Zürich Seilbahn Rigiblick, Oerlikon and Winterthur - Day 2

by - 21:54

A stark contrast to the gloomy weather on the previous day, we were greeted by a cloudless blue sky and the unmistakable blue spire of Fraumünster Church dominating the skyline when we looked out of the window. Since we had some time before meeting for breakfast, we decided to re-visit the Fraumünster for better photos in good weather.

Revisiting the Fraumünster Church

Photobucket

The banks of River Limmat in the early morning sun as a series of early morning flights leave their mark across the cloudless blue sky.
Photobucket

Stadthausquai on a crisp and sunny summer morning. Despite the strong sunlight, the temperature was only a cool 10 degrees Celsius - perfect for sightseeing!
Photobucket

A VBZ Be 5/6 "Cobra" travelling across the Quaibrücke over the River Limmat with the famed snow capped Swiss Alps in the background.
Photobucket

Fraumünster Church bathed in the warm glow of the morning sun. The sparse pedestrian traffic on the bridge on an early Sunday morning proved to be ideal in getting a clean shot of the iconic structure without other people in the photo.
Photobucket

After a final photo of the Fraumünster Church with sufficiently less intrusion by the shadows cast by the Grossmünster across the river, we headed back to the hotel for breakfast with the rest of our group. It was a sheer coincidence that we got onboard the same tram that had brought us here earlier!
Photobucket

Hotel Marta - Breakfast

Hotel Marta offers a daily simple but adequate continental breakfast spread and hotel guests were able to choose from a limited variety of cereals, pastries and fruits to kick start their day. In addition, hot drinks such as hot chocolate were also available from a self-service drinks machine. We were also rather amused to chance upon other Singaporean hotel guests during breakfast - readily identifiable by the fact that they were all wearing sports shoes as the choice of such footwear had somehow become stereotypical of Singaporean tourists!

Photobucket

Seilbahn Rigiblick

The Seilbahn Rigiblick is a funicular railway which links the exclusive residential neighbourhood of Rigiblick on Zurichberg hill in northeastern Zürich with the tram network at the base. It was first opened in 1901 and rebuilt in 1979 with uphill extension and automation of the system. The new line has a length of 385 metres and overcomes a height difference of 94 metres with a maximum gradient of 36%. A journey on the funicular without any stops takes 122 seconds. However, calling at all three intermediate stops stretches the ride to 6 minutes as the average travelling speed is significantly reduced as cars slow down to properly align with the platforms.

Photobucket

Lower station of the automated Seilbahn Rigiblick funicular system. Passengers indicate their stop requests by pressing the appropriate buttons on a panel in the car after boarding.
Photobucket

We had planned to alight at Germaniastrasse stop to get photos of the funicular crossing the bridge, but we were so engrossed with the ride and also due to the lack of passenger information system that we had since taken for granted in the Zürich public transport system, we overshot and had to backtrack from the hill station.
Photobucket

The bus stop pole outside the Germaniastrasse stop shows both service 39 and 23 (Seilbahn Rigiblick). The unsuspecting passenger who may be unfamiliar with the route numbers might find himself waiting at the bus stop for an extended period of time without realising that it had literally passed by every 6 mins over his head! However, a remark on the bus stop sign and information board do further indicate that the sign is for an “ersatzbus”, or replacement bus service.
Photobucket

Passengers are able to enjoy a spectacular view of downtown Zürich along the line on a clear day.
Photobucket

After two trips of the funicular where we had limited success in getting a good photo of the funicular cars passing on the overhead bridge, we returned to the hill station to wait for the service 39 in the other direction to bring us downhill.
Photobucket

Upper station (Bergstation) of the Seilbahn Rigiblick funicular system. The design of the funicular system is such that a descending car acts as a counterweight to the other car that is ascending up the line. In addition, the three intermediate stations are also evenly distributed between the 2 terminals to allow both the ascending and descending cars to come to a stop at a station during a request stop along the line.
Photobucket

A record photo of the bizzare tri-axle Ford Ducato 2.4 midibus. The interior is fitted with bench seats on both sides of the bus to optimise the available floor space and the full low floor configuration is achieved by locating the engine and other mechanical components at the front of the bus.
Photobucket

There were no passengers at the bus stops along the journey downhill and the bus sped its way down the winding single lane roads, resulting in a shorter journey time than taking the funicular!
Photobucket

The Zürich 'U-bahn'

After a failed attempt to obtain a better photo of the Fiat midibus, we took a service 10 Cobra tram to Milchbuck where we would be able to connect with a service 7 or 9 tram that would bring us into an unique underground section of the tram network.
Photobucket

We had the opportunity to photograph a Mercedes Benz O405GTZ working service 72 to Triemli at Milchbuck in perfect sunlight.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Low floor middle section of the retrofitted Be 4/8 "Tram 2000" Series 3 trams. The additional section was manufactured by Winpro using bogies from Alstom and were inserted into 22 existing Be 4/6 "Tram 2000" trams between 2004-2005 and were redesignated as Be 4/8.
Photobucket

The underground section of the tram network between Milchbuck and Swamendingerplatz was originally meant to be part of the U-bahn (subway) network which was planned in the 1960s. In a bid to prevent prolonged indecisiveness from stalling the project, construction of this underground section proceeded together with a new motorway before a referendum was held. However, Zürich residents voted in a 1973 referendum which saw the U-bahn proposal being shelved due to high costs, comparatively longer walking distance to stations and a lack of door-to-door connectivity as compared to the existing tram network. The U-bahn tunnel and its associated infrastruture was abandoned for the next 13 years until tram services 7 and 9 were extended through the section in 1986.

Underground Walgarten station. The trams run on the left side along the tunnel section due to the island platforms at the stations. In addition, the tram pantographs have to be folded back to the minimum safety margin as the tunnel clearances were originally designed for third rail collection instead of overhead wires that the trams draw their power from.
Photobucket

The decor of the underground stations remain firmly stuck in the 1970s era when it was first built as we were greeted with bare concrete walls and minimalist fittings that were chracteristic of the era. A nondescript entrance set to the side of the road provides access to the underground station.
Photobucket

Following which, we took a Citaro G on svc 61 at a nearby bus stop to our planned camping location at Sternen Oerlikon.
Photobucket

Sternen Oerlikon

Sternen Oerlikon literally translates into 'starred Oerlikon' in English and takes its name after the four intersecting streets (Schaffhauserstrasse, Ohmstrasse, Wallisellenstrasse, and Querstrasse) which forms a perfect five pointed star around the bus/tram stop.

A Be 5/6 Cobra Tram on svc 14 showing the unique star shaped intersection to good effect.
Photobucket

Although the original location that we had identified as a photo camping spot was obscured by shadows, we were able to quickly chance upon another location in the vicinity. 2019 forms part of two coupled units of "Tram 2000" on svc 11. Despite the minor electrical differences between the batches, all "Tram 2000" trams can be combined into pairs for electric multiple unit (EMU) operation.
Photobucket

Neoplan Centroliner on svc 63. Service 63 is one of the typically short feeder services in the city which are operated using diesel buses to supplement the tram network.
Photobucket

VBG Citaro laying over while working svc 768 besides Oerlikon Bahnhof. The destination of service 768, Zürich-Kloten Airport, is not only Switzerland's busiest airport but also a major transport hub for the northern Glattal, Furttal, Effretikon and Volketswil suburbs of Zürich.
Photobucket

RABe 514 double deck EMU working a S-bahn service at Oerlikon station. Due to the length of intercity trains, the platforms are often split into up to 4 zones so that passengers could move to their intended carriage before the train arrives to speed up the boarding process. The zones are also useful to regulate the crowd on the platform for S-bahn services by staggering the different S-bahn services to call at different portions of the platform. This is made possibly by the relatively short double deck EMUs that typically only occupy a short portion of the platform.
Photobucket

The trip to Winterthur was our first ride on a double-deck train in daylight and without the burden of heavy luggage. For the “complete” experience, we sat on the upper deck even though sounds of the train were very much muted due to the excellent insulation of the train carriage and the well maintained rolling stock.
Photobucket

The staircase linking the lower and upper levels of the train carriage. The lower level has wide and unobstructed passageways at the door area to facilitate the movement of passengers. In addition, the use of bright and vibrant colours at the doorway area also help to improve the travel experience.
Photobucket

Sideways facing seats are installed at the end of the staircase for passengers who are riding the train for short distances. In addition, LED displays and audio announcements also help to ensure that passengers are travelling in the correct direction and get off at their correct destinations. The carriages are linked by a walkway located at the mezzanine level of each carriage.
Photobucket

Second class interior of a typical S-bahn double deck train. The interior is configured in a relatively spacious 2+2 layout.
Photobucket

The first class interior features the same seating layout but with more comfortable padded seats and increase legroom. In addition, some effort had also been made to decorate the window supports as compared to the second class. First Class tickets cost approximately 60% more than a second class ticket and upgrade tickets are also available for passengers who already hold valid second class tickets.
Photobucket

Winterthur Hauptbahhof platform. The S-bahn services typically have their own dedicated platforms and are seperated from the intercity traffic (IC / IR train services).
Photobucket

Winterthur

Lying 30km north of Zürich and easily accessed with a short 26 min train ride, Winterthur had traditionally been the industrial centre of Switzerland and home to the Swiss's rail industries. In addition to the heavy industries, the unassuming city is also famed for housing an extensive collection of world class artworks in its many art museums.

The city's prominent Renaissance styled railway station had taken its present form in 1894-1896 and was designed by Otto Ernst and Young Bridler who modelled the design after the Swiss House of Parliament.
Photobucket

The main entrance to the station integrates both modern functionality and the old school charm of the Renaissance station building.
Photobucket

A Hess Swisstrolley laying over at the Winterthur Hauptbahnhof stop while waiting to work trolleybus service 3. The city authorities had ordered 21 of such trolleybuses in 2009 and were progressively introduced into service from early 2011. The new SwissTrolleys feature lightweight aluminum construction, spacious door areas and closer proximity to the manufacturer as compared to the older batch of Solaris trolleybuses.
Photobucket

A Solaris Trollino 18 waiting to turn into Winterthur Hauptbahof. The Polish bus manufacturer had rapidly gained market acceptance for its products although it is one of the newest players in the European bus market (its first bus under the Solaris marque was produced in 1999). The manufacturer had initially started off as a licensed builder for Neoplan vehicles in 1994.
Photobucket

Solaris Urbino 12 to Bruderhaus

We made an impromptu decision to hop onboard a Solaris Urbino 12m after noting that the single direction run time is only 10mins. The ride quality did not disappoint our high hopes as it was very smooth, but the engine and gearbox were sadly lacking in character for the discerning bus enthusiast.
Photobucket

Interior of the Solaris Urbino 12. As with many modern citybuses today, the integral bus features a full low floor interior and is also specified with 3 doors to facilitate the quick boarding and alighting of passengers.
Photobucket

The bus took a surprise turn off the main road into a narrow track within forested area, where the limited road space was also shared with cyclists and hikers. Before long, the bus stopped at its looping point at a clearing in the Bruderhaus Wildlife Reserve. It is interesting to note that service 12 only runs from March to October on weekends and bank holidays, and Wednesday afternoons. Visitors to the reserve on other days were otherwise faced with a 30min walk along signposted tracks from the main road. It was certainly an unexpected bonus that the bus was in perfect sunlight at the looping point in the wildlife reserve!
Photobucket

Video of the return journey from Bruderhaus towards Winterthur Hauptbahnhof.


We decided to have a proper sit-down meal for lunch before catching the train to Schaffhausen, and we walked around the Hauptbahnhof looking for an option which did not entail dining at an outdoor dining area where smokers are prevalent. We eventually settled for the Italian restaurant New Point where most of us ordered tagliatelle alla boscaiola (pasta with mushrooms and tomatoes). While we took some time to decide on the order, the service was even slower and we had only around twenty minutes left by the time food was served. We quickly settled our bill at the counter instead of calling for the waitress, and made a dash to the platform just in time for the train.

Our train, a Siemens Desiro double deck RABe 514, approaching the platform at Winterthur. Winterthur and Schaffhausen are connected by the half hourly S33 S-bahn service and an hourly extension of the S16 S-bahn service, with the former taking 33 mins and calling at every stop along the route while the latter only takes 25mins and calls at just 2 stops. Moreover, the S16 service also allows passengers to enjoy the scenery on a double deck train instead of riding a tram-lookalike Stadler GTW articulated railcar on S33.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Lush green farmlands in the northern suburbs of Zürich canton. With the S-bahn network, such intriguing small communities are never more than an hour train ride away from the city centre, bringing true convenience and accessibility to residents and city dwellers alike.
Photobucket

Our first glimpse at Europe's largest waterfall by volume, the Rhinefalls as the S-bahn service trundles across the Upper Rhine River that also serves as a boundary between the cantons of Zürich and Schaffhausen.
Photobucket

The residential community in Neuhausen across the Upper Rhine River as the train approaches Schaffhausen town.
Photobucket

Next Post: Schaffhausen, Rhine Falls and the River Limmat - Day 2

Previous Post: Zürich Tram Museum, Dolderbahn and Schlieren - Day 1

You May Also Like

0 comments