Waldenburg first tram (Photo: Lorenz Degen)

SWITZERLAND: Baselland Transport has started operating light rail services between Liestal and Waldenburg, following the conversion of the former narrow-gauge railway which it acquired in 2016.

Waldenburg drone show

The 13·1 km Waldenburgerbahn dating from 1883 has been rebuilt from 750 mm to 1 000 mm gauge for compatibility with the rest of the BLT network, although it remains physically isolated. Now designated as route 19, the line connects with SBB’s Basel suburban network at Liestal.

Including the remodelling of several stations and the construction of additional passing loops, the conversion has cost around SFr300m.

Waldenburg tram at Oberdorf (Photo: Lorenz Degen)

To operate the line, BLT ordered a fleet of 10 low-floor Be 6/8 Tramlink LRVs from Stadler Valencia in a joint procurement with Aargau Verkehr’s Limattalbahn. The first of these was delivered for testing and commissioning in July. The seven-section low-floor cars are 45 m long with capacity for 88 seated and 170 standing passengers.

With effect from the December 11 timetable change, BLT is operating a 15 min interval service on the route. End to end journey time is 22 min including 10 intermediate stops.

Waldenburg tram historic conductor

To celebrate the reopening, the local municipality in Waldenburg organised a folk festival on December 10 and an historic re-enactment commemorating the early days of the railway. Commemorative tickets were issued for passengers on the first departure at 05.06 on December 11.