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The project, which SBB says is the largest vehicle modernisation in the history of its long-distance service, will include a completely new interior design to improve mobile phone reception and a new passenger information system.
The trains were purchased between 1999 and 2005 and have travelled an average of six million km. The renewal will prepare them for another 20 years of operation.
The project includes installing revised lighting, new upholstery and seat covers, new carpets and side wall tables with integrated power sockets, an upgraded restaurant and redesigned family zone and new tables in business class. Laser-perforated panels will be installed to improve mobile phone reception, and seat reservations will be displayed electronically. SBB will also adapt the vehicles meet Disability Equality Act requirements.
The modernisation will be undertaken by around 110 employees, who will completely strip back the interior to the body shell before reassembly. The first prototype is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The trains are used mainly on the Geneva Airport – Biel/Bienne – Basel/St Gallen routes and on the north-south axis. The ICN will be gradually phased out from 2036 to 2043.
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