RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The event, held at the feet of the statue, commemorated the delivery of the latest Swiss-made trains, which will ferry passengers to the world-renowned monument on top of Corcovado mountain.
Swiss company Stadler Rail is the last remaining company still capable of producing trains compatible with the Corcovado tracks. The rails are of Swiss design and predate the statue. The train was used to ferry supplies during the religious icon’s construction.
The Swiss first became involved in the Corcovado Train in the 1970s, when they were asked to modernize and make safety improvements. They are considered experts on constructing trains meant to work in mountainous areas.
Urs Wieser of Stadler Rail said that rack rail trains are very uncommon and that they only get an order every 40-50 years.”From the technical side, it is not easy to climb up mountains,” Wieser said. “It’s a very special, typically Swiss business requiring good quality.”
The Swiss have a long history in Brazil, going back 200 years when a group of 100 Swiss settlers established the town of Nova Friburgo in Rio de Janeiro. Until today it is common to see Swiss “Alpine Style” architecture in the city.
In recent years Brazil and Switzerland have worked on several projects together, including the management of four airports by Swiss company Zurich Airport. The concessions in Florianópolis, Macaé, Belo Horizonte, and Vitória represent a significant proportion of the country’s airports. Zurich Airport will take part in bidding on the Viracopos Airport in São Paulo.
Leonardo Machado, Deputy CEO of Swissnex Brazil, told the Rio Times Monday that there is significant intellectual cooperation between the two countries. “There are several extremely relevant ongoing projects involving Swiss and Brazilian researchers, startups, and labs.”
Swiss Ambassador Andrea Semadeni said that, contrary to a popular belief that the two cultures are very different, the two peoples work exceptionally well together. “We’ve had a relationship for 200 years, over which we have grown close and celebrate a strong friendship,” he said.