At some point between now and 2019, travellers on some Swiss trains will be able to connect to WiFi.
The WiFi equipment will be installed in trains used for two routes. The new Giruno trains linking Zurich, and nearby cities, to Italy via the new Gotthard tunnel, and the former Cisalpino trains linking Geneva to Italy via the Simplon pass in Valais. The technology will be installed in the new Giruno trains, still under construction by Stadler Rail. Passengers will be able to hook into an onboard WiFi network while moving.
Details of the technology to be used have not yet been clarified said Stephan Wehrle, spokesperson for Swiss Rail when speaking to ATS. According to him, the Deutsche Bahn ICE, Austrian Railjet and French TGV Lyria services already offer similar WiFi, adding “But the connection sometimes gets cut.”
Other Swiss trains use a different system. Devices, which amplify the strength of external signals, have already been installed in around 1,000 Swiss Rail carriages. Regional trains will be next. These devices make it easier for passengers to use their own mobile phones as hotspots while travelling, something that makes sense while in Switzerland, but becomes potentially costly once across the border, in for example Italy.
#Stadler #Giruno für den Gotthard am Eröffnungsfest. #gottardo2016 #sbbcffffs pic.twitter.com/7HEsSoqWnu
— Chris Glaettli (@ChrisGlaettli) 4 juin 2016
The 57-kilometre-long Gotthard base rail tunnel was officially opened on 1 June 2016. It is the world’s longest train tunnel, longer than the Channel Tunnel and the Seikan Tunnel in Japan, which links the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokaido. The 200 km/h tunnel journey, which starts in the German-speaking Swiss canton of Uri and ends in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino, will take a full 17 minutes. This distance, which is close to the trip from Lausanne to Geneva will be covered in half of the time it takes to train between these cities.
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