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Lausanne - Echallens - Bercher extension

On 28 May 2000 the Lausanne - Echallens - Bercher light railway was extended from its temporary underground terminus at Lausanne Chauderon to its new terminus at Flon, which provides convenient interchange with Lausanne's two Metro lines, the original "LO" rack railway down 104m to Ouchy on Lac Leman (now known as metro 2) and the TSOL line via Lausanne University to two bay platforms in Renens CFF rail station, aka Metro 1. On weekdays LEB services between Lausanne and Echallens run basically every half hour, stopping at minor halts only on request. As usual in Switzerland, most stations have elaborate ticket machines which can even issue tickets valid for entry to the open-air swimming pool at Cery Fleur-de-Lys in combination with travel there.

The first part of the metre-gauge LEB line (Official timetable 101) was originally opened in 1874, and until a few years ago its urban terminus was at street level in the triangle between Ave de Morges and Ave d'Echallens. A short single-track ramp now leads down from the latter to an island platform beneath the Place du Chauderon, from which a double-track extension in a tunnel some 500 m long leads to the new terminus with a single platform between two bays. Passengers reach it by lifts or escalators down from the two Metro termini, which are at the same level as the adjacent rue Centrale. As there is no obvious reason why the LEB terminus was not also built at that level, this low level was presumably chosen to faciltate a possible future extension onwards towards Lausanne CFF station, which is only a few hundred metres further horizontally, but some 30 metres lower (The name Flon refers to the stream, now buried beneath the rue Centrale, that once powered the watermills of Lausanne).

Report and picture by Alan Reekie

2 June 2000

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