This record-breaking passenger train is over a mile long | Smart News

Aerial photo of the world record attempt
Philippe Schmidli

While crossing the Swiss Alps last weekend, a 2 km long locomotive set the record for the longest passenger train in the world.

The Rhaetian Railway Company has broken the record to honor the 175th anniversary of Switzerland’s first railway and to highlight some of Switzerland’s most impressive technical feats, railway director Renato Fasciati told The Associated. Press.

The locomotive consisted of 25 electric trains connected to each other. Each had four cars, bringing the overall train total to 100 cars.

Crowds gathered to see the world's longest passenger train

Crowds gather to see the world’s longest passenger train

Philippe Schmidli

He passed through tunnels, mountains and valleys along the Albula line, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. In one hour, he traveled about 15 miles through some of the most beautiful passes in the Swiss Alps.

“Combine that with a route with notoriously tight curves, steep inclines, 22 tunnels and 48 bridges over deep valleys and the challenges become apparent,” writes CNN’s Ben Jones.

Train enthusiasts and members of the press perch atop hills or wait in scenic valleys to watch the train make its leisurely journey through the undulating curves of the track. At a festival organized by the railway company, 3,000 ticket holders gathered in the village of Bergün and followed the journey via a live video stream.


Members of the public capturing footage of the Rhaetian Railway world record attempt

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

To prepare for the trip, Swiss engineers conducted trials for months, testing communication and security features to ensure a successful trip. Technicians even installed a custom intercom system to ensure the seven train drivers could communicate about speed and incline while traversing the Alps.

“After intensive preparation, we are delighted to have achieved this world record,” Fasciati said in a statement. “Not only did we have a wonderful railway party here in Bergün, but we were able to present ourselves worldwide as a fascinating and innovative mountain railway.

train of all records

The record train with 100 cars passing near Bergun on October 29

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Senior conductor Andreas Kramer told CNN the crew knows the route well — “every grade change, every grade” — and they’ve all walked the plan multiple times.

“We have to be 100% in sync, every second,” he adds. “Everyone must keep their speed and other systems under control at all times.”

The Albula line was completed in the early 20th century and until then travelers could only access the area by horse-drawn carriages and sleighs.

Before last weekend’s trip, the Belgian National Railway Company had set the previous record in 1991.

Jose P. Rogers