The Swiss claims the record for the longest passenger train in the world, measuring 1.2 miles

The longest passenger train in the world is now in Switzerland! A 1.2-mile train completed a jaunt through the rugged area, shattering the previous record in the process. The effort to break the record was organized by the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) as part of the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the first railway in Switzerland. Let’s take a closer look at the record-breaking railway giant and its final journey.

The Swiss railway company, Rhaetian Railway, has set a Guinness World Record for the longest passenger train in the world with a journey on one of the most exciting tracks through the Alps. The train broke a 30-year-old record for the Belgian National Railways which set this standard in 1991. The 70-car railway covered 38 miles and spanned 1.1 miles.

The train contains 100 carriages, seven drivers, 4,550 seats, is 1.2 miles (1.9 km) long, and weighs 3,295 tons. On October 29, 2022, the train passed Albula/Bernina on its way from Breda to Bergen. The road is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and leads through 22 tunnels over 48 bridges, including the curved Landwasser Bridge (a limestone railway bridge 142 meters long and 65 meters high, single track, six curved arches).

Thousands of visitors and train enthusiasts have gathered at the open event in Bergen or set up camp along the aforementioned route to take part in this extraordinary adventure. The train was filmed by 19 cameras in helicopters and drones, cameras on the train and along the track, and three satellite uplinks, creating a unique record of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The 100-car train was created using 25 new “Capricorn” electric trains on a single 6,266-foot train, each with four carriages. The Rhaetian Railway spent months planning the journey, which involved seven drivers and 21 technicians, each watching their own sections of the train to ensure it did not accelerate or slow down too quickly. Drivers and technicians were also responsible for their own emergency braking systems.

The initial test run was unsuccessful because one of the drivers was unable to apply the emergency brake. The fact that the train’s enormous length prevented the drivers from talking effectively to each other made the situation even more difficult. In the tunnels, radios and telephones will not work.

Because of the train’s regenerative braking, the operators also restricted the train’s speed to a maximum of 21 miles per hour. This is because the train’s regenerative braking sends energy back into the upper grille as it descends the hill. With a train of this size, there was concern that re-generation might blow valves in the cars or burn catenary lines over the tracks.

Switzerland is a country of railways like no other. The Swiss are the most avid rail travelers worldwide, covering an average of 2,450 kilometers by train per year, or 25% of the annual mileage. Switzerland is a small country with mountainous terrain that at first seemed unsuitable for railways, but it excels in this area.

Switzerland has always been a leader in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, and its technology and know-how are exported to other countries. The Albula Line is famous for its seemingly endless sweeping turns and steep slopes. It has been hailed as a world class masterpiece of civil engineering.

In Switzerland, public transport users have such high expectations that slight delays lead to quiet discontent. In this light, the extraordinary achievement of Swiss railways by Rhaetian is very impressive evidence of Switzerland’s state-of-the-art capabilities in railway technology.


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