Category:Swiss Federal Railways

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Swiss Federal Railways goes by different names according to language.

  • SBB Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (German)
  • CFF Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses (French)
  • FFS Ferrovie federali svizzere (FFS)

Carriages usually carry both "SBB" and "CFF" markings.


The Swiss railway system was officially nationalised on 1st January 1902, after a national referendum in 1898. Previously the railway system had been composed of a number of independent companies, the haphazard nature of which led to calls for central control.

The Swiss Railways Clock

After nationalisation, the railway system became a byword for efficiency and punctuality, exemplified by the Swiss Railways Clock. The specially designed high-visibility clock designed in 1944 and 1953 by Hans Hilfiker, has a thin red second-hand ending in a large red disc that symbolises a railwayman's hand signal. The second-hand performs a circuit in slightly less than a minute, and then pauses on the "12" for around a second and a half while it waits for a central synchronisation timesignal pulse (transmitted every minute) signal before continuing. This pause acts as a visual indicator that the clocks really are synchronised, and the "long" second makes it easier for train drivers to have a journey start time that is correct "to the second".

There are also stories of train drivers staring at the red dot on the station clock as they pull into a station to see if they can manage to bring their train to a halt at precisely the right moment, again, to the second.

Pages in category ‘Swiss Federal Railways’

The following 3 pages are in this category, out of 3 total.

Media in category ‘Swiss Federal Railways’

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