Former Métro - Ouchy / Métro - Gare / M2

These images show the former métro line M2 in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Métro - Ouchy (LO)

Dating back to 1877 the La Ficelle (as it was known then) was constructed to connect the lakeside resort of Ouchy with Flon in the city centre. 1482 metres in length, there were several intermediate stops, one of which was conveniently located for the Swiss Federal Railways Station (Gare CFF).

Originally built as a funicular in 1954 the line closed for rebuilding as a rack & pinion railway (Strub system), reopening in 1958. In this form a total of five stations were served with trains being formed of electric locomotives hauling two passenger vehicles. At busy times this service required two trains, which provided an 8 minute service. For safety (to prevent the passenger carriages from running away downhill) the locomotive was always at the 'downhill' end of the train. This is standard practise on rack & pinion railways.

The line was predominately single-track, albeit with a passing loop in the middle. This loop was located at Montriond station and gave rise to a most unusual arrangement whereby trains travelling uphill were required to enter the station first so that its tracks could then be used as the station 'platform' for the trains travelling downhill. At quieter times when only one train was in service then both uphill and downhill services used the 'proper' platform. This line was 1482 metres in length with a difference in height between the highest and lowest points of the route of 106 metres and a maximum gradient of 11.6%.

Métro - Gare (LG)

In 1879 a two-station shuttle between Flon and the Gare CFF was opened. Running alongside the longer Flon - Ouchy line it was also originally built as a funicular and in 1954 was also rebuilt as a rack & pinion railway. Since then this line has featured a single carriage train which operated a frequent but untimetabled service. At quieter times (eg: evenings, Sundays, holidays) this line would be closed and passengers had to use the trains on the other longer distance service. This line was just 318 metres in length with a difference in height between the highest and lowest points of the route of 37 metres and a maximum gradient of 12%.

The lower three stations (Ouchy, Jordils and Montriond) were only served by the Métro - Ouchy (LO) trains and featured an early version of automatic platform doors. Whereas the trend nowadays is for automatic platform doors to be located on the platform edge at these stations the doors formed the exits to the waiting rooms, and to give arriving passengers a chance to clear the platform before departing passengers tried to join the train they would automatically open shortly after the trains' arrival. This way departing passengers always had somewhere sheltered to wait for their service. Montriond station was equipped with separate waiting areas for northbound and southbound passengers.

On 22nd January 2006 the line was closed in connection with a northward extension, a process which includes adding several new stations, an upgrade to double-track throughout plus a conversion to driverless automated rubber-tyred "mini-métro" trains which will call at stations fitted with platform doors. Most of the existing stations will be served by the line in its reincarnated form, except for Montriond which is being replaced with 2 new stations. The revitalised line is scheduled to re-open in 2008.

No longer required in Lausanne these trains have been sold to Villard-de-Lans, which is near Grenoble in France, and in 2008 will be used on a new 4km railway that is currently under construction.

The Trains

The track gauge on both lines was standard gauge (4' 8½" / 1435 mm). There were three electric locomotives which were built in 1958 which were 6.25m in length, weighed 18.1 metric tons, fitted with motors rated 464 kW and travelled at a maximum speed of 32 km/h. They were built at the Swiss Lokomotivfabirk Winterthur, using electrics sourced from Maschienefabrik Oerlikon.

There were 5 hauled passenger carriages. Whilst they all included driving controls, three of them featured larger driver's compartments with more room inside than the other two. These were located on the outer edges of the trains, with the driving controls being used when travelling uphill towards Flon. Trains usually required two passenger carriages each and as with the locomotives one passenger vehicle was held in reserve as a spare. The two vehicles used on the Flon - Gare CFF (LG) service were built in 1964 to similar specification as the locomotives except that they were 11.9m in length and weighed 18.5 metric tons. Normally only one is used at a time, with the other held in reserve as a spare (or undergoing routine maintenance).

Below is a list of vehicle classifications...
- He 2/2 121-123 short rack locomotives for the LO,
- Beh 2/2 101-102 LG railcars 1954-1964 (smaller vehicles replaced in 1964),
- Beh 2/2 111-112 LG railcars (since 1964),
- Bt 1-5 the five carriages,
- a service wagon also used to maintain the overhead wires.

With thanks to Marco Gerosa for proofreading and additional information.

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A northbound train awaits the correct departure time at the southern terminus of Ouchy. Although there are several tracks here there is only the one single sided platform. On the right can be seen one of the electric locomotives - his view offers a rare chance to see the side that usually faces on to the passenger carriages.

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A train travelling uphill near the southern end of the line. This is being driven from the passenger carriage, with the locomotive pushing from the rear.

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A train travelling downhill makes a station stop at Jordils. On the grassy embankment to the left of the train can be seen two white station name boards (in the shade). As the train is travelling downhill it is being driven from the locomotive.

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The midway passing point is at Montriond station. Note that the downhill train's platform is effectively the uphill track!

At quiet times when only one train was in service (eg: early mornings & late evenings) it used the track next to the 'proper' platform on both uphill and downhill journeys.

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The Métro - Gare (LG) service only operated during the working day, using a single self propelled carriage to provide a frequent service shuttling between the northern terminus of Flon in the city centre and the Gare CFF (mainline railway station). This would use its own dedicated track, and operate totally independently of the longer distance Métro - Ouchy (LO) service to Lake Geneva at Ouchy.

This view shows the LG at Gare CFF, with one of the LO trains passing by behind it.

Note how to assist with passenger flow boarding passengers use the doorway nearer to the camera and alighting passengers use the doorway nearer to the street exit.

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This second view taken at CFF shows that there is actually a rope barrier which separates the arriving and departing passengers - a support for this can (just about) be seen in front of the open passenger doors nearest to the street (ie; those used by arriving passengers). Because the platform is visible behind / below this train this view also shows how the LO trains actually travel through this station on a totally different elevation.

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One of the LG trains at the northern terminus of Flon.

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Another view of this train, note the "do not cross the tracks" notice which is in four languages - French, German, Italian and English.

Behind the train can be seen some steps which lead to the interchange passageway for the métro line number M1 (which is also known as Métro - Ouest).

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Inside one of the LO trains - because of the volume of passengers it is not easy to see the full-width bench type seating at the far end of the carriage.

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Inside one of the 'outer end' passenger carriages - the driver would sit in a cab that only extended halfway across the carriage's width, this gave the possibility for those passengers who so desired to sit right at the front and enjoy a grandstand view of the downhill journey.

More information can be found on these web pages:
This link:- leads to a French language Wikipedia page ..
This link:- leads to a German language Wikipedia page ..
This link:- leads to the Lausanne page on the "Urban Rail" website ..
This link:- leads to more pictures (most of which show very different angles / views to those seen above) also on "Urban Rail" website ..

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This page last updated 31st December 2016.
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