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Welcome to the Swiss section of the Railway Pictures Archive

Rhätische Bahn express trains near and at Landquart

Main menu, Switzerland

A long list of different railroad companies and their equipment will shortly emerge here - please be patient. This page is under construction. We have thousands of unpublished photos - but so little time :-)

Switzerland is one of the world´s leading train countries: A mountainous small piece of land, where building a train line up the mountain side seems like the most stupid thing to do. Yet, in addition to the state railroad company SBB, there were still in the late 1990s over 30 private railway companies. The companies keep changing, mergers and de-mergers are commonplace. The Swiss also make use of all thinkable and unthinkable gauge widths, electricity systems, control systems, ticketing systems etc. The majority of the trains run on the "wrong side" compared to road traffic: There is a left handed traffic system on main lines due to the old British influence from the 1880s; some of the country´s oldest rail companies used to be owned by London businessmen in the mid 1800s ! It´s a mess - all extremely complicated, extremely odd and at the same time extremely fascinating for the occasional train enthusiast visitor.

And the Swiss do use their trains - maybe more than anybody else. No matter the outrageous train ticket prices, among the locals it´s still commonday practise even now in the beginning of the 21st century to take the train for any trip longer than 100 km - something which rarely happens anywhere else in the western world. (However, most of the Swiss locals have bought for themselves a "Halbtaxabo" card which allows them to ride by paying just the children´s ticket prices, half the price.)

Left: The 'TransOrmoran', a historic train of the ASD in Aigle
Right: The famous Swiss "Crocodile", SBB´s Ce 6/8 II series no. 14270 from 1920 as a memorial by Erstfeld, at the Gotthard Pass

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Mr. Ilkka Siissalo
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Last updated 20.2.2009