Historique

Compagnie du chemin de fer Montreux-Oberland bernois :

 

17 December 1901 marked the beginning of a great rail adventure, with the opening of the first stretch of track between Montreux and Zweisimmen. The entire line (63 kilometres in total) was later finished on 6 July 1905. On 8 June 1912, a new 13-kilometre stretch between Zweisimmen and Lenk was finished. The Montreux-Oberland Bernois (MOB) line was the first line of its size to be electrified and formed part of the great Montreux - Interlaken - Lucerne alpine cross-country line, known by the name of Golden Pass. It demanded all the creative expertise of the builders working on it at that time. The positive results achieved by the line are set out in the MOB's 1998 annual report (which does not cover the connecting lines), as follows: 2,177,452 passengers, 1,196,260 kilometres covered, 348 tons of luggage, 37,100 tons of goods transported, 312 employees, 40 stations and stops and a fleet of 27 locomotives and 60 carriages.

 

The line attracted a great deal of attention when it opened and came into service and its reputation quickly spread beyond Switzerland, particularly to Anglo-Saxon countries. Keen to ensure that its passengers had the most comfortable experience possible, the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer MOB set about acquiring high quality, comfortable rolling stock. From 1906, a dining car service operated by the Compagnie Suisse des Wagons-Restaurants was available between Montreux and Zweisimmen. From 15 June 1931, Pullman trains operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits and European fast trains ran on the same line every day, with direct connections to Interlaken. The world economic crisis in 1932 led to these trains being withdrawn from normal service at the end of 1933. Thanks to financial assistance from the authorities and the army, extensive renovation work was carried out to the rail network after the Second World War and light rolling stock was purchased. The 1957 federal law on railways meant that the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer MOB was able to claim 12 million Swiss francs for technical improvements. Thanks to this, between 1966 and 1973 it was able to acquire 4 articulated railcars and 15 passenger carriages, as well as fitting the stretch of track between Montreux and Montbovon with automatic block signalling and modernising the electrical supply systems and the track.

 

From 1974 to 1976, the company invested a further 6.5 million Swiss francs in safety equipment for the main Montreux - Zweisimmen line and acquired two new railcars. The Rougemont substation was also built during this period, which, together with the Sendy and Allières substations already in service, supplied traction current to the contact lines. The company subsequently expanded this programme of works by increasing its share capital to invest a further 9 million Swiss francs, much of which was used to purchase equipment and bring old Belle Époque vehicles into service. The company also used the funds raised to improve signalling equipment at around forty level crossings, renovate buildings and build a panoramic train.