Report at the general assembly and the autumn event 2023

On the road with SBB

By Major Werner Reiser


As decided at the last general meeting on March 17, 2023, the autumn event took place in Olten.

After arriving at 10.00 a.m. at Olten station, the 19 participants were served coffee and croissants in the station buffet. The time was already used for a lively exchange and after a short speech by President Adrian Zurmühle, we set off on foot at 10.30 a.m. to the nearby SBB operations center.

There we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Sanz, Head of Security Office / Specialist SZL of SBB. After a brief introduction to SBB’s operational organization with the various operations centers throughout Switzerland, the time was already used for very knowledgeable questions. We were then divided into two groups.

One group was able to visit the operations center with the various monitoring systems, which were divided into different operational groups. The emergency power generators in the basement, which ensure safe operation of the SBB lines in the event of a blackout or shorter power failures, were impressive.

The second group was instructed in the problems of line safety and signaling. Here, everyone became more than aware of the high complexity of the entire SBB route network. What happens if a train breaks down, how trains are rerouted, how connections are planned, how passengers are informed at stations and on the train. The time passed too quickly…

We said goodbye to Mr. Sanz with many new impressions and a certain amazement about the most complex railroad system in the world. Each of us will remember this day the next time we travel by train or post bus and appreciate the complexity and flexibility of SBB.

At 12.15 pm, a minibus and two cabs were waiting for us. We were guaranteed an interesting ride through Olten up to the Säli- Schlössli restaurant. Once we arrived, we were able to enjoy the beautiful view over the entire Mittelland region in perfect weather. A wonderful view in a very special place.

President Adrian Zurmühle officially welcomed all participants and encouraged all former UN military observers to take a photo with one of the UN headgear they had brought with them, which they had also worn in the field. Although they were all a bit outdated, they all still managed to wear the familiar headgear very well and some nice photos were taken.

After the aperitif, we were able to enjoy a delicious meal in the beautiful outdoor area of the restaurant and chat about old days in the field or other meetings. Again, time passed quickly and we set off on foot for Olten at 2.45 pm. The pace of the individual participants was quite different, so that individual groups formed on the walk.

Satisfied and with many new impressions, we got back on the train in Olten and started our journey home.