The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)
Fast Runs on the Continent
Fast Runs on the Continent.
France leads in the European passenger train speed table, having 125 daily runs at an average speed of 56 ¼ m.p.h. or over. The 60 ½ m.p.h. maintained over 145 miles by the Quevy-Paris daily train is an outstanding run, while there are twenty-seven daily runs at 59 ½ m.p.h. and over, scattered throughout the various systems. New timings for the principal expresses out of Paris include a 67 ½ miles per hour flight between Paris-St. Quentin, in the case of the Nord Company's Berlin “Rapide”; and several runs of 62 ¼ m.p.h. on the State Railways between Paris and Rouen. In Germany the fastest service is that between Berlin and Hamburg (180 miles in 3 hours 14 minutes, average 55 ½ m.p.h.). In Belgium, average speeds of 54 ½ m.p.h. are maintained in the Brussels-Ostend run, while Holland has several runs of 48 m.p.h. between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Very remarkable, having regard to the gradients encountered, are the accom plishments of the Swiss Railways. On the St. Gothard route, the 255-mile journey from Basle to Milan is performed at an average speed of 40 ½ m.p.h., this relatively fast running being secured through the employment of super-power electric locomotives.
The St. Gothard Railway, one of the world's most remarkable transportation undertakings, has just celebrated its fiftieth birthday. Completed in 1882, the line now ranks as an important link in cross-European transport, and as a most efficiently operated electric mountain railway.
The St. Gothard Railway Company was subsidised by the Swiss, Italian and German Governments. The most difficult construction work was the building of the St. Gothard tunnel between Goschenen and Airolo. Some 14,900 metres in length, the double-track tunnel took nine years to construct. This unique Swiss railway has been admired by engineers from every land, special features being the loop-tunnels and double-horseshoe curves introduced to negotiate the difficult country traversed. At Wassen, the tracks are actually laid at three levels one above the other, and are linked by ingenious spirals.