It’s a big day for all the train fans. A historic steam train traveled from Baden AG to Zurich on Tuesday, marking the 175th anniversary of the first Swiss railway line. Federal Councilor Simonetta Somaruga (62, SP) was also on the board.
The trip required a special permit from the city of Zurich. Because there is currently a ban on fires due to drought – and that would actually apply to coal-fired trains as well.
With “Crocodile” and “Elephant” in Zurich
Eight historic carriages were hauled to Zürich by an electrically powered “crocodile” locomotive and a Gotthard “elephant” steam locomotive. The “Spanish-Brötli-Bahn”, usually located at the Verkehrshaus in Lucerne, was spared this 23-kilometre route.
The people of Baden are still proud that they are at the beginning of the history of Swiss railways, said Mayor Markus Schneider upon departure in Baden. “Spanish-Brötli-Bahn” gets its name from the square puff pastry that was transported from Baden to Zurich.
Guests at the Zurich spa had already eaten pastries for breakfast at Baden’s thermal baths. However, in Reformed Zurich, bakers were forbidden from producing such luxury pastries, which is why the gentlemen gave them “bratelli” by train.
Public transport «one of the great powers of the country»
At the party at the SBB workshop in Altstetten that took place after the visit, Transport Minister Somaruga gave a speech in praise of public transport. It is “one of the great powers of the country”. “Our population can rely on trains, buses, postbuses and trams in cities and rural areas. That’s why Switzerland is envied in many countries,” she said.
The war in Ukraine also made it clear that railways are a central component of European security architecture. “After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, practically only railways worked,” said the Federal Councilor. The railway brought refugees to the country’s borders, delivered food and relief supplies to Ukrainian cities and now ensures that Ukrainian grain can still be exported.
festival weekend for the populace
“I would like to thank Swiss Railways for supporting Ukraine with its European partner railways to continue operations,” Somaruga said. They are confident that this shared experience will lead to closer cooperation between railways in Europe.
The 175th anniversary will also benefit the general public: By October, there will be three festive weekends in many parts of the country. More than 50 transport companies are now participating in the celebrations. (SDA/LAH)