IMechE Railway Technical Tour 2018

Bernina Express crosses the famous Brusio Circular Viaduct - © Murbach
The Duomo in Florence - © John Robson
Hitachi Plant, Pistoia
Hitachi Plant, Pistoia
Railway Technical Tour

Holiday Highlights

  • Florence’s Brunelleschi’s Dome
  • The ‘Museum of Railway Objects’ in Florence
  • In-depth tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Rhaetian Railway
  • Ride the Bernina and Albula railway lines
  • Explore Milan’s transport systems
  • Visit the WEGH factory and research facility
  • 8 Days from £870

Tour Dates:
Saturday 6 October to Saturday 13 October 2018

Ffestiniog Travel has arranged the annual Railway Technical Tour (RTT) on behalf of the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers which will visit Florence, Pistoia, Milan, Bergamo, the Bernina Pass, the Albula Tunnel and Landquart. Experienced engineers and new graduates are invited to join the tour by pressing the Book Now button.

The tour provides an opportunity to study the technologies and operations of railways outside the boundaries of the UK. Previous Technical Tours have visited Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Holland, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain and France. The main benefit of attending an RTT is professional development and acquisition of know how that may be of relevance to the UK railway industry.


Day 1 – Arrive Florence

The Technical Tour 2018 begins at lunch time in Florence. Afternoon visit to the modern tramway network, its workshops and the control centre (details to be confirmed). The group will then travel by rail to Montecatini Terme between Florence and Pistoia for a 2-night stay.

Day 2 – Explore Florence

Return to Florence to visit Brunelleschi’s Dome (an essential experience for any engineer). Spend time at the ‘Museum of Railway Objects’, established at former Leopolda Station in 1994 to house exhibits of significant historical interest that are no longer in use by the railways. The museum has both indoor and outdoor areas.

Day 3 – Pistoia

From the base in Montecatini Terme to Pistoia for a technical visit to the Hitachi works. Expect to see the production of trains being built for the Intercity Express programme in the UK, trains for Transpennine and other European operators. From Pistoia we take a (very) local train via Porreta Terme to Bologna and catch a quick glimpse of the new high-speed-rail platforms before continuing our journey on the high-speed line to Milan for a 3-night stay.

Day 4 – Explore Milan

Today is devoted to the public transport system of Milan, including metro, tram and suburban light rail. This will include a visit to the metro workshop and operations centre. The group will also get the opportunity to view an interurban tramway that has recently been converted to light rail standard. This conversion included the installation of a new track form by WEGH group.

Day 5 – Bergamo

A day-long excursion to Bergamo to visit a sleeper factory and the research offices of WEGH group, a major international supplier of concrete sleepers and other railway infrastructure components. This will be followed by a visit to the one-line Bergamo tramway system where WEGH has provided the track infrastructure.

Day 6 – Rhaetian Railway

A morning visit to the locomotive depot of Milano Fiorenza, located on the outskirts of Milan, then by train to Tirano in the Italian Valtellina valley to join two UNESCO World Heritage railways - the Rhätische Bahn’s Bernina railway and its Albula route, as far as Bergün. The former is 1000 V DC operated and travels over the top of the Bernina pass, while the latter is AC powered at 11 kV 16.7 Hz and uses one of the highest alpine railway tunnels, the Albula Tunnel. On a sunny day, this is an amazing experience. Overnight in Bergün on the north side of the Albula pass.

Day 7 – Explore the Rhätische Bahn

The Rhätische Bahn is currently building a second Albula tunnel in parallel with the original one of 1903 and we hope to visit one of the construction sites at Preda and the Albula Railway Museum in Bergün. We then travel to Chur on the World Heritage Albula route for an overnight stay.

Day 8 – To Landquart

Today we travel to the main workshops of Rhätische Bahn in Landquart to be shown a wide range of rolling stock of this metre-gauge railway network, both old and new. The Railway Technical Tour 2018 finishes in Zürich main station at about 14:00.

PLEASE NOTE: All participants are expected to provide and use protective footwear and a railway approved high-visibility jacket (orange).

Selected Hotels

Hotel Torreta, Montecatini Terme

Hotel Ibis Milano Central, Milan

Hotel Weisses Kreuz, Bergün

Hotel Freieck, Chur

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • All travel within the tour
  • Accommodation in hotels on a B&B basis
  • Excursions as stated
  • Options for travel from the UK to Florence by rail or air and return from Zürich to the UK will be costed by Ffestiniog Travel separately, on request.

Price per person

Tour (sharing accommodation in twin/double rooms): £870
Single room supplement: £200
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2018
The tour must be paid in full at the time of booking. Participants with less than five years of professional experience in the railway industry can claim a discount by contacting the IMechE which also provides a grant that covers 50% of the reduced cost. Further information on the James Bates grant is available from the Young Members Committee. The 2018 Railway Technical Tour is organised and led by Gianluca Bush, Bridget Eickhoff and Felix Schmid. For further details and any other information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or Felix Schmid (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.