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Zurich: The first new Dolderbahn rack railcar has arrived

Just arrived from Stadler's factory: The first new Dolderbahn | © VBZ

The first new vehicle for the Dolderbahn – the metre-gauge, 1.3 km-long cogwheel railway in Zurich – has arrived. The commissioning phase started on 19 March 2024 and is expected to last until July 2024. The second new vehicle will arrive in August 2024, meaning that the new Dolderbahn is expected to be able to operate according to the usual timetable again from October onwards. During commissioning, the Dolderbahn will run in single-carriage operation at 15-minute intervals instead of the usual 10-minute intervals. In the event of disruptions, a bus replacement will be offered.

The arrival of the new Stadler cogwheel railcar is also the starting signal for the work to put the new vehicles into operation immediately. The aim is to swiftly replace the two vehicles so that the Dolderbahn can once again operate according to the familiar timetable as quickly as possible.

The journeys for commissioning will be carried out during the day or during off-peak hours. In addition, there will be night-time test runs, during which care will be taken to minimise noise pollution. Disruptions can also cause short-term cancellations and delays, in which case a bus replacement may be offered.

About the Dolderbahn

The rack railway connects the Dolder area in the Hottingen district from the Römerhof stop on Römerhofplatz at 444 metres above sea level and ends at the mountain station on the Adlisberg at 606 metres above sea level. On the 1,328 m long route, the Dolderbahn has to climb a difference in altitude of 162 m; this corresponds to a gradient of around 19 per cent. The vehicles currently in use were commissioned in 1973. Like the Forchbahn and the Polybahn, the Dolderbahn is operated by Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich (VBZ) and is owned by Dolderbahn-Betriebs-AG. This is owned 50 per cent each by the City of Zurich and Dolder Hotel AG.

Technical data

  • Body width (fixed): 2,400 mm
  • Vehicle length (over buffer): 11,800 mm
  • Vehicle height: 3,345 mm from SOK Axle arrangement: Az1
  • Floor and access height: 800 mm from SOK
  • Boarding width: 1,300 mm
  • Entrance height: 1,900 mm
  • Traction motor: 1x 42-32-4 (TSA)
  • Inverter: 1x DC inverter, consisting of: – 2x motor converter – 2x battery charger – 2x brake chopper – 2x auxiliary converter
  • Maximum tractive force: 60 kN (65 kN when towing)
  • Continuous power at the wheel: max. 250 kW
  • Speed: 25 km/h (uphill) 16 km/h @ 200 ‰ 24 km/h @ 100 ‰ (downhill: brake row 2)
  • Total weight tare: 16.0 tonnes
  • Gross total weight: 21.5 tonnes
  • Passengers: Seats: 16 (including 4 PRM folding seats)
  • Folding seats: 3
  • Standing room: 55 (6 pax/m2, 75%)
  • Total: 71 (without folding seats)
The first car of the previous generation of the Dolderbahn has been taken out of service | © VBZ

We reported on the small rack railway here: