[CH] 2026: SBB will be needing extra Giruno high-speed trains

The fight for eco-friendlier cross-European travel is on. SBB along with DB has announced plans for expansion of its DE-CH cross-country services, increasing both speed and frequency to get more people off the plane and onto the train. And new rolling stock will be needed too.

The current Stadler Rail SMILE high-speed trains were ordered by the Swiss federal railways  (SBB) in 2014. Also known as type RABe 501, the 250 km/h-fast EMUs are used on the Milan – Zurich/Basel – Frankfurt a/M axis.

SBB’s RABe 501 008 “Ceneri 2020” seen in Leipzig Central station (DE) on 06.05.2020 Photo credit: Sebastian Heilander

Now, SBB has confirmed its intention to purchase additional Girunos from the existing framework agreement, which still covers 92 units as option. An unspecified number of extra units will be needed in 2026 due to changes in routes and frequencies as announced by DB and SBB, which include:

  • More daily connection between the countries: 35 instead of 26;
  • New connections between Germany and Valais via Bern
  • New connections Lugano – Gotthard – Basel – Hamburg

Deutsche Bahn will only be using ICE4 units on all its Germany – Switzerland connections;