Open doors days in the workplace of the Dampfbahn Furka Bergstrecke at Uzwil. The heavy 1 meter gauge, 0-8-0 fourcylinder compound cogwheel steamlocomotive HG 4/4 # 704 is finished after more then 10 years hard work by many volunteers. In the next days, the locomotive will be exhibited in the Swiss Museum of Transport at Lucerne, then it will be brought to Realp on the Furka Pass line for first trials. This locomotive never ran in Switzerland before. History of this impressive locomotive: In 1924 the SLM (Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik Winterthur) delivered five locomotives (# 701-705) and in 1930 two locomotives (# 708 and 709 ), and in 1929 Maschinenfabrik Esslingen delivered two locomotives # 706 and 707), according to SLM plans as a reparation delivery from Germany to France for the lost 1st World War to the then railway company Compagnie Génerale de Colonies Paris in Indochina, now Vietnam.
There the machines were in use on the Song Pha (formerly Krong Pha) - Da Lat line.
After the WW II in the Far East also known as the Japanese War, not all 9 locomotives are listed in the records known to us. 1947 the still existing locomotives received the new numbers of the South Vietnamese State Railway VHX # 40 302 / 303 / 304 / 306 / 308. 1947 the four missing locomotives were replaced by the former Furka-Oberalp HG 3/4 from Switzerland.
After the Vietnam War, the locomotives with the numbers 304 / 306 / 308 survived from the HG 4/4 in more or less operational condition, after war-related interruptions the last trips took place in 1975. The two SLM locomotives # 304 and # 308 were parked in the depot Da Lat. The Esslingen locomotive # 306 was parked in the area of the Tap Cham railway workshop and occasionally used as a hot water and steam generator. Many parts of the engine and superstructure as well as almost all fittings were missing from this locomotive in 1990.
In 1990, as part of the reactivation of the Furka mountain line, in addition to 4 HG 3/4, the two HG 4/4 # 40 304, respectively # 704 and # 40 308, respectively # 708, were returned to Switzerland in an unprecedented campaign "Back to Switzerland" by the DFB. The remains of locos # 306 and # 706 had to be left behind in Vietnam for various reasons. The frame with the wheelsets and the gear drive with the cylinder blocks did not arrive in Switzerland until 1998 via the port of Haiphong.
In contrast to all other DFB locomotives, the HG 4/4 were never in service in Switzerland. For the operation of these locomotives on the network of the DFB an initial approval is required, which results in the preparation of extensive calculations and safety certificates.