Visit to Stadler Rail

02 Feb. 2018

Twenty members and guests of the MIT Club learned on February 2 how Stadler builds trains in Bussnang, Switzerland, and nearby Erlen. The Club’s Tony Quayle organized the event. Our lead host was Urs Bikle, Stadler’s head of engineering. Having started with 20 employees in 1989, Stadler owner Peter Spuhler now has 7000 employees, sales of 2 billion Swiss francs and plants in six European countries, including Belarus, and in Salt Lake City. Stadler mostly builds self-propelled trainsets and trams, but also coaches and locomotives, including for mountain railways. We walked through a nearly finished, 11-coach, 250 km/h Giruno trainset, of which Swiss Federal Railways has ordered 29 for about a billion Swiss francs. Stadler designed, built and started test runs of the first Giruno within 23 months. The Giruno offers doors at different heights for wheelchair access at Swiss and German stations, three tons of computer screens, gender-specific toilets and pressure seals for ear comfort in tunnels. Stadler must sell more Girunos in Switzerland or elsewhere to recoup their investment. Mr. Bikle said that new trains are less profitable than services such as train maintenance, repair and refurbishment.
Duane Hudgins