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English Version and Swissexpress

“Railcar No. 5 “, is the last original railcar of Schweizerische Südostbahn AG (SOB, Swiss Southeastern Railway Company). It belongs to a series of modern railcars built during the electrification era (starting 1922) of the Swiss Railways. It was built by Schweizerische Lokomotiven- und Maschinenfabrik (SLM, Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works, Winterthur) in 1939. The electrical components came from famous Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO, Oerlikon Engineering Works). Other Swiss railcars had nicknames like “Roter Pfeil” (The Red Arrow) “Blauer Pfeil” (The Blue Arrow), or “Churchillpfeil” (The Churchill Arrow – the latter because Winston Churchill rode this railcar during his legendary visit to Switzerland in 1946). “Railcar No. 5” has nicknames of its own: “Glaskasten” (Glass Box – because of the very large windows) or Klostertram” (Abbey Tramcar – because it was used on the line to Einsiedeln and its well-known abbey).

According to the Swiss classification system, the official designation of “Railcar No. 5” is ABe 4/4. This means that it is part First Class (A) and part Second Class (B). The “e” in the designation means it is an electric railcar, and 4/4 means that all four of its axles are powered.

“Railcar No. 5” was withdrawn from service about 20 years ago. With much enthusiasm, the approximately 15 active members of the “Association of Historic Railcar No. 5” have started to renovate and retrofit the almost 80-year-old vehicle.

“Railcar No. 5” used to operate on the railway lines between Arth-Goldau and Rapperswil and between Wädenswil and Einsiedeln. Here you can find beautiful landscapes like Lake Zug, Lake Zurich, Mount Rigi and Mount Mythen or the old town of Rapperswil or Einsiedeln Abbey. Once “Railcar No. 5” is fully restored with all the newest safety features installed, it will be suitable for operation all over Switzerland. The Association hopes to achieve this by the 80th birthday of the railcar in 2019.

Railway enthusiast Noldi Siegrist has digitised his Super 8 films from 1976. The result is a DVD with a beautiful film of a journey of “Railcar No. 5” from Wädenswil to Einsiedeln. The film is not commented but the original soundtrack will make you feel drawn into the surroundings. The 20-minute long film is entitled “Mit einem Glaskasten der SOB von Wädenswil nach Einsiedeln” (Riding a SOB Glass Box from Wädenswil to Einsiedeln). It can be ordered at the price of CHF 25 by email at: info@triebwagen5.ch (please reference that you would like to purchase a copy of the DVD “Glass Box”).

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Dank Mario Cavazzi ist in der englischen Zeitschrift Swissexpress ein Artikel zu unserem Fahrzeug erschienen.