away" signals, Switzerland, 18.8.1988

Bells, Switzerland, 18.8.1988

Kiesen had, in 1988, still all the signals of a small intermediate station—two home signals and two group starting signals—, but half of the track connections had been dismantled a short time earlier, as can be seen on the track panel—here with signals cleared for a southward train:

Track and signal panel, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Here is a track diagram of this small station. Like St.Blaise, it had been reduced from a station with a loop track to a block post with a storage track:


The lever frame at Kiesen still had all the levers—but of course, the levers for the removed points were no longer connected. There were five signal levers on this frame, namely
  • the lever for home signal A1/2, a semaphore, which also controlled the corresponding distant light signal A*,
  • the lever for distant signal ("Durchfahrsignal") Ad, a disc signal, for starting light signal C1/2,
  • the lever for starting signal B1/2, a semaphore, as well as corresponding light distant signal B* mounted on home signal D,
  • the lever for starting signal C1/2, a light signal,
  • and finally the lever for home signal D1/2 and corresponding distant signal D*, both light signals.
Lever frame, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

On the handles of the disconnected points levers (which had moved their points with rodding), small blocks prevented that they could still be pulled:

Disconnected points levers for rodding, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

This handle lock, made by Integra, locks the signal lever C on the right, which is reversed and hence invisible here:

Signal lever for semaphore B1/2 and handle lock for signal C, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Here one can see the three reversed signal levers for the train route shown in the first picture above:

Levers set for a through train, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Levers set for a through train, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

And here are the six route levers—five of them are moved from their central position. From left to right, the levers are as follows:
  • The first one for route "aI from Wichtrach into track I" is reversed downwards.
  • Also the second one, for a route "bII to Wichtrach out of track II", has been moved down (the upper position "bIII to Wichtrach from track III" should have been covered, as the corresponding points were already missing).
  • The third lever, allowing a route out of the shed track "c4 to Uttigen from 4", is in its central position.
  • The fourth lever is reversed for the route "cI to Uttigen from track I", its other position is for route "cIII to Uttigen from track III" out of the former loop and now stub track.
  • The fifth lever for "dII from Uttigen into track II" is also reversed; its other position is for the route "dIII from Uttigen into track III".
  • Finally, this frame, like the one at St.Blaise, also had a "switch-out lever" to switch the station out of the line block. Here, this lever is of course moved upwards into position "Stellwerk und Streckenblock in Betrieb", i.e., "signal box and line block operational":
Route levers, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

The line block still used four Siemens block instruments. Here, all of them show white disks, i.e., all tracks from and to Kiesen were unoccupied:

Line block instruments, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Below the line block case, these locks provided the logic to connect the signal levers with the block instruments:

Block locks, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Points 15 and 16 had already been provided with electrical points machines, the corresponding levers were therefore wound with brake bands over the cog wheels formerly moving the rodding. The leftmost lever for connected points 10 and 11, however, was still connected to its points via rodding. The signs on the levers say "Attention: Catenary grounded.", in other words: Don't reverse them and send a locomotive with pantograph in, as this will create a colossal short-circuit on entering:

Points levers, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

The electrical points had a few fuses both for the motor current and the monitoring circuits:

Points indicators and fuses, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Right outside were these electro-mechanical bells for announcing trains along the line:

Bells, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Here is the small shed that housed the frame. The building with single glass sheets was probably horribly cold during winter:

Signal box, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

From the station building, I went out to starting signal B1/2. On my way, I passed the wire tensioner for home signal A1/2:

Wire tensioner, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

A little further, I took a picture of the wire tensioner for the starting signal:

Wire tensioner, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

And here is a train:

BLS Re 4/4 171, starting signal B1/2, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

After I returned, I took a picture of the station building:

Station building, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Just before leaving, I took a shot of the signalman returning a signal lever:

Clearing a signal, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Finally, I got a picture of a goods train rumbling through. An enlargement would show that all five signal levers had been reversed at that time—there was quite some traffic on that line in this summer:

SBB Ae 6/6 11502, Kiesen, 18.8.1988

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Switzerland 1988: "Diamond crossing" at Kerzers

Deutsche Version dieses Postings

The signal box at Kerzers is preserved as a museum, thus one still can visit the interlocking apparatus shown here. My photos, however, were made when the interlocking was still controlling the points and signals of Kerzers station, where the lines of BLS and SBB cross each other.

The four lines emanating from Kerzers are
  • the SBB line towards Lyss via Fräschels,
  • the BLS line towards Neuchâtel via Müntschemier,
  • the BLS line in the opposing direction to Bern via Ferenbalm and Gummenen
  • and the SBB line towards Murten and Payerne via Galmiz.
Here is a track plan of Kerzers, showing the main tracks and the stop signals (click opens a readable PDF file):


In addition to the typical routes entering and leaving the station, Kerzers also allowed a train to leave the goods track 14. Moreover, it was possible to leave and enter the SBB track towards and from the BLS line to Ferenbalm, presumably so that goods trains could reach the part of the station with the goods shed without too much zig-zagging:
  • From Müntschemier into 6,5,4
  • To Müntschemier from 6,5,4
  • From Fraeschels into 3,2,1
  • To Fraeschels from 3,2,1
  • To Fraeschels from 14
  • To Galmiz from 3,2,1
  • To Galmiz from 3,2,1
  • To Ferenbalm from 1
  • To Ferenbalm from 6,5,4
  • From Ferenbalm into 1
  • From Ferenbalm into 6,5,4
The signal box contained, to the best of my knowledge, the last interlocking frame that was mechanically connected to the corresponding command frame in the traffic bureau. The following pictures show that command frame, which used large cranks for transmitting the respective route commands to the signal box. One can see the inclined arrow that indicates that a route is set from track 3 towards Galmiz. The rectangular mechanical track occupation indicator for track 3 ("Gleis III") is showing red because of that line:

Command frame, traffic bureau, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

The following pictures show the command frame with the route set from track 3 towards Galmiz:

Command frame, traffic bureau, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Command frame, traffic bureau, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

A somewhat "artistic" picture of all the route cranks:

Command frame, traffic bureau, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

The track panel, which contains the signal indicators, is a later addition to this original Schnabel&Henning frame:

Track panel with signal indicators, traffic bureau, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Detail of track panel, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Something was improved on the outside of the signal box—new lamps, new paint, new something else?

Signal box, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Here is a picture of the complete interlocking frame inside the signal box. On the left and the right are the route releases (which are moved via the cranks in the traffic bureau), in between are the points and signal levers. On the very left and right, line block operation panels had been added later:

Lever frame, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

The original builder's plate from Bruchsal does not show a year—according to the website of the preservation group, the frame was built in 1896:

Builder's plate, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

The signal levers are still in place, however, because the station had been resignalled with light signals, their wheels are wound by brake bands, and the signals change their positions via electrical contacts:

Lever frame, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

On the right route release, one can see the turned route wheel for an outgoing route from track 1 towards Fräschels:

Route levers, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Some points had been converted to electrical points machines—this can be inferred from the brake bands around some points levers. The leftmost, blue lever moves the shunting signal R, which guards the intersection of the two lines:

Points levers and locking bed, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Here is an image of the lever frame taken from the opposite side:

Lever frame, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Behind the route levers, one can see the steel wire lines running to the command frame in the traffic bureau:

Route levers, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Here is a picture of the line block panel for the lines to the south:

Line block panel for lines towards Galmiz and Gümmenen, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

The front lever is, once more, the shunting signal lever:

Levers and locking bed, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

At last, here is a small panel for monitoring barriers around Kerzers:

Barrier control panel, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

In this view of the station building, one can see on the right hand the traffic bureau with the large command frame:

Station building, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Outside, I took a few pictures of points and signals:

Points no.7, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

The intersection ("diamond") of the two main tracks:

Intersection, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Shunting signal R, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Shunting signal R, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Starting signal D and shunting signal R, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Double slip points no.5, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Double wire lines, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Points linkage, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

Bells, Kerzers, 18.8.1988

And finally, here is a picture of the two hard-working workmen:

Signal box, Kerzers, 18.8.1988