The Altstätten–Gais railway is a metre-gauge in Switzerland. The 7.65 kilometre-long line was opened in 1911 by the Altstätten-Gais-Bahn (AG) and has been operated by the Appenzell Railways (Appenzeller Bahnen, AB). Three sections of the line are equipped with rack under the strub system.
Push-pull train on the rack section above Altstätten
|Track gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge|
|Electrification||1000–1500 V DC overhead catenary|
The line from Altstätten Stadt (town) via Stoss to Gais—where there was a connection to the line of the St. Gallen-Gais-Appenzell-Altstätten-Bahn (St. Gallen-Gais-Appenzell-Altstätten Railway) to St. Gallen—was opened on 18 November 1911 and operated with three CFe 3/3 class railcars. The three rack sections with a total of 3264 metres in length are located between Altstätten and Stoss, while the rest of the line to Gais is an adhesion railway. The railway was electrically operated at 1000 Volt DC from the beginning.
Another short section in the old town of Altstätten was opened on 26 June 1912 between Stadt and Rathaus (town hall). The short link along Marktgasse established a connection to the Rathaus–Bahnhof SBB line of the Altstätten–Berneck tramway, opened in 1897 and operated by the Altstätten-Berneck-Bahn (ABB), which in turn was replaced in 1940 by the Altstätten–Berneck Trolleybus. The Altstätten–Gais line was managed by the ABB, which let the trains run continuously between Gais and Altstätten SBB station.
As a result of a merger in 1949, the St. Gallen-Gais-Appenzell-Altstätten Railway, SGA took over operations between Altstätten and Gais. In 1953, the catenary voltage was increased to 1500 volts, so that the then new ABDeh 4/4 6 to 8 railcars could operate freely on the whole SGA network.
On 2 June 1973, tram operations were closed on the remaining section in Altstätten. Until the final closure of the Altstätten SBB–Altstätten Stadt section on 31 May 1975, the SGA trains continued to operate over this section.
Due to declining frequencies and a cost recovery rate of less than 30 percent, the cantons of Appenzell Ausserrhoden and St. Gallen have established an engineering office review of whether "more customer-friendly and cheaper alternatives" would be feasible for the three rack railways of the Appenzell Railways, from Altstätten Stadt to Gais, from Rorschach Hafen to Heiden and from Rheineck to Walzenhausen. In particular, a changeover to bus operations or fully automatic operations is under discussion.
- Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz (Swiss railway atlas). Schweers + Wall. 2012. p. 14. ISBN 978-3-89494-130-7.
- Gafafer, Tobias (28 February 2019). "Ostschweizer Zahnradbahnen stehen auf der roten Liste". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 25 November 2019.