Client: SBB Cargo International AG, Switzerland
Locomotives: Siemens Vectron, Alstom Traxx, Alstom H3, Vossloh G1206
Our responsibilities: Automotive Styling and Graphic Design
"Hello from Switzerland; we are SBB Cargo International. Yes, we are part of the 'good old' Swiss railways, but we are new, we are young, and we cross borders. How do we communicate this to the outside world?" Railcolor found the answer: This is the Alppiercer story.
Together with all stakeholders, Railcolor Design was able to create a base livery design, bringing together two different worlds:
SBB Cargo International is part of the Swiss state railways. Many say Switzerland has the best railway system in the world. 'SBB' is a synonym for reliability and quality.
SBB Cargo International is a young daughter company, active since 2011. Unlike its mother company, it operates in a competitive, international, and open market.
The result is the already famous 'Alppiercer' design setting a new standard for all generations of locomotives in the fleet of SBB Cargo International. SBB Red and SBB Blue are the basis, the black masks are direct referral to all other SBB rolling stock. New for the company is the addition of lighter blue color tones, representing SBBCI's open, lean and modern company culture.
Symbolism and heritage are important in railways and for SBB Cargo International. Each locomotive is named; each locomotive sports the logo of a city or river, made one by one.
The initial batch of 18 red 'Alppiercer' locomotives was quickly followed by 20 'Alppiercer 2' machines - the same concept, yet with a different color scheme. As these 'blue' machines have a different country-specific package, it was decided to change the main color of the design, yet keep all the distinctive elements in place.
The locomotives are predominantly used for long-haul freight traffic connecting the West-European harbors, in Germany and the Netherlands, with Italy. No longer these trains have to go over the Alps, they can 'pierce through' using the new tunnels like the Gotthard Base Tunnel.
The Alppiercer design is flexible. The sides can be styled in differently, to commemorate special events, for example. The Alppiercer II series includes three special designs - one commemorating the opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel (CNT) tunnel in Switzerland. The locomotive shown above hauled the very first commercial freight train through the tunnel.
In 2019 SBB Cargo International opened a new business unit in the Netherlands. This occasion too was a reason to release a very 'Dutch' Design.
The third special was the second Nightpiercer, as shown below:
Rollende Landstrasse - 10 locomotives, a cooperation between many companies. The Alppiercer design was adjusted to a very different body shape:
Then we went to the dark side ;) - More locomotives were added, leased from MRCE which uses a black base paint. The Piercer design was adjusted accordingly.
The tradition of naming the machines continued. The Shadowpiercer have logos of lakes.
SBB Cargo International has a daughter company, RT&S Lokführer-Akademie,whch offers railway companies highly qualified railway staff. In 2022 they got their own locomotive design, depicting the Ruhr area now and then.
Lease company Railpool and SBB Cargo International closed a deal for several locomotives back in 2022. These machines are silver - The mountains of the Shadowpiercer and the color of the Alppiercers were mixed. Roll out took place in June 2023:
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