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European Railroad Discussion > That's a wrap! For the Chocolat Express

Date: 12/09/23 04:28
That's a wrap! For the Chocolat Express
Author: railsmith

A full vinyl wrap livery applied recently to six cars of a Swiss regional rail operator should appeal to those with a sweet tooth.

First, some background. The train was launched following the recent conversion of a 3.5-mile metre-gauge branchline to standard gauge, in a two-year project that was completed this past summer. The driving force for the conversion was to improve freight service to the Cailler chocolate factory at the end of the line, which has a dedicated station named Broc-Fabrique (fabrique means factory in French; Broc is the nearby village, which has its own station).

Before conversion, standard-gauge freight cars had to be mounted on metre-gauge “skates” to complete the final leg of the journey from the junction at Bulle, which is served by both gauges.

With the conversion complete, standard-gauge passenger trains can run straight through from Broc-Fabrique to Romont on the mainline between Lausanne and Bern, and a direct hourly service from Broc to Bern was introduced in August, taking 78 minutes.

Two of those services each day are timed to allow for visits to the chocolate factory as a day trip from Bern, the country’s capital, and the two-unit, six-car trainset dedicated to those runs has been given a complete graphic vinyl wrap promoting Cailler’s product, with the train dubbed as the Chocolat Express.

On a visit in September, with the aim of riding the converted branch, I chanced upon this train on a service in late afternoon, outside of the factory's "visiting hours" (it is rostered to work four round-trips per day). It consists of two Class RBDe 560 units, numbers 560 235 and 245, in the fleet of Transports publics Fribourgeois (TPF), the regional operator of both buses and trains in the canton (state) of Fribourg.

Now, on to the images.  All photos dated September 25, 2023.

(1)  I’ve done a crude edit of the Swiss rail map to show the location of the converted branch between Bulle and Broc-Fabrique.  Narrow-gauge lines are in black.
(2)  The Cailler factory and cattle barns as seen from my train.  Nestlé acquired Cailler in 1929, but has maintained the brand name.
(3)  TPF 560 235 and 245 at Broc-Fabrique. The station has been fully renovated as part of the gauge conversion, and work was still in progress during my brief visit.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/23 23:38 by railsmith.

Date: 12/09/23 04:30
Re: That's a wrap! For the Chocolat Express
Author: railsmith

(4)  TPF 560 245 leading train RE2 3831 (16:33 Broc-Fabrique to Bern) at Romont.
(5)  The Cailler theme continues inside the vehicles – this is the side table in a bay of four seats.
(6)  One drawback in a wrap livery that extends over the windows is the reduced visibility. But in this case I’ve used the wrap to frame a train in the usual TPF livery at Bulle.

For more on the train, here’s the promotion at the TPF website. https://www.chocolatexpress.ch/en/

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/23 06:48 by railsmith.

Date: 12/10/23 17:50
Re: That's a wrap! For the Chocolat Express
Author: Steinzeit2

So the branch is now standard gauge only ?  Does that mean the Chocolat Express from the MOB side cannot return ?


Date: 12/10/23 22:03
Re: That's a wrap! For the Chocolat Express
Author: railsmith

Steinzeit2 Wrote:
> So the branch is now standard gauge only ?  Does
> that mean the Chocolat Express from the MOB side
> cannot return ?

That's correct. The metre-gauge Train du Chocolat, as MOB calls it, cannot use the branch.

In fact, the MOB chocolate train only runs as far as the junction with the TPF at Montbovon (shown in the map above), and passengers transfer to a bus taking them first to Gruyères, and then on to Broc for the chocolate factory.

Here's a blurb from the MOB website:

"Let yourself embark on an exceptional excursion to the flavours of the land. The journey begins with a train trip, by Belle Époque carriage if you wish, from Montreux to Montbovon. A comfortable bus then takes over. First stop: Gruyères. Here you will discover the secrets of the production of this world-famous cheese before setting off to conquer the medieval town. In Broc, finally, the famous Cailler chocolate factory will open its doors for a fun and engaging visit. To top it all off, there is an irresistible tasting."

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/23 23:14 by railsmith.

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