Speed record for metre gauge track

With the "Capricorn", the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) has the most modern multiple units in the world for narrow-gauge railways. The RhB has already ordered a total of 56 of these four-car train sets from Stadler Rail. The 3113 "Calanda" multiple unit has now set a new speed record for metre-gauge railways with 163.02 kilometres per hour during test runs in the Vereina Tunnel.

Shortly after midnight on 8-9 July, the time had come: the digital display on the speedometer showed a value of 163 km/h. This was the speed at which no metre-gauge railway had ever travelled before. No metre-gauge railway in Europe had ever travelled that fast before. The 19.2-kilometre Vereina Tunnel, which connects Klosters in Prättigau with Sagliains in the Engadine, was ideal for the record run. The teams started their preparations on 8 July in the evening - the RhB had the tunnel closed especially for the test runs. The railcar 3113 "Calanda" was chosen for the record attempt, which went on the record run with a multitude of measuring devices and sensors (see picture gallery for details of the record run).

Representatives of Märklin/LGB, among others, were invited to take part in the record-breaking journey. Among them was Managing Director Wolfrad Bächle, who together with Dr Renato Fasciati had christened the railcar "Calanda" on 12 September 2021. Wolfrad Bächle: "It is fascinating how strongly the RhB relies on modern technology and shows again and again what potential the railway has." On 29 October 2022, the RhB is venturing a world record attempt with the world's longest passenger train. As Main Partner, Märklin is one of the major supporters of this extraordinary undertaking.

The record journey begins - in the picture (from left to right): Marcus Wörner, Christian König, Florian Thieme, Fabian Blücher (Stadler Rail); Martin Näf, Thomas Siegenthaler (ABB); Dr. Renato Fasciati (RhB)
Final instructions by the technical trainer Peter Klima
154 km/h: "Calanda" picks up speed
158 km/h…
163 km/h, made it!
"Calanda" leaving the Vereina tunnel
Successful conclusion of the record drive

Top modern: the "Capricorn" multiple units

Stadler Railway AG will deliver a total of 56 "Capricorn" multiple units to the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) by 2024. Thanks to the principle of "winging", multiple units that have been joined together can be split up on the line and then continue their journey directly individually. The "Capricorn" trains are characterised by state-of-the-art technology: Air-conditioning including CO2 measurement, front cameras with a view from the driver's cab, multifunctional compartments and facilities for the disabled. Video equipment and the latest security systems ensure a safe and pleasant journey and support the train crew; in addition, state-of-the-art fire alarm and fire-fighting systems are installed. Electrical energy 100 per cent from Grisons hydropower; rolling stock with energy recovery systems.


Video of the speed record

Speed record for metre-gauge traction units on the Rhaetian Railway RhB - 08 to 09 July 2022 - Vereina Tunnel, Rhaetian Railway, Grisons, Switzerland.


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The RhB in figures

  • Length of the route network: 384 kilometres
  • One third of the routes are UNESCO World Heritage Sites with highlights such as the Landwasser Viaduct
  • 20 percent of the lines are on or in artificial structures (tunnels, viaducts, ramps)
  • One third of the tracks are at an altitude of over 1,500 metres
  • The greatest gradient is 70 per thousand
  • The longest bridge measures 285 metres (Langwieserviadukt)
  • The highest (Wiesnerviadukt) has a height of 89 metres.
  • The highest point of the railway is 2,253 metres above sea level, the lowest point 429 metres above sea level.

The 122-kilometre-long Albula and Bernina line between Thusis - St. Moritz - Tirano (UNESCO World Heritage) alone has 137 bridges and viaducts as well as 42 tunnels, helical tunnels and spiral tunnels.