After a break due to Corona, we at the SGEG were once again able to invite fellow travellers to a railway excursion on November 12th, 2022. Almost 30 interested people boarded the steam railcar CZm ½ 31 at Zurich main station. During stops in Wollishofen and Horgen Oberdorf we were overtaken by faster scheduled trains. In Zug there was a long stop for water. Everywhere the unusual vehicle caused a stir, attracted many onlookers, and one saw open children’s mouths and raised mobile phones again and again…
We reached Gisikon-Root on time at 11:20 a.m., where the most probably oldest industrial siding in Eastern Switzerland leads down to the paper factory in Perlen. There, Armin Ulrich boarded the train in stylish shunting attire. As an employee of Perlen and a knowledgeable railway fan, he was able to pilot through the extensive works tracks and provide a lot of information worth knowing about the paper mill in Perlen and its industrial railway.
In 1873, Th. Bell, a member of the board of directors of the Perlen paper mill, made an initial enquiry to the NOB regarding a Gisikon to Perlen siding. A year later, in 1874, a federal law was passed on private sidings to Swiss railways. On May 2nd 1882, a contract was signed between the Perlen paper mill and the NOB. Approximately in August 1883 (details hereto differ), the siding was put into operation as a horse-drawn contraption, and shortly afterwards a pair of oxen was purchased. Apparently, the steepest gradient of 14%o between Gisikon station and the road crossing in Perlen was a bit much for the animals. Therefore, a construction locomotive from the Emmental Railway was purchased as early as December 1883.
The works railway is still in daily operation and has a track length of about 14 km with about 40 points. The last extension was realised in 2010 in connection with the acquisition of the latest paper machine PM 7 for newsprint. This object is over 200 metres long and produces a paper web 10 metres wide at a speed of 1,900 m/min. This means that it takes less than 25 seconds to cover the area of a football field!
Four different generations of works locomotives were specially brought to light, including the well-maintained E 3/3 8492, which is visually one of the most beautiful of its kind. The tour was interrupted by a delicious lunch at the restaurant Bahnhof.
Punctually at 3:26 p.m., we were ready to leave again with a new locomotive crew at Gisikon-Root and said goodbye to our guide Armin Ulrich with best thanks. The journey continued at a brisk pace without stopping until Zug, where we replenished water once more. At dusk we ran through the so-called Säuliamt towards Zurich and reached the main station four minutes ahead of schedule. A successful excursion ended there.
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