The Alps form a natural barrier in the middle of Europe. Starting in 1854, rails were successfully laid on boldly located rights of way through the mountainous regions. This made the exchange of goods and products easier. In Switzerland, every pass still fascinates people today such as the Gotthard or the Lötschberg with their tunnels and viaducts. Locomotives capable of operation in the mountains were always ready. Motive power had to be changed at the various national borders however due to different electrical current systems. Thanks to the triumph of multi-system locomotives, this has since become history. The Vectron belongs to units of this type, a masterful achievement by Siemens – as regards design as well as technology. BLS Cargo with headquarters established in 2001 in Bern, has bet successfully on this type of locomotive, rostered as the class 475. In a decorative paint scheme with memorable subjects from the Alps, they have become an automatic attention getter. This Bern railroad has taken delivery in two production runs of 40 units of this type to further its specialty of freight service by rail across the Alps. The last 25 of these locomotives are also being used as motive power for freight trains between Belgium and Italy. This applies for example to the "Ambrogio". It is therefore not at all out of the ordinary to see one of these mountaineers with a long, colorful train of combined freight loads along the Rhine. Yet, on the grades in the Alps they also show what they are made of. The impressive themes on the locomotive bodies, with mountain peaks deep in snow, and bold mountain climbers are not just decorative, but also a worthy expression of their performance.
Prototype: BLS Cargo class Re 475 (Vectron) electric locomotive. Includes pictorial theme of mountains and mountain climbers and the lettering "BLS Cargo. The Mountaineers in Europe.". Road number 475 417. The locomotive looks as it did starting in 2021.