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Double-decker woes  State railway company beset with fresh problems 


The new train, as seen in a photo taken at Zurich main station from 2018

(© Keystone / Ennio Leanza)

All the Swiss Federal Railways’ new Bombardier double-decker trains will have to go in for repairs for certain parts to be replaced, it has emerged. 

The news of the latest technical problems was broken by Swiss public television SRFexternal link, citing internal documents.  

At present, 12 out of the 59 Bombardierexternal link trains are in operation on a line between Chur (in southeastern Switzerland) and Basel in the northwestern part of the country. The trains were meant to start working the main east-west line St Gallen-Zurich-Bern-Geneva in 2013, but the move was delayed over technical issues. 

The Federal Railways documents express concern about the main switches, the lack of replacement parts at Bombardier, and conclude a refit of the whole new fleet is necessary.  

Bombardier confirmed that the new trains needed two replacement parts: a relay and a high voltage monitoring unit and that it was working on a solution with the subcontractor.  

“Not yet satisfied.” 

The Federal Railwaysexternal link did not comment directly on the parts issue, but did make a statement to SRF. “The Federal Railways and Bombardier still need to take measures to make these long-distance double-decker trains more reliable. We are considering the situation across the whole year for scheduled train services. Here we see a positive tendency over the whole year. But the Federal Railways is not yet satisfied [with the situation],” spokesman Raffael Hirt told SRF. 

SRF published statistics that showed that the new trains broke down every 3,668 kilometres during the week of September 20, and every 2,241km in mid-August. 

The Federal Railways awarded Bombardier a 59-train contract in 2010, worth CHF1.9 billion ($1.86 billion), but the first deliveries were made only in 2018. Amid problems, Bombardier agreed to add three more trains free of charge as compensation. 


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