Swiss Chris Railways

Bontal History


  Bontal, a valley running North South in Northern Switzerland is an ancient route connecting Germany to Southern Europe. With the coming of the railways, the valley grew in importance as it gave the traders of Germany and Italy an easier path for their wares rather than trekking across to Basel in the West. This led to them helping finance the line down to Olten. A branch was taken from this line at Bonstadt through the Bustal to connect to the lines at the foot of the Jura which then head our towards France via Pontarlier, Delemont and Geneva.

  There are also links to the BLS network running through the Lötschberg to Italy. Because of this, the BLS keeps a few locos at Bonstadt to enable them to take the trains further South.

  As the line is more of a secondary route, to help earn its keep, it was decided to run heritage stock to bring in the tourists. This was successful and on a good day, SBB Krokodils, A3/5s C5/6s, as well as French and German locomtives will be seen.

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A stylised plan of the transport links that the Bontal area has with the rest of Switzerland and Europe

   Bontal has only ever been moderately successful but it has seen its fortunes improve with the coming of railway preservation. The branch to Jessdorf is now a joint co-operation between the Nord Bontal Bahn and the Bontal  Preservation Society who take over the line at weekends and holiday times to run older locomotives and stock with a mixture of smaller European and Swiss Steam, Diesel and Electric Locomotives. For this reason, the turntable at Bonstadt has been kept in place.

  Some of the larger locos also run between the Rhine and Olten. The line is coming up to its 150th birthday and I understand that there will be a few visitors from across the world. So watch this space.

All text and pictures 2011-2015 by Chris Rohrer Published by

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Bustal Junction

Bontal Junction

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The church of Sankt Buster at Bustdorf. This is an old Faller kit used in my last layout Neubad-Bräu. At the time of taking the photograph I hadn't yet found all the tower. But the lighting and bell in the tower still worked.

Jesstal & Jessdorf

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