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Wengern alpine Railway, Switzerland, refurbishment, rack-and-pinion railway

Delivery: 2010

Refurbishment: DC 1,500 V, changeover from DC to AC propulsion, supplied up to 2010.

The Wengernalpbahn is the world’s longest continuous rack-and-pinion (cog) railway. It links Lauterbrunnen (797 m) and Grindelwald (1067 m) with Kleine Scheidegg (2061 m). This narrow-gauge line (800 mm) includes gradients of up to 18 and 25 percent.

All five BDeh 4/4 railcars built by SIG, SLM, SAAS and BBC in 1970 are being refurbished by Vossloh Kiepe working in close cooperation with the operator at the Wengernalpbahn workshops. Not only will they be given a smart new livery but also and as is common with today’s railcars, their brake energy will be regenerated and fed into the overhead line in order to lower overall energy consumption. The maximum speed is also being raised from 16 to 28 km/h.

A new traction system with three-phase AC motors along with the necessary power electronics are the key elements of the retrofit which also includes onboard power supply fitted with new APS converters made in Switzerland.