SBB Bem 550

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SBB Bem 550 Russin.jpg
Bem 550 at Russin heading for Bellegarde
In service Rhône Express Regional
Manufacturer Ateliers de Construction Mécaniques de Vevey
Built at Vevey
Constructed 1994
Number built 5
Number in service 5
Fleet numbers 000-004
Capacity 79
Operator(s) Swiss Federal Railways
Line(s) served Geneva - Bellegarde
Doors 2 on each side
Maximum speed 100km/h
Weight 42.5t
Power output 300kW
Auxiliaries 88kW diesel
Electric system(s) 1.5kV DC
Current collection method Pantograph
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The Bem 550 is a standard gauge EMU operated by Swiss Federal Railways on the Geneva - Bellegarde line. It is equipped to run with French electric power (1500DC) and signaling systems. They were built in 1994, based on the Lausanne metro line 1 EMUs, by ACMV (Ateliers de Constructions Mécaniques de Vevey) in Villeneuve, with electrical equipment provided by ABB.


The Bem 550s (or Bem 4/6 as they were then known) were built to replace two aging and notoriously unreliable BDe 4/4 II railcars for the Geneva - la Plaine service, and introduced in 1995 under the Rhône Express Regional brand.

With increasing demand for both Geneva la Plaine and Geneva Bellegarde services, in 2001, the Bem550 were modified (at a cost of 12 million CHF) to allow them to run beyond la Plaine to Bellegarde.

  • Since 2014, Bellegarde-Geneve portion( SNCF Lyon-Genève railway line), is re electrified in 25 Kv AC 50 Hz. This vehicle may not running in electric mode on the modernised tracks, but only in diesel mode. Now, there are nothing railway line electrified in 1500 V DC in Switzerland.


Technical details[edit]

The Bem 550 consists of two carriages, each with three swing-out doors (two doors on one side, one door on the other). There is a driving position at each end, with a large windscreen and side windows. The driver sits on the right hand side in the direction of travel. The Bem 550 is equipped for one-handed operation, meaning that driver can drive and brake with one control. It draws traction current though a single-armed pantograph. It is also equipped with an 88 kW diesel engine to enable it to drive to maintenance and storage sheds under Swiss standard 15kV AC catenary. Prior to the UIC class name Bem550, they were called Bem 4/6.


  • Hans-Bernhard Schönborn (2004). Schweizer Triebfahrzeuge (in German). GeraMond. pp. 158/159. ISBN 3-7654-7176-3. 


  1. ^ MARIE-ANNICK DEPAGNEUX (7 September 2001). "Une desserte ferroviaire en tram-train mise en service entre Bellegarde et Genève". Les Echos. Retrieved 18 February 2012.