Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Basel, Bologna

Today I'm leaving France and heading to Italy through Switzerland.
 Colmar station which is by the way almost identical to the station of Gdansk in Poland, which explains by the fact that in 1907 both Colmar and Gdansk (Danzig) belonged to the German Empire.
 Colmar station facade decorated with coat of arms of Colmar. At the time when Colmar was german there was the imperial eagle here instead.

 Bombardier XGC (AGC) or X 76500
 Alstom Régiolis or B 83500. This version of the Régiolis is called Suburban while the version I saw earlier in Lille is called Regional (B 84500). The difference is that there are more seats in Suburban than Regional (366 vs 354) and there are almost twice as many doors.
 Régiolis trains is here complementing TER200 on Strasbourg-Mulhouse line. When the train was entering the service in 2014 it turned out the train was "too wide" to fit the platforms on some stations, Colmar among others. As as result of this mistake, many station platforms had to be rebuilt.
 The train has a maximum speed of 160km/h, and even though TER200 is permitted to run at 200km/h, the speed of TER200 rarely exceeds 160km/h.
 The train has a so called dual mode, i.e. both electric and diesel engine. More information about this train is available at Alstom webpage. Additional Intercity version of this train is called Coradia Liner, which the dutch railway company NS has been recently ordered from Alstom.
 I'm now taking the last part of TER200 service Strasbourg-Basel from Colmar.

 Passing by railway museum "Cité du Train - Musée Français du Chemin de Fer" which is the biggest railway museum in the world.
 I'm now passing by Mulhouse
 Another TER200 at Mulhouse

 I'm passing by the last stop in France - Saint-Louis.

 Shortly after Saint-Louis, we are arriving to Switzerland and the city of Basel. The railway from french border to Basel SNCF train station is electrified with 25kV 50Hz which is the voltage used by the SNCF in Alsace while Basel SBB station is electrified as the entire Swiss rail network with 15kV 16.7Hz.
 Basel or Bâle (in French) is the last stop for this TER200 service. Just like the Basel connecting line from Germany to Basel SBB is equipped with german train protection system PZB, the railway from french border to Basel SNCF is equipped with french protection KVB.
 Corail coach manufactured in 1976 by Société Franco-Belge (acquired by Alstom in 1982) and Alsthom Groupe Brissonneau.
 Basel SNCF station is an annex to Basel SBB and it is intended for arrival with SNCF trains from St. Louis.
Swiss and French parts of the passenger building of Basel railway station are connected by a single connecting corridor, where the customs offices were located (now inactive since Switzerland's joined to the Schengen area in 2008).
The main ticket hall
Large murals advertise tourist destinations in Switzerland. 

Basel is Europe's busiest international border station. Berlin, Strasbourg and Paris are just some of the destinations (not counting domestic ones) I could spot at this point. There are also trains to Italy and Austria from here. About 1000 trains are using the station daily. Nearly every 90 seconds, a passenger train leaves or stops at the station
Basel main station

 The trams in Basel are operated by two different providers. BLT (Baselland Transport) has yellow trams operating in the outer suburbs to the south of Basel, and at one point pass through the territory of France.
 Stadler Tango tram
BVB (Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe ) has green trams, and they operate mostly in the city, the line 8 terminates across the frontier in Germany. Here is Bombardier Flexity 2 tram from 2014.
 The seats are rather hard in this tram
I have now arrived to Kleinhüningen tram stop which is just one stop before the border station with Germany.
The purple line in the north is the line to Germany. I'm not sure I know any other town where you can take trams between the countries.
 The reason why I have arrived to this tram stop is to see the point where 3 countries are meeting. To get there I'm passing through this Container Terminal Basel.
 Dreiländereck is a monument located near the river Rhine.
 The flags are pointing in the direction of each country.

 Is it a french, swiss or german cat?
 Siemens Combino tram from 2002
 Schindler Guggummere tram from 1990 (to the left)
 Roche Tower which is the main office for a pharmaceutical company. There are about 900 pharmaceutical and medtech companies in the region of Basel.

 Smoking break

 I'm back to train station, where my next train is already waiting. I will now take Eurocity train to Italy.
 Meanwhile some trains are passing by. Here is ICE train to/from Germany.
 ICE1 train is approved for services in Germany and Switzerland.
 Swiss coaches are approved for Germany and Austria
 Re 420 locomotive
RABDe500 or ICN train 
 Each of the 44 ICN trains is dedicated to prominent Swiss personalities, here is Graf Zeppelin.
TGV POS train for Lyria service from Paris to Switzerland.

 RABe503 / ETR610

 Eurocity train to Milano is my next train
The train is certified to be used in Switzerland and Italy and it supports 3kV DC (Italian conventional lines), 25kV AC (Italian high speed lines), 15kV (16.7Hz) AC (Swiss lines).
The train is also called New Pendolino which is a tilting high speed train from Alstom.

 EC train has mandatory seat reservation, it is possible to book a seat through Trenitalia webpage, the price is 11EUR for Interrail Pass holders.

 I'm now leaving Basel for this time
 Bar service is available
 Ticket control

 Passing by Lindt chocolate factory
 Passing by Aarburg castle

 Lunch is served.
 Arriving to Bern


 RABe 515 Stadler Kiss
 RABe 535 from Bombardier
 Re 475 (Siemens Vectron MS) and Re 485 (Bombardier Traxx F140 AC1)
 Scenic route

 Niesen mountain (2362m) which can be reached with a funicular
 Entering Lötschberg Base tunnel (34,57km)
SBB application is informing when Lötschberg Base tunnel is crossed
 Time for a beer (there is no view in the tunnel anyway).
 Lötschberg railway line
 Brig - the last stop in Switzerland

 Simplon tunnel, built 1906, and until 1982 was the world's longest tunnel.
 The tunnel is connecting Switzerland and Italy, right after the tunnel's end is the Iselle station.

  BLS Cargo is transporting freight through Lötschberg-Simplon route
 Trucks are being transported by rail
 Domodossola station
 There is a IR service Domodossola-Brig operated with RBe 530 multiple unit, here is driving coach BDt.
 ETR425 Alstom Coradia Meridian for Trenord service to Milan

 Re 474 Siemens Eurosprinter ES 64 F4 locomotive for SBB Cargo
 Italian rails are painted white for disinfection reasons (old trains has lavatories which flushes directly on the railway).

 Lake Maggiore
 Stresa station

 Gallarate station and TSR train for LeNord suburban service
 Cargo terminal nearby Gallorate
 Approaching Milan

 Final stop for this Eurocity train is Milan

ETR 400 is the newest train for Trenitalia. It is called Frecciarossa 1000 and it is a high speed train from AnsaldoBreda and Bombardier

 Old and new
 I will take an older version of Frecciarossa ETR500
 First class coach with leather seats

 The line between Milano and Bologna is part of the Milan-Salerno high speed corridor and it opened 2008.
 Interrail pass holders are required a seat reservation, which is available to book from Trenitalia website for 10EUR. Travelling in first class ticket includes a glass of prosecco and some snacks.
 The train is arriving to the underground Bologna AV station (Alta velocitá)
 The underground station opened in 2013
 Train ticket machine for Italo, one of the two high speed train companies
 Train ticket machine for Trenitalia, the other company
 Viale Pietro Pietramellara just outside the train station
 The train station in Bologna
 The upper, old station is serving the local and slower long distance trains
 ETR 600 Frecciargento

 ETR 350 Stadler Flirt for TPER services
 FS Class E.464 locomotive hauling an Intercity train
 This locomotive was built in 2009 by Bombardier
 Error message
 Via dell'Indipendenza

 Palazzo d'Accursio (City hall)
A perfect end of the day is some Italian delicatesses

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