Bern is the federal capital of Switzerland, with 134,000 inhabitants. The city center lies in the middle of the horseshoe-like bend of the river Aare, making the location a very panoramic one! Public transportation is very well organised, incorporating three tram services (3, 5 and 9) and a number of trolleybus routes. Head times are fairy low and the vehicles are clean and comfortable - that's why BernMobil carries around 80 million passengers every year. The city's first trams were operated with compressed air in 1890, but in 1901 they opted for electric traction. Since then the network has shrank, but as far as I know now it's on the right path to an expansion.
The Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) tram stop is not right in front of the central railway station, but a bit further, with overlaping double platforms in a shape like this:
platform / .----------->
<---------' / platform
There's also a reversing loop which goes
around a church, but that wasn't used when we were there. The tram coming
towards us in the middle of the picture is a Be 8/8. The designation is
not a type name but a description of the car:
B is for 2nd class (meaning a 2nd class railway passenger car)
e is for electric traction
the first 8 is for the number of driven axles, while
the second 8 is for the number of axles.
These older articulated cars were towing 50-years-old 4-axle trailers (designated B4 - i.e. no traction and no driven axles).
Some of the articulated cars had all-over ads on them.
The same train from behind. I must admit, I did not like the trailer car, its riding comfort was low in contrast to the other cars. It was rough and loud, and it looked quite old - it felt like an old 2-axle trailer of Budapest's route 47 :-)
Unfortunately we did not see any Swiss Standard cars and trailers - the new Combinos have made them superfluous, and most of them was donated to romanian cities (or perhaps just one - Iasi?). The bright red color scheme is new - and I must say the Combinos look very good in this color!
Semi-low-floor car manufactured by Vevey and ABB around '89.
The interior of such a car - you can see that it's not entirely low-floored. And even the lower parts are not as low as we now know it.
The low-floor bits of the cars utilise small-wheel-trucks.
Combino in the bend - obviously the Bernese cars were not affected by current problems with the type.
The medieval main street, with the trams dodging old fountains.
At Bärenplatz one of the tracks goes through an old tower, the other dodges it.
Oh, don't let us forget thet trolleybuses are also go down the same path.
More of that old times feeling...
... with tracks...
... and lots of overhead wire. The tower to the right is the Zytglogge, an ancient clocktower...
... admired by crowds of tourists at whole hours.
The Kornhausbrücke (bridge) over the deep river valley.
The bridge is not level...
... so that it matches the street behind it.
Another photo taken at the same spot.
A postcard-like tram picture taken in the outskirts.
The interior of a Combino.
There's also an interurban service in Bern, which is operated with tram-like vehicles. This is route "G" (Zytglogge - Gümligen - Worb Dorf) of the RBS (Regionalverkehr Bern-Solothurn).
The service starts near Zytglogge from a stub track, and it doesn't stop at every tram stops, so it acts as a kind of rapid service within the city limits. It then leaves the city on a one-track section, which we did not explore.
The interior of that car.
The name of the city refers to bears. There's a legend, that the city shall prosper as long as there are bears living within its limits - so they've built a big pit for them with all conveniences.
Only accidentaly we realised that this old building behind the bear pit is named "Altes Tramdepot" - "Old Carbarn". It's now a restaurant.
The Marzilibahn with its 105 meters is the shortest funicilar railway in Europe. It carries passengers between the city quarter located down in the river valley and the inner city.