Swiss Railway History, Companies, Steam, Diesel and Electric Locomotives
Swiss railway development was given full momentum after the new constitution of the federal sate in 1848 creating central government and removing economic and political boundaries which has existed between states. Before this, railways had been limited to the Zürich to Baden line opened in 1848 and the short extension of French lines across the border to Basel in 1844. Rapid expansion took place during the twenty years from 1848 such that by the early 1870s the main routes were complete. Nationalisation was under discussion from that time but the state-owned Swiss Federal Railways (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB), Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses (CFF), Ferrovie federali svizzere (FFS)) came into being in 1902. The only major standard gauge line outside of state control was the Bern–Lötschberg–Simplon (BLS) which opened in 1906, after formation of SBB.
The geography of Switzerland created challenges for railway companies and their construction resulted in spectacular and pioneering infrastructure. The north-south Gotthard Railway (Gotthardbahn, Ferrovia del Gottardo) crossing the Alpine range, began construction in the 1870s and was completed with the Gotthard Tunnel in 1882, at the time world’s longest railway tunnel at 15km. The 19.8km Simplon Tunnel was constructed on the Lötschberg line in 1906. Both tunnels completed key international routes. Early electrification led to half of the Swiss lines using electric traction by 1929.
Alpine lines were also built with narrow gauge track and these became popular attractions in their own right, in addition their scenic tourist locations. The two most significant operate the metre gauge and were established at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Rhaetian Railway (Rhätische Bahn RhB) covers 366km in the Grisons (Graubünden) canton, including the Bernina railway. The Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn (MGB), is a merger of the Furka-Oberalp-Bahn (FO) and the Brig-Visp-Zermatt (BVZ) operating 144km of line between Disentis and Zermatt. The Glacier Express first ran in 1930 and connects the resorts of Zermatt with St. Moritz, being jointly operated by the RhB and MGB.
This listing covers all our books on Swiss railways while specific areas can be viewed through the sub-categories on the left of this page. Click the book image for more details including the examples we have in stock.
© Transport Store 2016
Mountain Rack Railways of Switzerland
Oakwood Portrait Series PS9
A concise survey of Switzerland's rack railways, with a brief history of each of these fascinating and spectacular lines. Illustrated throughout with colour and black and white photographs.