10 questions..

Simon Schmied, trainee train driver

Simon Schmied worked as a train driver in the Bernese Oberland. Thanks to a cooperation between RhB and Jungfrau Railways, he joined RhB. Find out now what this collaboration is all about and why Simon decided to make the transition.

Domenica Herzog, Corporate Communications trainee, 22. February 2022

1 Why did you switch to RhB?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was less work for train drivers at Jungfrau Railways, which is why there were job cuts. At times, railway operations were even suspended for several months. We train drivers were given the opportunity to switch to RhB. This offer was put together by RhB and Jungfrau Railways and makes good use of synergies. For Jungfrau Railways, because they did not have to take stricter measures with regard to job cuts, and for RhB, because there was a shortage of train drivers at the time. I thought it over and seized the opportunity. And now I’m here.

2 Did you leave your home to change jobs and now live in the Swiss canton of Graubünden?

Exactly. I now live about 2.5 hours away from my friends and acquaintances in the Bernese Oberland. But that doesn’t bother me, it’s not “out of the world” or anything. On the contrary, I often travel to the Bernese Oberland on my days off and visit them. In addition, the topography is very similar. There are mountains and lots of nature in both places.

3 You were already a train driver, so why do you still have to do another apprenticeship with us?

Hmm, do you want me to explain everything? Well, the new training is necessary because I changed category from B60Z to B. In addition, RhB has a different system and different (implementation) laws. The training also helps me to get to know the railway, the lines and the topography. I started in October and will be finished by the end of June. But my training is shorter because I’m already a train driver and I’m actually just retraining.

4 Is it not a step backwards from “Top of Europe” to “Top of Graubünden”?

No, not at all! However, it is already very difficult to make comparisons because everything is different here at RhB. In addition, the Jungfrau Railways are private and RhB is not.

5 What is the biggest difference between Jungfrau Railways and RhB?

Behind closed doors we would say: “From a toy train to a real train.” This mainly relates to the size of RhB. RhB owns more vehicles, has more kilometres, is more complex and generally larger. Jungfrau Railways mainly manage the two lines “Interlaken-Grindelwald-Kleine Scheidegg-Jungfraujoch” and “Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen-Wengen-Kleine Scheidegg-Jungfraujoch.” That’s why I think the RhB network is more varied. Another difference is that I usually only transported tourists with Jungfrau Railways and fewer commuters.

6 What do Jungfrau Railways and RhB have in common?

The most striking thing they have in common is probably that both are a railway, have the same gauge, and they travel on rails. Otherwise, there are more differences than similarities.

7 Did you travel with us privately before you switched to RhB?

Yes, as a toddler, my parents and I used to go on holiday in Arosa from time to time. The son of my parents’ former neighbours is an RhB train driver. That’s how I collected some initial points of contact with RhB.

8 What were you looking forward to most at RhB?

I was actually looking forward to everything. To the entire network, the heavy vehicles, the longer train compositions...Simply to the larger dimensions in general.

9 What’s your favourite route?

That’s hard to say. I think they are all rather beautiful to be honest. I’ve gained so many new impressions so far and don’t have any preferences yet. However, the Albula Line is beautiful. I’m always impressed by the view!

10 What is the most special moment you have experienced with us so far?

I was given a very warm welcome and that made me very happy! And then, of course, when I was actually allowed to drive a train myself for the first time around four weeks ago. This, too, was an indescribable moment for me.

Partnership between Jungfrau Railways and Rhaetian Railway

The cooperation between Jungfrau Railways and RhB made it possible for five train drivers to switch from the Bernese Oberland to Graubünden. This cooperation has advantages for both sides. For Jungfrau Railways, because they did not have to take any strict measures regarding job cuts in the current situation, and for RhB, because there was a shortage of train drivers. A new training programme was created at RhB for the five new train drivers, as the transition also brought with it a change of training category. This year, in addition to the two regular training classes, there will be a third class with the former Jungfrau Railways train drivers.

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