IN PICTURES: Switzerland’s double-decker trains get a facelift

Switzerland's fleet of 20-year-old double-decker train carriages is being given a modern makeover. Here’s what you can expect to see soon at a station near you.

IN PICTURES: Switzerland's double-decker trains get a facelift
The new 'brighter' carriages feature energy-saving LED lighting. Photo: SBB

They are the part of the backbone of the Swiss train network – the 341 IC2000 double-decker carriages that roll their way across Switzerland everyday linking cities from Geneva to St Gallen and taking in other destinations including Brig, Chur and Basel.

Now, after 20 years of service, the slightly faded carriages are undergoing a 300 million-franc (€264 million) revamp which involves 40 kilometres of carpet, 120 tonnes of paint and enough heavy-duty upholstery for 32,000 or so seats.

Another view of one of the new second class carriages. Photo: SBB

On Thursday, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) unveiled its first prototypes of the shiny new carriages.

They feature energy-saving LED lighting and are brighter than they used to be, the SBB said in a statement.

One of the new first-class carriages. Photo: SBB

Other highlights include cutting-edge new windows that are designed to help boost on-board mobile phone reception (including 5G), compartment tables with built-in power plugs and wireless phone charging in the business zones of those trains which have them (check for 'BZ' on timetables).

The new compartment tables feature in-built power plugs. Photo: SBB

It’s not all about technology either. Toilets in the famous 'Ticki Park' family carriages – which come replete with playgrounds and all – will now have changing tables.

Meanwhile, the total number of places for bicycles across the IC2000 fleet will increase from 200 to 360, and IC restaurants are set for an overhaul.

This is how the new-look carriages appear from the outside. Photo: SBB

Not everyone is happy with the changes though. One reader of the Swiss news site 20 Minuten complained about the lack of additional space for luggage on the new carriages.

But an SBB spokesperson responded that while the company had looked at various options, increasing luggage space could only have been achieved by reducing overall seating.

“We didn’t want that,” said the spokesperson.

The first of the new carriages are expected to hit the tracks of Switzerland this autumn.

An alternative view of one of the new first class carriages. Photo: SBB


Rail services to remain disrupted in Switzerland in the coming days

Snow and sub-zero temperatures over the weekend caused havoc on some train lines, mainly in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

Rail services to remain disrupted in Switzerland in the coming days
Snow has slowed down train traffic in Switzerland. Photo by AFP

Freezing temperatures cut off the power on some lines, disrupting train traffic in several regions.

Internationally, traffic between St. Margrethen in St.Gallen and Munich was interrupted due to heavy snowfall. EuroCity trains between Zurich and Munich were canceled.

Before it resumes normal service, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) must clear a thick layer of snow from trains and remove fallen trees from tracks, the company said on its website.

The train between Basel and Zurich airport will be canceled until Tuesday evening. 

But SBB says it will resume most of its traffic on the main lines on Monday, though at reduced frequency.

Shorter train formations and longer journeys should also be expected in the next few days.

READ MORE: Swiss railways releases new time table: Here's what changes in 2021

How can you know ahead of time about any last-minute cancellations or delays?

The timetable is also constantly updated on the SBB Mobile App. 

Any delays or last minute cancellations are indicated there in real time.

On Twitter, @RailService and @railinfo_cff provide information on possible disruptions as well.

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