SWITZERLAND: The first of 11 electric multiple-units which Stadler is to supply to Südostbahn for Voralpen-Express services was unveiled in Erlen on June 6. Part of the Flirt family, the six eight-car and five four-car 160 km/h units will feature a new motor bogie design and lightweight trailer bogies which are designed for rapid replacement during maintenance.

SOB placed the SFr170m order for the EMUs on June 27 2016. They are scheduled to enter service on the St Gallen – Luzern route from the December 15 2019 timetable change, replacing rolling stock which has been in operation for up to 40 years.

In December 2017 a follow-on order was placed for a further 11 units to be used from December 13 2020 on services from Zürich and Basel to Locarno via the traditional Gotthard route which SOB is to operate in partnership with Swiss Federal Railways.

Stadler said the EMUs for SOB would be ‘unique vehicles’ for ‘a unique route’, with ‘high-quality’ interior fittings tailored to the needs of different users. There are quiet zones where commuters can work as well as a family area, while leisure travellers will be able to enjoy the views from panoramic windows, stow skis and bicycles, and buy food and drink in two catering areas. The eight-car trains will have 359 seats, including 68 in first class, with the four-car sets having 197 seats, including 22 in first class. All seats will have power sockets.

The fleet will be branded Traverso, a name based on an Italian verb meaning ‘to cross’, said SOB CEO Thomas Küchler. ‘We will be using the new vehicles to cross Switzerland from north to south and from east to west’, he explained.

The copper colour scheme ‘symbolises value and solidity on the one hand, and is closely linked to the history of human progress on the other’, added Küchler. ‘The new trains represent progress for everyone: travellers, the SOB and Stadler.’

Stadler Group CEO Thomas Ahlburg said the roll-out of the first train just two years after the contract signing had been the result of good teamwork between the manufacturer and the operator.

‘Both companies have a pragmatic approach to challenges’, he said. ‘A variety of innovations could be incorporated into the train thanks to the excellent co-operation between the two project teams. We are grateful to be able to work for companies like SOB so that we can prove together that state-of-the-art technology can be developed and implemented in record time in the Swiss workplace.’