This is the currently newest and best train of Switzerland, the Stadler SMILE which the Swiss federal railways SBB calls Giruno, SBB RABe 501. SBB ordered 36 of them and they are to be used mainly on the Milano to Zürich route, but also further north via Basel to Germany and via St.Margrethen to Austria. At the time when this is being written, they are only in use from Zürich via the new Gotthard base tunnel to Ticino and further to Italian Lombardia and there to Milano. Giruno is a totally low-floor train, which means a "first in the world". Yet is has a top speed of 250 km/h and a power rating of 6000 kW. It can work under both 16 kV AC as well as 25 kV AC and also the Italian 3 kV DC. It has both the narrow 1450 mm pantographs for Switzerland as well as the standard 1950 mm pantograph for other countries. One Giruno train has 422 seats. It can adapt itself as low-floor (with no stairs) to both 550 mm high station platforms (CH, I) as well as 760 mm high ones, which are common in Germany.
This picture is from Lugano 4.11.2022 by Ilkka Siissalo.


FUNET railway pictures archive - Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the world’s leading train countries: a mountainous small piece of land, where building a train line up the mountain side seems like the most stupid thing to do. Yet, in addition to the state railroad company SBB, there are over 30 private railway companies. The Swiss make use of all thinkable and unthinkable gauge widths, electricity systems, control systems, ticketing systems etc. The majority of the trains run on the "wrong side" compared to road traffic (Left handed traffic due to the old British influence; some of the country’s oldest rail companies used to be owned by London businessmen in the mid 1800s !) - it’s all extremely complicated, extremely odd and extremely fascinating for the occasional train enthusiast visitor.

And the Swiss do use their trains - maybe more than anybody else. No matter the outrageous train ticket prices, among the locals it’s still commonday practise even now in the beginning of the 2000s to take the train for any trip longer than 100 km - something which rarely happens anywhere else in the western world.


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For trams of the city of Neuchâtel, see Transports Publics Neuchâtelois transN.

A class HGe II electric cog wheel narrow gauge locomotive of the Matterhorn-Gotthardbahn MGB. Switzerland is full of private railroads with all kinds of gauge widths and electric systems. Some of the alpine narrow gauge trains climb even to the height of three kilometres from sea level. This picture is from Andermatt 1.5.2016 by Ilkka Siissalo.


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