Swiss president and transport minister Doris Leuthard, and head of Swiss federal railways (SBB) Andreas Meyer were present at the train’s launch on Thursday where they had the chance to test out the train’s functions on a short journey.
Named the Giruno – the Romansh word for a bird of prey – the new train is 202m long and has 405 seats. If connected to a second train, as SBB intends to do on the Gotthard line, capacity will be increased by 40 percent compared with current trains, reported news agencies.
The Giruno can travel at speeds up to 250km/hr and has features including wifi, air conditioning and a power socket by each seat, plus separate toilets for men and women which Meyer hoped would “improve cleanliness”.
Its low floors are designed for flat entry to facilitate access for disabled customers and those with heavy bags. Stadler CEO Peter Spuhler said it was the first train to meet all the requirements of the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act.
Stadler is producing 29 Giruno for SBB to run on the Basel-Milan line from 2019, the company said in a press release.
The line passes through the Gotthard Base Tunnel – the longest rail tunnel in the world – which opened amid great fanfare last year.
Later, the trains could connect with Frankfurt in Germany.
Speaking at the launch, Leuthard said the new train “set a new standard – just like Switzerland did with the Gotthard Base Tunnel. This is something we can truly be proud of”.
Trains like the Giruno are “the basis for a modern and competitive rail system” and “help us to be more competitive in terms of international transport”, added Meyer.