The Alppiercers

for SBB Cargo International

Swiss heritage in the modern railway era. 

Client: SBB Cargo International
Project: Multip. Alppiercer projects

Locomotive: Siemens Vectron

"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.

  • 18x Alppiercer I = 193 461-478
  • 1x Nightpiercer I (with Hupac) = 193 492
  • 20x Alppiercer II = 193 516-535, including
    • Ceneripiercer = 193 518
    • Hollandpiercer = 193 525
    • Nightpiercer II = 193 532
  • 10x RAlpiercer (with RAlpin) = 186 901-910, including 
    • 186 909 in special night design
  • 2x Shadowpiercer = 193 657-658
  • 1x Berlinpiercer (with Die Güterbahnen) = 193 659
  • 1x Ruhrpiercer (with RT&S) = 193 701
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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. 

railcolordesign-ip-sbbcialppiercer1-017

The Alppiercer concept

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.  

siemens_vectron_lokroll38sbbcargointernational

Alppiercer II

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.  

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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. 

siemens_vectron_suedleasing18DanielSchaerer_regensburg20200116taav

Nightpiercer, Ceneripiercer, Hollandpiercer...

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.

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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.

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The third special was the second Nightpiercer, as shown below:

siemens_vectron_suedleasing16DanielSchaerer_nmah

Shadowpiercer

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.

siemens_vectron_mrce193657simonwijnakker_rotterdammaasvlakte2-20220315qpla
siemens_vectron_mrce193658DanielSchaerer_koeln20220228xcla

The tradition of naming the machines continued. The Shadowpiercer have logos of lakes.

siemens_vectron_mrce193658DanielSchaerer_koeln20220228akla

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.

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To be continued.

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