Rhaetian Railway details record attempt with world’s longest passenger train

Attempting to assemble and operate the world’s longest passenger train is not without challenges and obstacles, Swiss operator Rhaetian Railways (RhB) said at a press conference on Wednesday. Among other things, this will require special training, software and a communication system, RhB pointed out.

The record attempt is scheduled for October 29 to mark the 175th anniversary of Swiss operator SBB. RhB aims to assemble 25 Stadler ABe 4/16 ‘Capricorn’ units for a total train length of nearly 2,000 meters. RhB will run the train over the iconic six-arched, 65-metre-high Landwasser Viaduct, part of the UNESCO-listed Albula Railway.

According to RhB, the gigantic train will require 7 drivers and 21 technicians. Stadler confirmed on Wednesday that it has hired engineers and experts for the project. RhB chief Renato Fasciat said the train will cover a distance of nearly 25 kilometers. As the 1.91 kilometer train will only travel at a maximum speed of 35 kilometers per hour, the journey is expected to take approximately 46 minutes. The speed is limited so as not to put too much strain on the catenaries.

Simultaneous acceleration

One of the challenges RhB will face is that for the attempt to succeed, all 25 trains must speed up or slow down simultaneously. However, only four trains can be controlled from a single driving cab. For this reason, a special intercom system will be installed for the various drivers, who in turn will receive dedicated training.

As the record attempt will take place during the day, other traffic on the rail network will be affected. The Albula tunnel will be closed to traffic for 12 hours, rail traffic between Tiefencastel and Bergün will be interrupted for 2 hours.

The train scheduled for October will carry 4,450 people on board. Tickets for the trip go on sale August 2.

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Jose P. Rogers