The International Steam Pages

The Bern Steam Tram, 2010

This report from Thomas Kautzor adds to several from James Waite about the narrow gauge railways of Switzerland with a strong emphasis on steam operation. See also:

Thomas writes:

I went to Bern today (19th December 2010) to chase the steam tram. I guess metre gauge steam trams running on urban tram lines are now pretty rare in Europe (only Darmstad in Germany comes to mind, but there they are using an industrial steam loco, not a tram loco). Contrary to predictions the sun only showed up in the morning, by the time I got to Bern before the first run it was already gone. As such the photographic results are rather ordinary.

BTG 0-6-0T 12 (SLM 863/1894) was one of 8 locos built by SLM in 1894. After the tram network was electrified in 1902 it was kept until 1908 for snow removal before ending up in industrial service at the Renfer sawmill in Biel-Mett until 1943. From 1943 it was stored for preservation in Zurich until 1959, when it was put on display in Winterthur. In 1972 it went to Blonay-Chamby museum railway, before returning to Winterthur in 1983, where it was put on display in the Technorama. In 1994 it returned to Bern and was restored to working order between 1995 and 2002, since when it has been in regular use on the BERNMOBIL tram network.

Its trailer, C4 31, is a replica of original C4 No. 19-30 (SIG 1894) and was built in 2000-2002. Its bogies were obtained from an MOB goods wagon. Original No. 26 survives at the VHS.

Runs usually start at the Schwanengasse tram loop near Bern's main railway station. In winter the runs go to the Burgenziel tram depot, traversing the old town and the Kirchenfeld bridge on the way. The club's website is

0-6-0T Régional des Brenets 1 Le Doubs (SLM 618/1890) The RdeB had three of these pretty locos. "Pere Frederic" (SLM 619/1890) is preserved in a glass case at Les Brenets station on the RdeB. "Les Brenets" (SLM 716/1892) fared less well. It is rumoured that a disgruntled ex-employee blew up one of its cylinders after being sacked and it was never repaired. Part of the chassis is preserved at a technical college at Le Locle. 

Rob Dickinson