Appenzeller Bahnen (AB) and Stadler have signed a contract to supply a vehicle for the Reineck-Walzenhausen (RhW) rack-and-pinion railway. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to Zdopravy.

RHW
Picture: Stabler Rail

The contract includes equipping the vehicle with the Stadler CBTC solution. The new train will be the world’s first fully automated rack-and-pinion vehicle.

RHW
Picture: Stabler Rail

The RhW line with a 600 V DC contact network has a length of 1.96 km and a track gauge of 1200 mm, with a maximum slope of 250 ppm. The line was opened in 1896, originally as a cable car, and was later converted into a rack railway with a Riggenbach rack and pinion system. The BDeh 1/2 car currently in use was built in 1958. It has been in operation for over 64 years and has come to the end of its service life. AB is ordering a new geared vehicle from Stadler, which will be equipped for fully automated operation.

RHW
Picture: Stabler Rail

Appenzeller Bahnen decided to use the highest level of automation (Class GoA4). There will be no more personnel on board and all operations will be automated. However, the AB operator will be able to intervene in the movement of trains using remote control.

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Fully automated railways already exist in tunnels or on closed track systems where the risk of line obstruction can be eliminated. For example, in the Lausanne metro. Around the world, dozens of railways are already operating as closed systems where the track must be monitored to ensure there are no obstructions.

The new vehicle will be a fully automated train operating in an open system. Therefore, the CBTC solution must also take over track monitoring and obstacle detection. Commissioning is scheduled for 2026.

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