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Swiss Railways introduce tilting train

The Swiss Federal Railways have presented the first two production models of their new tilting trains which will come into service at the end of May.

This content was published on February 17, 2000 - 16:12

The Swiss Federal Railways have presented the first two production models of their new tilting trains which will come into service at the end of May.

Capable of reaching speeds of 200 kilometres per hour, the new trains with seven coaches and room for 480 passengers, will be able to cut journey times by 15 minutes on the secondary east-west route from Geneva to St Gallen via Biel.

It is the first time that the Federal Railways have introduced tilting technology to entire vehicles to gain higher speeds around bends.

The 24 train sets on order feature not only state-of-the-art tilting technology but offer a number of advantages for passengers.

These include full air conditioning, leather seats in first class, business compartments with power points for laptop computers, facilities for disabled people in both classes, and separate coaches for smokers and non-smokers.

"The future pride of the Swiss Federal Railways also has economic advantages," says Paul Blumenthal, head of the passenger division. "With a maximum load of 335 tons, the train is a "feather-weight" and uses little energy despite its high speed," he added.

The new train already seems to be a hit with passengers, with 70,000 regular railway passengers having applied for a test journey before it enters service on May 28 between Lausanne and Zurich.

One blemish on the tilting train project is that delivery times will be delayed. Rail technology company Adtranz, one of the producers, says one of its suppliers of panels in Italy went bankrupt and parts had to be found from firms in Britain and Belgium.

"The delay has nothing to do with the planned closure of the Swiss production plants near Basel and Zurich, said Adtranz manager Werner Bohli. "Our staff is motivated and has been working day and night to try to keep to schedule," he added.

Delays would mean a penalty for breach of contract, probably running into millions of francs.

By Rob Brookes

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