November 27, 2009
with the traverser figured out i could finish the trackwork at erstfeld. at least thats what i thought until i found out the hard way that traversers can, as of yet, only have 6 parallel tracks connected to them.
the erstfeld traverser however allows access to 12 tracks which, to make it even more complicated, are oddly spaced so i would need a traverser with around 23 connection points to realistically recreate the depot.
i decided to built it anyway and have the traverser only connect to 6 of the tracks and put the others in the right place to connect them if it ever becomes possible.
erstfeld depot is fairly important since its here that the steep climb up the north ramp begins, for which additional engines are put in front or behind the heavier freight trains.
therefor a lot of staff and engines are based here, even some foreign ones.
the steep track from here on is probably one of the few places in europe where you can observe up to 4 working engines in front of a train.
in this case the two re 6/6 and two re 4/4 develop 34.000 horsepower together, thats as much as around seven huge american dash 9 diesel engines.
although they can't use all their power in this configuration or otherwise they would just rip apart the couplers. therefore even today trains have to be split up in erstfeld or get help from an engine pushing from behind.
bruno lämmli who created the website lokifahrer.ch is a driver who was based in erstfeld a long time and has written a lot about his experiences driving over the gotthard. be sure to check his site out if you can read german.
erstfeld is also home to many historic engines like the ae 6/6 prototype "uri" with the number 11402, named after the kanton which is home to the north ramp.
the first prototype with the engine number 11401 was called "ticino" after the kanton in which the south ramp of the gotthard railway is located.