Central to this project is the innovative repurposing of retired S-Bahn cars into new control cars for the car loading service on the Lötschberg and Simplon routes. This approach not only breathes new life into these cars but also aligns with the principles of the circular economy.
The existing control cars, some over half a century old and nearing the end of their operational life, are due for replacement. The mixed fleet of cars from various manufacturers has been a challenge for maintenance, both logistically and financially. BLS has chosen to self-facilitate this modernisation, converting decommissioned S-Bahn cars into contemporary control cars.
These revamped control cars are not just a cosmetic update. They will feature air-conditioned compartments with new seating arrangements, enhancing the passenger experience significantly. They cater to customers travelling with motorcycles or bicycles, offering them a comfortable journey while their vehicles are securely loaded onto the train.
The loading wagons, too, are receiving a technological uplift. Reusing the roofs of older wagons, BLS is upgrading the lighting systems and fitting the loading flaps with new hydraulic systems. Additionally, announcements will be relayed through loudspeakers installed in each train car, improving communication and enhancing passenger convenience.
A notable highlight in this transformation is the deployment of BLS's green Re465 locomotives for car transport. These locomotives have already undergone modernisation and represent BLS's commitment to greener operations. They will replace the Re 4/4 locomotives used for the service by now. The complete package, which includes a green locomotive, a loading wagon, and a control car, will be introduced on the Lötschberg car train from December 19, 2023, and is expected to extend to the Simplon route by 2026.