Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 5: CIMA (Center International for Musical Automations) and Bern Streetcars and Buses

We started out the day by taking a Regional Train to Ste Croix, in the French speaking part of Switzerland. To get there we had to change trains 3 times, We first took a SBB IC train to Lausanne, where we changed to a ICN (high speed tilt train) for twenty minutes to Yverdon-les-bains. At Yverdon-Les-Bains we transferred to a regional train operated by the SBB and Travys the local cantonal transit system to get to Ste-Croix. The Line to Ste-Croix was a narrow guage line, and was not quite up to the standards featured in the rest of the country. The line’s speed was fine, however many stations lacked platforms. Part of the line went on a steep incline to get up to Ste-Croix which offered stunning views of the Jural Mountains on the ascent.
Travys Train at St Croix with a load of lumber being hauled as freight.
At Ste-Croix we arrived shortly before one, and after waiting at the train station a few minutes we walked up to the museum. CIMA (Center International for Musical Automations) has a fascinating display of historical music boxes and musical automations (machines that play music and have automated dancing figures and the like) They have several working 100+ year old machines, and go through the history of how they came to be, and how they work.  At the end they have a large auditorium where they play several of their larger pieces, including a full automaton band from the Netherlands and other older and larger machines, as well as a player piano. The player piano is operated by foot pedals, so now you know why the guy playing the piano at The Bon Marche sounds so good.
A Music box from the netherlands and equipment to manufacture music boxes on display.

After that musical feast we boarded the train for the return trip. Both ways on the line to Ste-croix were packed. Our group took up much of the car, and the school kids commuting did the rest. Upon our arrival in Yverdon-les-bains we got on a regional SBB train that took us through the rarely visited farming villages of the Swiss mittleland. That train again had a lot of school kids going from school on it. This train took us to Fribourg where we got on a main lane for Bern.
At Bern I broke off from the rest of the group to go film and ride the light rail and trolleybuses. Since I dident have all day I got on a #8 Tram and went to the end at BrĂ¼nnen Westside Bahnhof. The end of the line appeared to be relatively new along with the cars. The old 1960s/1970s stock I remember from my visit 3 years ago appears to be retired now and replaced with Siemens cambinos. The BrĂ¼nnen Westside Bahnhof is an interesting place, there is a lot, and I mean a LOT of new development around it, and a lot of parcels still under development. My suspicion is the extension was part of the redevelopment project in the area. The bus terminal at the bahnhof has a two track loop and is also home to a couple of postal bus routes. The bus and streetcar loop is in essence a large paved area, with no real dedicated lanes that I could tell for buses to turn around, they just kind of made their way around the center section and off they went. Coming from one side the buses had access from a dead end street via the use of hydraulic bollards that would lower just for the buses. I see a similar thing here in Brig for buses going through the city center. They would remotely call for the bollards to be lowered, and once they were lowered and the bus passed through they would rise up again. This is something I think our transit agencies could use to keep people from driving in some of our exclusive bus only areas. After filming the trams at the bahnhof I rode the line back to Loryplatz and had dinner at restaurant pizza lorry. They had good pizza, and for a very good price.
After dinner, I got on a #17 motor coach back to Bern hbf. This line was interesting because it had several sections of mixed bus and bike lane. It was a full width lane for a bus but bikes were also allowed in it. As a bus driver myself I have to wonder how safe that is at times. At the hauptbahnhof I got on a #12 trolley coach and went out to the bear garden. I did see the two bears sleeping for the night in a newly constructed area for them by the river.
After getting back at the hbf, I had time to get a coke at the Kiosk in the station and go board my train. While waiting for my train a DB ICE showed up on  the adjacent track and I got some pictures of it. My train finally showed up. The ride back was uneventful except for the fact we stopped in the Lotschberg tunnel. My train finally arrived in brig 20 minutes late after dragging through the rest of the tunnel and all the way to Brig via Visp. There is a lot of congestion on this line which accounts for the delay.
A Bern Trolleybus at the bern Bear Garden


                                   The Bern Bear Garden with two bears sleeping for the night

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