Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 2: Blonay-Chambay and Swiss Vapeur Park

Today’s tours got us a ride on the live steamers at the Swiss Vapeur Park, the narrow gauge steam and electric railway at Blonay/Chambay and a short lake steamer cruise across Lake Geneva.
We started out leaving Brig on an IR Train to St. Maurice using typical SBB CoRail (EW IV)Type cars. At St Maurice we changed to one of the local trains to Bouveret, This equipment was older car sets (RBde 560.4 type trainsets) where the middle car was removed and replaced with a new low floor car.
At Bouveret there is the Swiss Vapeur Park (http://www.swissvapeur.ch). It’s basically a live steam railroad but this one is impressive. They have live steam and diesel engines, and you ride on the cars around their “layout”. A full ride takes about 20 minutes and you double back on yourself several different times before you get back to the station (the starting point). They have a nice roundhouse for the engines, they have 2 large bridges (one a suspension bridge) at least 3 or 4 tunnels, a fully working signaling system. Dual gauges, even a section of cog railway. It’s an impressive place. After riding a train, a more modern Swiss set, with operational doors! We went out rail fanning the layout. We caught pictures of the steam locomotive, and even the two Amtrak P42 locomotives they had in operation.
Before we knew it we had to get back to the dock to catch the ferry boat to Montreux. We were a bit late in leaving the park as we got turned around on the path in the layout and had to go entirely through it to get out of it. After a brisk walk to the ferry dock we got there just in time to be picked up by the boat, the la Suisse. It was an impressive 101 year old steam powered side wheel paddle boat. Being the last weekend this boat was in regular operation for the season it was packed, probably beyond its legal limits it was so full.
At Montreux we missed the train we intended to take to Chambay by only a couple of minutes, so we had to wait an hour for the next train. This was a nice though as we could have a bit of a lunch before we got on the train. The ride to Chambay was on the Golden Pass train sets. Upon arriving in Chambay there were a couple historic Swiss post buses parked by the station which I went over to photograph. Shortly later one of the Blonay-Trombay Museum trains showed up, a steam powered train to take us to the museum.
We only had a short time at the museum, but we did see a lot. Most equipment in their museum is in good shape and good working order. After a quick tour of the museum grounds we got on a 1920s Pullman coach train to Vevey. The cars were in gorgeous shape and still fully operational along active rail lines as we traveled along the MOB from Blonay to Vevey.
At Vevey we got an on SBB IR train with CoRail (EW IV) Equipment that went straight back to Brig. This ride was uneventful and was a nice ride. For Dinner Me and Jim went to Mueller Pizzaria for a fine dinner.

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