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Aerial photo of the world record attempt with the longest passenger train
Photograph: Philipp Schmidli

Behold, the longest passenger train in the world

The record-breaking train in Switzerland featured 100 coaches, stretching for more than a mile

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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Avid followers of mind-boggling train world records, here’s one for you: a train in Switzerland has recently taken the title of being officially the longest passenger train in the world. And yes, it’s exactly as cool as it sounds.

The train was run by Swiss rail operator Rhaetian Railway (RhB) and was a whopping 1,906 metres in length – that’s well over a mile. Comprising four engines and 100 coaches, it was part of an event last Saturday (October 29) celebrating the 175th anniversary of Swiss railways and the launch of RhB’s brand-new Capricorn trains.

Better yet, the train ran on one of the world’s most picturesque train routes. The locomotive travelled between the south-eastern Swiss towns of Preda and Alvaneu on the Unesco World Heritage-protected Albula Line, which passes over 48 bridges and through 22 tunnels.

Here are a few pics of the successful world record attempt for the world’s longest passenger train.

Aerial photo of the world record attempt with the longest passenger train
Photograph: Philipp Schmidli
Photo of the world record attempt with the longest passenger train
Photograph: Mayk Wendt
Aerial photo of the world record attempt with the longest passenger train
Photograph: Philipp Schmidli

Now, some of you train nerds might be thinking – especially if you live near a freight line – that 1,906 metres doesn’t actually seem that long. And you’d be right: freight trains often exceed 3,000 metres in length, meaning that the Rhaetian’s record very much only applies to passenger trains.

Those technicalities didn’t matter much to Swiss train aficionados: thousands of spectators watched both in a designated ‘festival area’ and along the route. The Rhaetian Railway beat the previous record-holder for the longest passenger train (a Belgian train in 1991) by nearly 200 metres.

Alas, you can’t actually ride this nearly-two-kilometre-long train. It was just a one-off and won’t be entering regular service… so you’ll just have to gawp at the pics. But it’s well worth booking for the route anyway, as it’s one of Europe’s most beautiful railway journeys. Aren’t trains great?

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