Saturday 28 December 2019

Surprise Swish Swiss Service

But first, the answers to Quiz Part Three
  1 :  Glasgow's FastLink - slower the ordinary buses!
  2 :  Vintage Triang (recognisable by the old couplings.
  3 :  Originally part of the Olympic Rings at St Pancras
  4 :  Solihull Station to town centre
  5 :  Trolley head off a busted Seaton tram
  6 :  Former Brackley Central station
  7 :  Tweeter's shoes matched the new East Midlands Trains livery
  8 :  Regular service (regularly once a year) to Imber
  9 :  A Cravens "FIVE bay" body, usually four on an RT
10 :  South African in Glasgow Transport Museum

And Now To Helvetia:-
No 3 son has finally completed his six month contract to work in Switzerland, a contract which has lasted two and a half years. He is now intending to sort out his house which he bought some months into the start of his duties and he really does need to unpack!

He was taking a trip to Rheinfelden enjoying InterCity comfort on an IR36 which continued to Zurich.
Note that this timetable operates seven days a week and that the punctilious Swiss have included timetable changes (wiggly line notes 1 and 2) by one or two minutes. 

Anyway, when the lad boarded the train he noticed immediately that it had that distinctive smell of newness about it; so out came the phone-camera and a set of snaps whizzed through the ether to fbb's inbox.
The larger European loading gauge means they are obviously more roomy that any new UK train where passengers are cooped in very tightly indeed, as below in the class 800s.
Note that the end few seats are raised up a couple of steps ...
This part of the carriage is over the bogies, but the rest has a much lower floor than we are used to in the UK - ideal for stations with low platforms. Presumably, much of the ancillary equipment is built into the roof rather than under the floor, hence the height above window level.
There is plenty of electronic information ...
... including a guide as to where empty seats may be found.
Clear signs guide the passenger to other on-board facilities ...
... and, of course, there is a rack for your skis!
One innovation is a section of seating designed for families with younger children ...
... with attractive pictures and similar "stuff" on the tables.
It is good to see the little boys playing happily!

And, UK please note, all seats have a window!

Sadly, No 3 son did not make a note of the train's classification or manufacturer - he did not even take down its fleet number! Poor.

But whilst enjoying Christmas fun at Abergynolwyn, he and fbb were able to identify the train.

The Stadler EC250, also known as SMILE, short for Schneller Mehrsystemfähiger Innovativer Leichter Expresszug (speedy, multi-system, innovative, lightweight express train), is a high-speed electric multiple unit train produced by Stadler Rail of Switzerland for the Swiss Federal Railways According to Stadler Rail, it is the world's first single-decker low-floor high-speed train.
The 11-car articulated units ...
.. are to operate with a top speed of 250 km/h (160 mph) and have a length of 200 metres (660 ft); they are to accommodate up to 400 passengers (117 in 1st class 286 in 2nd class). In 2014, Stadler Rail won a tender to deliver 29 units by 2019 for CHF 980 million, with an option for up to 92 more.

The Swiss Railways call them "Giruno".

Note also that each carriage has only one centre doorway ...
... which, fbb wonders, may slow loading and unloading at busy stations - maybe OK as the articukated "chunks" are shorter than some vehicles. There is one carriage with red window surrounds which is the restaurant car.
The Swiss rail authorities give you a clue!

Initial deployment is on the lines between Basel OR Zurich and Milan via the 35 mile long Gotthard Base Tunnel.
Neither fbb nor No 3 son is able to explain what the train was doing chuntering for just over an hour between Basel and Zurich. Unless this is phase two?

Whatever - No 3 son was well impressed.

If only Brunel had won the gauge battle we could have had something like this in the UK. Sadly it looks as if the "commercial model" of UK rail operation will condemn passengers to cramped seating and a lack of windows in many cases.
Roll on HS2?

 It pays to advertise blog : Sunday 29th December 


  1. We already have something very similar in Britain: the Stadler Flirt emus for the Great Eastern line: However no-one knows when they will enter service as their bimode brothers have been playing silly-billies with the signalling all over East Anglia causing loads of cancellations. Of course all these trains have to fit the UK loading gauge.

    1. 8th Jan is the proposed EIS date for the 745s - subject to change but indications are they are pretty close to service

  2. For many passengers the lack of window is no problem.
    Observation of fellow passengers has shown that many, even with a superb window seat and scenery to match, will open their device, plug in their ear buds and watch a film rather than the passing view.
    That might not be our choice for a journey, but lots do it.