European railway operators unite for international trains
Four European state-owned railway operators have joined forces to develop international and night trains. The companies intend to offer more connections and increase capacity on the existing routes. These moves will improve passenger service and will increase the sustainability of the rail sector.
Compared to the previous year, demand for international rail traffic has increased by 10 per cent only in nine months of this year. To meet this need, Deutsche Bahn (DB) from Germany, SNCF from France, Trenitalia from Italy and SBB from Switzerland decided to unite their efforts in expanding the international and night train connections. To this end, on Saturday, 23 November, they presented at Zurich railway station the new high-speed rolling stock to be used on these links. Among them are DB’s ICE 4 units (to run from Germany to Switzerland), SBB’s Giruno units (from Switzerland to Italy and Germany) and SNCF’s TGV Euroduplex units (from France to Switzerland).
On 23 November, SBB’s new Giruno high-speed train has been christened. The vehicle was named as Zurich. Before this event, three vehicles of this type have been introduced by SBB. The first Giruno unit was christened as San Gottardo at the beginning of August. At the end of that month, the second vehicle named after Kanton Uri (Canton Uri) was entered service. The third train got the name Kanton Thurgau in honour the Swiss canton of the same name.
In total, SBB will receive 29 Giruno trains from Stadler Rail. Starting from December, these vehicles will run on the long-distance routes in Switzerland including those that go via the Gotthard Base Tunnel. In Spring 2020 the high-speed trains will provide service between Switzerland and the Italian city of Milan. Also, they will be used on the long-distance connections to Germany.
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The TGV Euroduplex double-decker units have been also unveiled during the Saturday presentation to be held at Zurich railway station. Thanks to these vehicles, TGV Lyria, a joint venture of SNCF and SBB, will improve train connections between Switzerland and France. As early as December of this year, the completely renewed TGV double-decker trains will run on the routes from Zurich, Lausanne and Geneva to Paris. They will replace the single-decker units running on these lines. With 15 double-decker trains, TGV Lyria will increase daily seating capacity by 4,500 seats. This amount will reach 18,000 seats per day.