Sunday, December 27, 2015

Zürich to Milano

It's 7AM, and Zurich is waking up. My trip today is to take the Gotthard route through the Alps. Best way to do that is by taking Eurocity train from Zurich to Milano (my second international railtrip).
 Zurich Hauptbahnhof is one of the busiest stations in the world and the is the largest one in Switzerland.
 ETR 610 (Italian) or RABe 503 (Swiss) train is waiting for departure. This train is manufactured by Alstom and besides Switzerland and Italy is also operated in Spain (Avant S-114), China (CRH5) and Poland (ED250). The train is also known as the "New Pendolino", offering tilt technology and with a top speed of 250km/h.
 The routes from Switzerland to Italy were operated by Cisalpino company between 1993 and 2009, a joint venture between SBB and Trenitalia. Now it's carried out separately by the two companies. My way to Italy is operated by SBB. There are EuroCity services from Geneva, Basel and Zurich to Milano, and with some services from Geneva continuing all the way to Venice.
 Alstom is announcing it's label on the stairs to the train.
 Inside 1st class coach.
 The train looks new and fresh.
 The sun is rising over Zurichsee lake.
 The Alps are getting closer.
 EC 13 train makes some stops in Switzerland, here is Zug station.
 Gotthard railway is an important international link between Germany and Italy, and it was opened 1882. The highest peak is at 1100 m where the Gotthard tunnel is passing the Apls.
 Arriving to Arth-Goldau station, from where the Alps are very close.
 Most of the Swiss locomotives were developed to operate on the Gotthard route, and the most famous is the Crocodile.

 Here passing by Fluelen station without stop and the lake Vierwaldstättersee.

 Gotthard route has been recently upgraded to the new ERMTS system, preparing for the opening of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel at the end of 2016.
 Gotthard Base Tunnel will replace the slowest part of the old Gotthard route with its spirals and the extreme differences in altitude. With its 57km it will the world longest and deepest rail tunnels. The main purpose is to increase amount of freight transports, and more particularly to shift transports from road to rail. The journey time for passenger train will also be reduced by 1 hour.
 Gotthard Base Tunnel is part of a bigger Alptransit project. Gotthard Base tunnel construction started in 1996, and will now be completed 2016. Total cost is 9.8 billion CHF.
 The railway is placed here in parallel with E35 highway that runs from Amsterdam to Rome.
At Wassen, the first two spirals are encountered. The church of Wassen can thus be seen 3 times from different perspectives.
 After passing Gotthard tunnel (15km long and opened 1882), here nearby Airolo, we are entering the Italian language part of Switzerland. The Gotthard road tunnel (16,9km long) can be seen here. In 2001, there was a serious fire in the tunnel caused by two trucks collision, killing 11 people and many injured.

 Minibar service at SBB EC 17 train.
 Here, near Farido is the most spectacular part of the Gotthard route. Another two spirals, known as the "Biaschina-Loops" are located here.
 Passing under the highway road bridge.
 After some time, same bridge is seen from another angle, as well as the railway we were passing by.
 Near Bodio, the Gotthard route is meeting the end of new Gotthard Base tunnel.
 A new SBB operational centre is located at the south portal of the Gotthard base tunnel in Pollegio.
 Passenger trains will be able to travel at 250km/h speed in the new Gotthard Base Tunnel, compared to a much lower speeds at the current mountainous railway. For the new tunnel, SBB has ordered new high speed trains from Stadler, and they will be operated on the routes all the way to Amsterdam, Frankfurt to/from Milano.
 The first stop after a long journey through Gotthard, is the city of Bellinzona.
 Another ETR 610 is approaching from the south, from a steep valley of Monte Ceneri Pass.
 Meeting with ETR 610.
 Meeting with ICN RABDe 500.
 A short stop in Lugano.

 Entering Italy, after Chiasso, the train stops in Como.

 Italian local train can be viewed.
 Outskirts of Milano.

 Arriving at Milano
 Each seat has a display showing if it's occupied and if yes, between which stations.
 Milano Centrale.

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