EC 14 @ Wassen
Because of the ever-worsening maintenance situation of the ETR 470 class tilting trains, the SBB are increasingly looking for alternative solutions to increase the reliability of the Zürich-Milano (I) Eurocity services. At the latest in December 2014, two years before the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, ETR 470 will be history.
Already these days, they are an increasingly rare breed on the Gotthard line: many services get replaced by ICN trainsets (with a change of trains in Chiasso) or by classical loco-hauled consists. This has been the case now for over a year with EC 15 and 22, employing a modern Re 484 class loco and Swiss EC coaches. Since early April this year, a second pair of trains is converted to conventional rolling stock: EC 14 Milano Centrale - Zürich HB and EC 23 in the opposite direction, officially until June 9th, but I reckon this period will be extended. The solution chosen for this pair of trains is different from that for EC 15/22: no multi-system locos are used, which means the classical engine change in Chiasso has been restored. Moreover, the coaches used are Italian, not Swiss, and if I am not mistaken, these are the only trains with Trenitalia coaches running anywhere outside of Italy these days.
It is not evident to find a good location for northbound trains in the morning on the Gotthard line. The only feasible point is the middle level at Wassen, where the orientation of the trakcs is inverted with respect to the general direction of travel. Re 4/4 II no. 11158 is therefore hauling northbound EC 14 towards the south, passing the Mittlere Meienreussbrücke. Wassen, 26-04-2012.