Results for the phase
"Growth in traffic 1882 - 1960"

The first tunnels through the Gotthard, Simplon and Lötschberg mountains are built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Traffic levels then increase more sharply than expected. Lines are electrified and upgraded, locomotives become more powerful, and trains start to run more frequently. A radical solution, first mooted in the years between the two world wars, comes to the fore in the 1950s: longer, lower-lying base tunnels.

22 May 1882

Inauguration of the Gotthard Tunnel

When it opens, the first tunnel through the Gotthard is the longest rail tunnel in the world. It is mostly financed by foreign capital.

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1897

The Gotthard railway in literature

Spitteler, Moeschlin and Schädelin are just some of the writers captivated by the Gotthard railway.

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19 May 1906

The second tunnel

After the Gotthard, the Simplon Tunnel becomes the second rail line through the Swiss Alps. Now, western Switzerland is connected to the south.

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1 May 1909

Nationalisation of the Gotthard Railway Company

The SBB is created following the nationalisation of Switzerland’s major private railways. The last to be integrated is the Gotthard, which proves to be the most profitable line.

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15 July 1913

Link through the Lötschberg

The Lötschberg line and its tunnel connect Switzerland’s western plateau with Italy.

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1914

The battle with nature

Railways are a comparatively environmentally friendly means of transport. In the Alps, however, they come up against the forces of nature.

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1924

Water replaces coal

Electrification of the Gotthard line is completed in 1924. Switzerland now gets the energy to power its trains from its own hydroelectric plants rather than coal from Prussia.

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1947

The Europe-Africa Express

An engineer has a vision: from Basel to Chiasso by rail in just two hours – time enough for a shower, a haircut and some telephone calls.

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1957

Rail tourism

Rail is a popular means of transport. Switzerland’s railway lines contribute to its success as a tourist destination.

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