Tuesday 24 January 2023

Is It A Tram? Is It A Train?

Lovely Lengthy Limmattalbahn (Oddity 3)

The Limmat Valley is a major transport corridor. Its first railway was the first line in Switzerland, the so-called Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn that opened in 1847, and that line now carries long-distance passenger trains, freight trains and suburban trains of the Zürich S-Bahn. However the stations of the S-Bahn are well separated, with only five stations in the distance to be covered by the Limmattal line. The Limmattal tramway provided more local transport from 1900, but closed in stages between 1928 and 1955 ...
... being replaced by buses. 

A preserved tram is allowed to escape from Zurich Tram Museum for special occasions.
Note that it has a special postal wagon in tow.

Planning for the new line began in 2000, and by 2007 the line was included in the cantonal plans of Aargau and Zürich. In 2010, the Limmattalbahn AG company was founded by the cantons to plan and implement the infrastructure for the line. A referendum, held in November 2015, approved the construction of the line, and it was announced in May 2016 that the line would be operated by BDWM Transport, now part of Aargau Verkehr. The line was opened throughout on December 11 2022.

So yet another "odd" operating company with a few more logos to learn.
The stylised name also has a less understandable logo ...
... whilst the trams wear the logo of the operating company ...
... which is the transport operator for Aargau Canton, situated west of Zurich.

Despite all this, the tram/train is numbered 20 in the same series as Zurich's city trams.
And, to odd to the addity, line 20 does not serve the centre of Zurich!

The route begins at Bahnhof Altstetten ...
... on the S-Bahn network that runs west from Zurich Hauptbahnhof.
The Limmattalbahn (tram) closely follows the Limmat Tal Bahn (railway) to the tram/train terminus at Killwangen. 

At Altstetten it meets tram 4 ...
... and two stops later joins tram 2 at Farbhof and the two run together to Schlieren, another S-Bahn stop. Here the slightly crazy tram stop is a little distance from the S-Bahn.
Line 20 continues westwards ...
... with a little wiggle and on to Dietikon station (above, upper left) where improvements to accommodate the tram were necessary. 

And onwards ...
... with a brand new depot adjacent to the marshalling yards, seen below under construction.
And a few yards further one, the junctions to give access.
The final leg crosses from Zurich to Aargau (dotted line near the depot) ...
In passing, fbb likes the name "Shoppi Tivoli" ...
... but the aged shoppophobe would only pay a quick visit and fearfully flee fleet of foot!

And so to the station at Killwangen Spreitenbach ...
... where the station has changed a bit! Note significant road widening to fit the tram tracks into the gap.
Also a view in the opposite direction.
fbb doesn't know who he is, but ...
... he got in the way of a clear view of the terminus awaiting its first tram. Or is it a train?

Whatever it is, it runs every 15 minutes seven days a week with the same times each day.
Which leaves one last "oddity" question.

Why doesn't the Limmattalbahn run into central Zurich? Maybe crazy Swiss politics, with the Zurich Canton being unwilling to pay for the last bit into Hauptbahnhof? Or maybe Aargau had emptied its piggy bank.

But the line does bring yet another tram operator into the city!

Amazing stuff.

 Next Merseyside Blog : Wednesday 25h January 

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