Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn has awarded Stadler a contract to supply 12 Orion three-car metre-gauge rack EMUs

SWITZERLAND: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn has awarded Stadler an SFr148·5m contract to supply 12 three-car metre-gauge rack electric multiple-units to replace hauled stock on its regional services. 

The first of the EMUs are scheduled to be delivered for testing in mid-2022, with all 12 in service from the December 2023 timetable change.

The 11 kV 16·7 Hz EMUs will be branded Optimaler Regionalzug Im Oeffentlichen Nahverkehr (optimal regional train in public transport), or Orion.  This follows the astronomy theme adopted by MGBahn’s parent company BVZ Holding, which has previously bought Komet (Komfortabler Meterspur-Triebzug, comfortable metre-gauge railcars) EMUs for MGBahn and last year ordered Polaris (POpular LAndscape Railway In Switzerland) units for the Gornergrat mountain railway.

The Orion EMUs will be able to operate on the entire MGBahn network between Zermatt and Disentis, including the 18% gradient between Göschenen and Andermatt. Up to three units will be able to operate in multiple.

MGBahn said the vehicles would be designed to be passenger-friendly, with facilities for wheelchair users, pushchairs and older people to include low-floor entrances with level entry and exit. Each car will have a multifunctional compartment for storing luggage and sports equipment. Wi-fi will be fitted.

The EMUs will make use of lightweight materials, energy-efficient drive components and oil-free transformers, and they will have a ‘snooze mode’ to reduce energy consumption.

The contract signed on March 10 is the first of two to which are due to be placed under a SFr300m plan for the comprehensive modernisation of the MGB fleet by 2030. An order for a further 15 units is expected to follow by 2028. 

‘As the world’s leading manufacturer of rack railway vehicles, we are proud to be able to produce the rolling stock for MGBahn’s demanding route’, said Stadler Chairman Peter Spuhler.