1974 Switzerland

In the years 1970-1980 I went along with my parent's Switzerland holidays. Over that period I spent 76 weeks, one and a half years, in total in Switzerland. At that time it belonged to normality, but with the knowledge of hindsight and the wisdom of the years, I can not be grateful enough for those years and for what I was given in all the things I have seen and done. For one it is there that I acquired my German and much of my English. I am now virtually trilingual, a gift I am grateful for every single day. Second is my love for walking, mountains and camping. Last but not least my modelling interest awoke here. To commemorate the 40th anniversary in 2014 of my railroading interest I started to digitise the photos I have made in that period.
This first album captures the year 1974
1974-01-02  In 1974 we were camping on Camping Rhone near Gampel in the main valley of the canton Valais. The camping was within walking distance from the SBB station Gampel/Steg. This is the view from our tent 1974-01-17  Along the camping there was a dirt road. If I climbed through the bushes to the river I could get a view on the then single track main railroad from Brig to Lausanne.   This photo is of a terrible quality but the "wet" photography of the time was expensive and as a youngster every single photo was paid from my pocket money. So photos were few and far between so I should not be too choosy about quality now.   The photo gives a good time image though. It is most likely an  RBe4/4  with a rake of ageing stock for local service. 1974-01-18  A 1922  Ae 3/5  pulls a local out of Gampel station on its way to Sierre and Sion. 1974-01-19  A rare view of an  Ae 6/6  passing with an express train. I have seen Ae6/6 only on a few occasions in this area as they were in the prime of their lives servicing heavy trains on the truely mountainous lines like the Gotthard.
1974-01-20  The line Brig-Lausanne was an international express line. Here passes the  Cisalpino TEE  connecting Milan and Paris via the Simplon tunnel, in its first months of locomotive hauled operation. 1974-01-20a  Very likely another local pulled by an Ae3/5. View looking west with in the distance the scarred pre-historic landslide of Leuk. 1974-01-10  An  Ae3/6 III  for a change. In the early 70s the country was still swarmed by the electric locomotives of the 20s and 30s in their late day operation. The photo reveals little detail of the loco but it can positively be identified as an Ae3/6 III by its length, number of side windows and its "empty" roof. 1974-02-01a  A view from the bridge towards the station
1974-01-03b  The road from Gampel to the station passed a bridge over the Rhone river.  Main`tenance of way equipment was waiting for its next deployment 2013 Gampel brucke  A photo (Google streetview) from virtually the same place) Gampel aerial  An aerial view from the situation in 2013. Left above the river is the camping. The new bridge is located a little west of the old bridge's location. The red dot indicates the approximate location of the previous two photos. 1974-01-04  At the other side of the bridge was a river stone plant, extracting stone and crushing stone form the river.
1974-02-06a  From almost the same point of view 1974-01-07  Three-axle cars were non-existant in the Netherlands so that is why I made a photo of it, considering it as a curiosity 1974-02-02a  From the same embankment leading to the road bridge I captured this  Re4/4 II  running light towards Brig 1974-02-03a  Another Re 4/4 passing. I was photographing with my father's camera and the camera's pouch was often in the way
1974-02-04a   Ae 4/7 's were still every much around in those days. 1974-02-05a  A six wheel luggage car 1974-02-15a  An RBDe 4/4 on a local service. Ordered in the fifties these railcars, stronger than a Re 4/4 by the way, are still serviceable today (2014) in relatively large numbers. A testimony to the longevity of the old school SBB stock. 1974-02-12a  Again an Ae 3/5 passes with a local.
1974-02-13a  This photo is the most clear shot I got from the start of the section of single track between Gampel and Leuk that was the last part to be extended to double track later in the seventies. I did not appraciate this at the time, but in hindsight this is a very historical picture, not in the least for the train composition approaching Gampel station: the Trans Europ Express Cisalpin, the Paris to Milano connection. 1974-02-14a  Re 4/4 in TEE colours and stainless steel cars in a breathtaking landscape. This is  the   photo of 1974 for me. It perfectly captures a world gone by. The TEE is no more, the road has been reconstructed, all cars scrapped, the old station has long been replaced, the line is double track by now, and I, I am getting old. Only the mountains remain, unmoved by men's doing. Gampel bahnhof1  The new station building 1974-02-16a  The station of Gampel held a surprise for me. One evening I was walking to the station when I saw, much to my surprise, this E3/3 steam locomotive. It was one of the two Alusuisse owned company steam locomotives. This one worked the Gampel plant, the other worked at Sierre. The latter was sold to the museum railway MBS in the Netherlands and is now running there under the imaginary road number NS 7853
1974-02-17a  The engine was mainly used for shunting on the factory grounds and an occasional outing to Gampel station 1974-02-18a  Leaving for the factory MBS 7853 Boekelo  Sister engine in the Netherlands  Photo Niels Karsdorp, published on wikipedia under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License 1974-02-19a  Steaming into history
1974-03-02a  Two Re4/4 working a goods train 1974-03-03a  A specialty from the seventies: intermodal transport in its purest form. I caught the scene by quickly turning around when the lorrie passed 1974-03-04a  but later it the lorrie itself turned and stopped at the station. 1974-03-05a  Unloading
1974-01-05  On one of our trips we paused in Gletsch where the normal summer operation of the Furka Oberalp Bahn was underway. In 1976 an intiative was approved to construct a base tunnel from Oberwald to Realp which was opened in 1982. I revisited the station in 1985 and it was completely deserted and in desolate condition. Since 1987 the abandoned part of the line is being restored step by step by the  Furkadampfbahn  which operates the line with steam locomotives. 1974-01-06 1974-01-12  During our trips I somehow landed up at Hohtenn station, a halt along the Brig to Berne BLS railway. The station lies at 1078m, some 400 above the valley floor. A car transport train from Kandersteg to Brig is just passing. 1974-01-12 Uitsnede  When I was narrating this photo I discovered my mother just a little left of the train with our dog Joepie (say U.P. and you are just about right). When I enlarged the photo and studied it even closer I also found my father, a little more to the left. As always he was standing in the shadow.
DSC01294  Hohtenn in 2011 approximately from the point where my mother was standing. View toward the my standpoint of the previous photo 1974-01-13b  A glorious photo of the small rod driven Te 2/3 shunting locomotive 1974-01-14  An  Ae8/8  twin locomotive passing Hohtenn 1974-01-15
1974-02-07a  An Ae4/4 heading a car train in Goppenstein. Look at the simple layout of the car loading docks. You simply drove off and made a half turn towards Brig.  Car laoding still took place in the station itself. Quite a difference with today. 1974-02-9a  The same Te2/3 passing with a Maintenance of Way train 1974-02-10a  A low quality photo, but once again capturing the simple situation in the early 70s. A row of five cars awaiting the next train !! 1974-02-11a
1974-03-07a  Be4/4 also served on car trains 1974-03-08a  Being young I did not see much harm in scrambling on top of the tunnel portal of the Lötschbergtunnel. In hindsight it was ridiculously dangerous. It did result in this beautiful historic overview of Goppenstein though. The gathering car queue demonstrates the necessity to reconstruct the station. 1  The  Ae6/8 's were still much at work. No202 was built in 1926 and scrapped in 1984, ten years after this photo had been taken. Three of the original eight Ae6/8 are still in existence today. 1974-02-20a  This shot is from Brig station at the exit of the BVZ line from the station square towards Visp.   HGe4/4  No 11 is shunting. Everything on this photo is gone.
1974-03-10a  My parents and our dog in front of a glistening Te2/2 shunting engine of the Furka Oberalp Bahn at the station square in Brig 1974-03-11a  An SBB Ee3/3 shunting in Brig main station 1974-03-12a  View towards the BLS depot at Brig. Several  Ae4/4  awaiting duty and at the left a train entering the station yard with a train passing the Rhone bridge. At the far right in red two steam locomotive tenders reused as water cars. At this point in time the demise of SBB was only six years ago! 1974-03-13a  An Ae8/8 twin locomotive departing with a heavy goods for Berne
1974-03-25  This photo has long intrigued me.The tunnel entrance of the Simplon tunnel on the Swiss side is far away from the general public. I couldn't remember ever having tried to get to it, as it would have meant trespassing on SBB property. But when narrating this photo I suddenly realised that this photo must have been taken on the Italian side were the portal is very close to the public road. Simplon south side  A shot 40 years later (courtesy Google Streetview). Yes, I must have taken that photo over the fence. The road is the Simplonpass road. 1974-03-25a  So that explains why photos from Domodossola emerge on my negatives immediately after the Simplon tunnel portal portrait. Italy was at that time characterized by its abundant generations of brown locomotives like this articulated six axled  Class E.636 . Although this type looks very ancient in our eyes, it wasn't extremely old when I took the photo. The class was built from 1940-1962, the bulk of the 469 strong class being built in the last ten year of that span. The last engine was decomissioned only recently, 2006. 1974-03-26a  A more modern looking  E.444
1974-03-29a 1974-03-30a  A great display of electric locomotive classes. At the left a second batch  Class E.428  Then in front of the shed  Class E.625 or E.626  and another Class E.636. At the right of the shed another such pair. 1974-03-31a  A Class E.625 or E.626 crossing the yard 1974-03-32a  These two men insisted on being photgraphed and after forty years I still very much intimidated.
1974-03-33a  The actual reason for me being at the very end of the platform was this still operational steam locomotive. Had I only realized what I was whitnessing I might have persuaded my father to venture further into Italy. But I took the photo and left.  It is by the way probably a  Clas 640  locomotive