Switzerland - special concept wagons and special trains of the Federal railways SBB

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The "Swiss express" concept is from the 1970s when pull-push type of pendeling trains became popular in Europe. SBB built a series of light metal coaches called EW III (Einheitswagen III, standard coach III) which were used in fast express trains, for example on the important Zürich - Geneve route. They were intended to be fitted with active tilting, but that was never realised. The trains did not have to turn around at end stations, so traffic was fast. Note also the orange colouring: in the seventies it was an officially accepted trend that all public transport - trams, buses and trains - should all be coloured orange. A typical Swiss Express train also had its locomotive in the middle when it left Zürich and it was broken into two typically in Bern. For this switching the coaches and locomotives were fitted with automatic Scharfenberg couplers.
Today the Swiss express trains are still used, but SBB sold them to BLS Lötschbergbahn. Now in 2019-2020 BLS is planning to scrap them.
Picture from Zürich main station 9.6.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.


The steering wagon of a Swiss express concept train from the 1970s. The looks of the cockpit closely resemble the NPZ or Neue Pendelzug concept commuter trains´ front parts.
Picture from Zürich main station 9.6.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.
Uploaded June 16th, 2002.


SBB´s "Bahn 2000" concept train arriving at Zürich main station. This is the late 1990s high value, high capacity concept train for IC (InterCity) and IR (InterRegio) express trains: a Lok 2000 concept locomotive (= Re 460) leading a train of typically 8 double decker coaches, the last one of which has a steering cockpit, built by Adtranz in the late 1990s. In the beginning of the new century this was the most often seen express train type in Switzerland on the most important lines.
Picture from Zürich main station 9.6.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.
Uploaded June 16th, 2002.


A typical IC "Bahn 2000" train leaving Thalwil. Note that when the Re 460 locomotive is pushing the train it´s using its aerial at the very end for the electricity. Also note the typical Swiss sign of end of train: only one red lamp at the last wagon (which this time is the locomotive).
Photo from Thalwil station 21.10.2001 by Ilkka Siissalo.
Uploaded 24 June 2002.


This was a famous train, RAe TEE II. It was a high-speed electric multiple unit capable of running under several different electric systems. It was a purely first class only train built for the famous Trans-Europ-Express connections. During those times these trains were painted wine red and creme. SBB had five of these trains. Four were built in 1961 and lengthened 1966. One more train was built in 1967. They were used for example between Zürich and Milano, Basel to Milano, Milano to Paris and Zürich to Brussels and Amsterdam routes. When TEE traffic ended in 1988 the trains were painted grey as can be seen here and they were used as EuroCity trains between Zürich and Milano and redesignated as RABe EC. They were removed from EuroCity services 1994 and taken totally out of use in 1999. This one unit stood for years thereafter at the SBB depot in Erstfeld where the famous Gotthard route begins. It was finally renovated, got back its red and creme colouring and fitted inside as a luxury train. Now it can be rented for charter rides.
Picture from the Erstfeld SBB depot 19.1.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.


The same famous TEE train seen from the other side.
Picture from the Erstfeld SBB depot 19.1.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.


This quite special train is SBB's XTmas 177 no.008. It's a rescue and firefighting train, intended mainly for rescue operations inside the over 50 km long Gotthard base tunnel. This one is named "Bellinzona" and it is also permanently placed there, ready to run into the Gotthard base tunnel which ends near the Bellinzona station. The construction of the train is a modification of a rail lorry, it is basically similar to the "Marti Express shuttle" (See our page Industrial locomotives to see that one.) It has a similar cabin and engine like a lorry has and the rescue equipment is placed in a long container which can be lifted away and replaced with something else if a need rises.
Picture from Bellinzona 26.1.2013 by Ilkka Siissalo.
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