In 2003, the Gornergrat Railway decided to purchase new rolling stock. A key objective was to increase customer comfort with innovative locomotives. Operational improvements were also to be implemented. However, in order to make optimum use of the new railcars, it was also necessary to expand the energy supply.
End-of-life legacy equipment
The twelve vehicles purchased between 1947 and 1965 no longer met the requirements for efficient, comfortable and economical use in passenger transport. In 2003, the Board of Directors therefore decided to procure four new twin railcars at the request of the Executive Board.
The main objective was to improve the journey for customers by increasing comfort, making it easier to board, increasing seating comfort and reducing noise levels.
The new acquisition meant increased revenue for the Gornergrat Railway through the greater capacity from Zermatt with the shortening of the intervals between trains (now 24-minute instead of 36-minute intervals), faster accessibility of the Gornergrat (33 instead of 42 minutes) and the reduction of costs through the use of the twin railcars.
Expansion of the energy supply
The engineers developed a new drive technology and vehicle electronics for these twin railcars. Thanks to new braking systems, the locomotives were also able to travel faster downhill. However, the increase in the timetable with more trains running simultaneously and the use of more efficient rolling stock also made it necessary to expand the power supply. The power supply at the time did not allow double traction units to be driven at speeds of more than 15 km/h.
From 2004 onwards, the railway converted all transformer stations. In 2005, 107 years after commencing operations, the Gornergrat Railway renovated the Riffelboden, Riffelalp and Landtunnel transformer substations, for example. The expansion was completed in 2007.