BLS Loetschberger EMU (Photo BLS)

SWITZERLAND: BLS has returned to service the first of its RABe535 Lötschberger electric multiple-units to undergo mid-life refurbishment at its Bönigen works.

The 25 four-car EMUs were supplied by Vevey Technologies and then Bombardier Transportation in 2008-12. The SFr17m refurbishment programme running to 2027 aims to ensure reliable operation through to 2037.

It will make the trains more energy efficient, with LED lighting and carbon dioxide sensors to match ventilation to occupancy. The number of power sockets will be increased.

The external appearance is being adapted to match the newer Stadler MIKA trainsets, and the Lötschberger branding is being removed. This is because the EMUs were originally purchased for the Bern – Brig route through the Lötschberg Tunnel but are now used across the BLS network.