Swiss train operator Schweizerische Südostbahn (SOB) has signed a contract with Stadler for 12 additional ‘Traverso’ FLIRT trains that will be used on the Chur-Zurich-Berne line from 12 December 2021, when SOB will begin operating an hourly service under an SBB long-distance licence.

The order covers seven eight-car, copper-coloured FLIRT multiple units, called ‘Traverso’, and five four-car, silver-coloured FLIRT trains.

The Traverso trains have 359 seats, 68 of which are in first class with 2+1 seating. All seats are equipped with power outlets and each train has two bistro areas and a designated family area.

SOB will operate the long-distance Traverso trains on the Voralpen-Express route between St. Gallen and Lucerne from 15 December 2019, on the Gotthard mountain route from 13 December 2020, and between Chur and Berne from mid-December 2021.

SOB had already ordered six eight-car and five four-car electric low-floor multiple units from Stadler at the end of June 2016 in order to replace older stock, some of which had been in operation for 40 years, ready for the timetable changes for 2019. The four-car multiple units can carry 197 passengers, including 22 in first class, reinforcing the existing FLIRT fleet used in regional transport.

In December 2017, SOB exercised an option to order eleven additional eight-car Traverso long-distance trains for the long-distance line from Basel or Zurich over the Gotthard mountain route to Locarno.

The latest order is a result of SOB exercising a second option, bringing the total number up to 24 of the eight-car Traversos and 10 of the four-car FLIRTs.