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Zentralbahn (Brünig & LSE)  
last update: 20/10/2011
The Zentralbahn (ZB) is the result of the merger in 2005 of the old companies Brünig Bahn (from SBB, Swiss Federal Railways) and Luzern-Stans-Engelberg (LSE). The metric track gauge is electrified at 15 kV 16.7 Hz and it's "Y" shaped, with a common section from Luzern to Hergiswil. From this point the main line goes to Interlaken via Brünig and Meiringen whereas the other one continues to Stans and Engelberg. The stretch from Alpnachstad to Brienz was opened in 1888, from Luzern to Alpnachstad the following year and in 1916 from Brienz to Interlaken Ost. The line from Stansstad to Engelberg was opened in 1898 and in 1964 it was connected to the Brünig line at Hergiswil, in order to get to Lucerne. The Brünig line (Luzern-Interlaken) is 74 km long and it is single track with sidings. To overcome the height difference of 500 metres rising from Giswil to Brünig and the 400 metres down to Meiringen, there are four section equipped with Riggenbach rack system, with a maximum gradient of 120. Meiringen is a terminus station, so all the trains have to reverse to continue the journey. Among Lucerne and Horw there is a section with mixed gauge 1.000 and 1.435mm for giving service to various factories in the area. From Kriens to Horw there is also a double track section. The Hergiswil to Engelberg line has 24.8km of single track with sidings and a rack section with a maximum gradient of 105 placed inside the Grafenfort-Engelberg tunnel. This 4 km tunnel since 2010 replaces the old layout, where there where ramps with rack sections up to 246.

Select a zone or station to see photos of them:
Interlaken Ost Brienz Meiringen Giswil-Meiringen (rack section) Alpnach Dorf and Sarnen
Alpnachstad Hergiswil and Horw Kriens Mattenhof Luzern  

The trains
The trains that cover the line are of various kinds, specially depending on whether circulating over rack sections or not. For Lucerne S-bahn services (S4 and S5) and the Regio Interlaken-Meiringen 3 cars EMUs built by Stadler in 2004 "Spatz" are used , with low floor and panorama central car. The "Spatz" EMUs are not equipped with rack traction system. These vehicles are often merged with conventional cars (the end car with a control cab to offer "push-pull" services) as a reinforcement of the trains in certain slots. For InterRegio (IR) and GoldenPass services from Lucerne to Interlaken conventional cars are used (in the case of GoldenPass cars they have a specific livery and there is a panorama car) towed from Lucerne to Meiringen by electric locomotives adherence-rack HGe 4/4 101. From Interlaken to Meiringen the veteran De 110 locomotives are used (they were formerly EMUs) because this section is only in adherence. For the IR Luzern-Engelberg locomotives HGe 101 and conventional cars are also commonly used, but the last 3 cars are usually control cars of similar design to Spatz EMUs to make "push-pull" services. On the Engelberg line adherence-rack EMUs BDeh 140 have been also used until the opening of the new Grafenfort tunnel. There are also different kind of rolling stock such as diesel or shunting locomotuves, as well as historic train compositions.
HGe 4/4 101 locomotive at Brünig station with GoldenPass cars (august 2011) Inside a conventional car (august 2011) Map inside one of the cars (august 2011) "Spatz" EMU 130 at Kriens Mattenhof station (august 2011)

Inside a "Spatz" EMU (august 2011) The central cars of the "Spatz" EMU has panorama windows (august 2011) Information screen on one of the S4 EMUs to Dallenwil (august 2011) End car of one of the 130 EMUs of the Zentralbahn (august 2011)

Zentralbahn (official website) www.zentralbahn.ch Zentralbahn in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zentralbahn
Zentralbahn at railfaneurope.net www.railfaneurope.net/pix/ch/narrow_gauge/ZB/pix.html Brünig & LSE at rail-info.ch www.rail-info.ch/SBB/index.en.html | www.rail-info.ch/LSE/index.en.html

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