Tim's musings on his latest filming trip and a video snippet for the Perren 141 railway line medley........

Filming for our 2016 / 2017 railway documentaries was completed at the end of May - that was very early and as things turned out lucky! The finish date was determined by official opening of the NEW Gotthard rail tunnel in early June. 

 We managed to get two weeks of very decent weather before the heavens opened -causing serious flooding in both Germany and France. 

Because of the amount of ‘kit’ that is required on a film trip most of our travelling is made by road. An eight hour journey from Basel to Calais gave an interesting opportunity to see how the continental ROAD network has been coping with maintenance cut-backs caused by the 2007 – 2013 recession.  It’s not just the railways that have had their budgets trimmed!

Undoubtedly the roads that have suffered worst in our little survey were the non-toll French main roads. Once the envy of Europe these are busier than ever, but now filled with massive potholes that seem to be ignored by the authorities. Lorries rule In much of the country while impressive rail infrastructure sits unused and unloved. There is a cost from FRET SNCF opting out of the single wagon railfreight network – the decline in the quality of the road network.  The French road-haulage industry is the winner – their government unable or unwilling to stop them inflicting their costs on society while retaining their profits.

A little further north the roads in Belgium were also pretty grim but at least there were signs of a fight-back with a per ton, per km charge being applied to heavy truck movements - early indications are that road freight volumes are stabilising and rail freight volumes rising.

In Switzerland of course the main-roads were as well maintained and free flowing as always – now why would that be?


Further information on the content of PE141 and a video snippet

Diverse Bahnlinien-an eclectic mix of freight, tram, metro and disused rail lines from 2004 to the present day- including one on a trolley/handcar which Andreas says is the most amazing cab ride he has filmed.


Track 1- the 9.6km Durchmesserlinie - Oerlikon,  Weinberg Tunnel ( beneath the Zürich HB–Stadelhofen line), the underground Löwenstrasse at  Zürich HB to Altstetten.

Track 2 -Glattbrugg Wurenlos Rangierbahnhof Limmatal Ost -a half hour run around Limmattal yard

Track 3- Niederglatt Tanklager Mettmenhasliexplores the freight only line to the tank farm near the airport.

Track 4- takes the fast and direct Glattalbahn tram line 10 from Zurich HB to the airport via Glattpark

Track 5- continues on tramline 12 from the airport through the Glatt valley to Stettbach.

Track 6- Lausanne Metro Line M1 linking Lausanne Flon with Renens.

Track 7- Ouchy - Lausanne Flon -2004 film on the rack railway - closed in 2006 to be rebuilt as part of the new Line M2 of the Lausanne Metro.


Tracks 1,2,3 and 4 are all runs on freight lines within the Basel area including Pratteln marshaling yard.

Track 5 - a freight only line on the Swiss/French border Nyon- Eysins in bad weather!

Track 6 – Guttannen- Handeck - a works line inside the mountain,  built as part of a hydro-electric power station.

Track 7 – Bubikon - Wolfhausen -a  two mile run on a draisine-  (a light auxiliary rail vehicle to transport crew and material for the maintenance of railway infrastructure) –on a disused line  south east of Zurich