Switzerland claims the record for the longest passenger train in the world

On Saturday 29 October, the Swiss Rhaetian Railway set the record for the longest passenger train in the world with a journey on one of the most spectacular tracks in the Swiss Alps. The whole trip took over an hour. He traveled about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) through the Alps. Rhaetian Railways director Renato Fasciati said the record attempt was meant to highlight some of Switzerland’s technical achievements and celebrate 175 years of the European nation’s railways.

The 1.9 kilometer (1.2 mile) train consists of 100 cars and traveled the Albula/Bernina route from Preda to Bergün. UNESCO designated the route a World Heritage Site in 2008 and it passes through 22 tunnels – some of which wind through the mountains – and 48 bridges, including the curved Landwasser Bridge.

The first Swiss train, which started running on August 7, 1847 between Zurich and Baden, became famous with a curious nickname: ‘Spanisch Brötli Bahn’. The Spanish pastry train. Spanisch Brötli is a pastry specialty from Baden, although the original recipe comes from Milan, when this region of Italy was under Spanish rule (1535-1706). It is a puff pastry with a high proportion of butter, filled with a mixture of roasted and crushed hazelnuts and apricot jam.

As the Swiss and Austrian Board of Education explains, after the Protestant Reformation bakers in Zurich were forbidden to produce fancy pastries, so the servants of large families had to travel early in the morning to Baden, 25 km away, to buy the pastries in the morning so that they are served as fresh as possible for Sunday breakfast. When the railway between Zürich North and Baden opened in 1847, the Spanisch Brötli traveled from Baden to Zürich in just 45 minutes. This use of the railway was so popular that the railway line was quickly dubbed the “Spanisch Brötli Bahn”.

August marked the 175th anniversary of the first railway line in Switzerland, with this train actually being called the Schweizerische Nordbahn. Switzerland was made up of a confederation of member states where each canton exercised its sovereignty in quasi-autonomy.

In 1838, the railway company Basel-Zürcher-Eisenbahngesellschaft had already been founded, but it was liquidated after three years due to financial problems. A Zurich industrialist, Martin Escher-Hess, saved the remaining assets, which served as the basis for the link between Zurich and Baden, from bankruptcy.

The first trains ran in Switzerland in 1844, but belonged to the Compagnie de Strasbourg in Basel. These trains from Strasbourg only “trampled” Swiss territory to cover the two kilometers between Saint-Louis and Basel. The first steam locomotive that entered Basel bore the name of Napoleon.

Jose P. Rogers