Electrification of the rail network is a unique chapter in the history of technology in Switzerland: an affirmation of the nation's independence and a demonstration of its capabilities. Switzerland now gets its energy from its own hydroelectric plants rather than coal from Prussia. One pioneering achievement is the construction of the Lötschberg line from Spiez to Brig, on which the BLS begins operations in 1913. It is made possible by a link-up between Bern's rail and power station companies and the Swiss electrical and locomotive building industry. The Gotthard line is electrified immediately after the First World War, and the entire line from Basel to Chiasso by 1924. Electric locomotives are significantly heavier than steam locomotives, necessitating major structural changes. Many old iron bridges are replaced by reinforced concrete girder constructions.
« Initially there are minor fluctuations in the current strength, similar to the flow characteristics of bodies of water. »E. Trechsel, Interference with the low-current installations due to the electrical operations of the Lötschberg railway, undated