Page last updated 13th September 2017
This page will be used for short news items relevant to Switzerland sent by members.
The newest item will be at the bottom of the page and most items will also be on the Society’s Facebook page.
Copyright © 2017 Swiss Railways Society
January 14th 2016:
Michael Donovan has sent us the following two items:
Five short listed for Merseyrail EMU fleet.
Merseytravel announced on January 11 that five bidders had been shortlisted to supply the new Merseyrail EMU fleet. Tender documentation is due to be released on January 22, with bids due back by April 30. According to the OJEU notice published on October 2 2015 (RBI496 p6), Merseytravel expects that around 50 trainsets with a nominal length of 60 m will be needed, although bidders will be asked to propose the configuration and exact number of trainsets. The preferred bidder is expected to be chosen towards the end of 2016, says Merseytravel, when the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority ‘will be asked to commit to the project going ahead’. The new fleet is due to enter service ‘by the early 2020s’. Overall cost is estimated at around £400m, including upgrading the traction power supply and enhancements to depots and stations.
Merseytravel said the project would be financed with ‘a variety of funding mechanisms’, including a reserve which has already been established. There would be no additional costs to local taxpayers, with the investment to be recovered over the operational life of the EMUs by leasing them to the operating concessionaire.
‘All of our five candidates have extensive experience of providing trains, maintenance services and depots’, said Merseytravel Chair Councillor Liam Robinson. ‘As part of the process we’ll be interested in how the bidders may be able to tap into the local labour market and make the most of UK-
SBB/CFF in favour of second Gotthard road tunnel
Basler Zeitung, 03 Jan 2016. The Swiss national rail network provider SBB/CFF has unexpectedly expressed its support for a second road tunnel to be built in Gotthard, Switzerland. It will support the project as long as the current capacity limitations are kept in place on both a national and international level. Swiss citizens will have the opportunity to vote in favour or against the second tunnel on 28 February 2016.
Malcolm Bulpitt has just learnt that SBB will be withdrawing all the Minibars from their services by the end 2017. There is much uproar in the Swiss media, but economically they are apparently a basket case even with the high prices they now charge. Even the Swiss are not prepared to pay over the odds when takeaway coffee, etc. is now available on most stations at a much lower unit price.
The final breakthrough of the western bore of Switzerland's 15.4km Ceneri base tunnel was achieved at noon on January 21, with a deviation of only 2cm horizontally and 1cm vertically. http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/final-
Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has announced it will invest SFr 37m in its workshops at Olten over the next two years to adapt the facility for the maintenance of SBB's growing fleet of multiple units. http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/sbb-
Swiss PostMail recently unveiled its newly-
10th March :
SBB are to pilot ticketless travel. http://www.thelocal.ch/20160307/swiss-
On Friday, 8 April 2016, at Swiss Federal Railways headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, UNIFE, the European Rail Industry Association, represented by UNIFE Director-
The objective of this MoU is to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between the signatories on quality standards in the rail sector. This cooperation is expected to focus on increasing the exchange of knowledge and experience in a bilateral context on a number of relevant topics such as quality methods, operational and integration maturity levels, and risk transparency, among others specified in the MoU.
Andreas Perren informs us that the transN-
The first BLS Vectron has been completed. It can be seen here:http://www.railcolor.net/index.php?nav=1405330&id=8802&action=dview
From The Railway Gazette:
Appenzeller Bahnen announced a SFr36m order for four Stadler Rail electric multiple-
Meanwhile, a ceremony on April 4 officially launched construction of the St Gallen – Riethüsli diversion including the 705 m Ruckhalde tunnel which will replace a steeply-
Current plans will see Lausanne (not the station area) to Villeneuve switch to ETCS on 23.04.2017 ( SBB Infrastructure -
For Stamp Collectors interested in the Gotthard. https://www.post.ch/en/private/discover-
Thanks to Boyd Misstear for the above items.
Still on the subject of postage stamps -
Some more Swiss postage stamps featuring railway stations have been announced:
2017: Appenzell, Interlaken Ost, Scuol, Zug, Zürich
2018: Alp Grüm, Bern, Fleurier, Huttwil, Zweisimmen
The 1.50 CHF will be the most familiar to members as that is the present cost of a “Priority” stamp to the UK.
In conjunction with the award of the Anglia Franchise to Abellio they have announced massive new rolling stock orders which include dual power Stadler FLIRT units. The order is for 383 Flirt electro-
Neil Wheelwright has found the following about the Swiss Post testing robotic delivery:
25th October -
The 2017 Swiss timetable is now available on-
The complete Swiss Kursbuch is available as PDFs in a ZIP file and can now be downloaded without login:
The file is updated daily with recent information.
Don Newing reports that the first of the RhB Albula line driving trailers have been delivered.
The RhB diagrams for December 2016 to March 2017 are now available:
These show that the new fixed rake coaches will be hauled by Allegra units and not conventional locos as had been expected.
Michael Donovan reports that with just weeks to go before the start of full commercial operations, Switzerland’s Federal Transport Office (BAV) has approved the use of Bombardier Traxx locomotives in the Gotthard Base Tunnel following the installation of an ETCS software update. http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/freight/bombardier-
Stadler are to supply the new fleet of trains for Merseyrail. http://www.globalrailnews.com/2016/12/19/merseyrail-
We have learnt that as well as rebuilding Nätschen station the MGB is planning a new covered station at Andermatt, this would involve the demolition of the present workshops. Details are here: http://blog.andermatt-
17th February 2017:
From 13th February the majority of Crossrail trains will be operated by SBB Cargo (International) who will also operate some of the motive power on lease. A sale of the 4 Re 4/4 III to Widmer is still possible if a price can be agreed. Depots in Brig and Muttenz will close and drivers will be hired to SBB-
BLS has agreed to sell a 45% stake in its freight subsidiary BLS Cargo to SNCF Logistics, the French national railway’s freight business. The deal announced on February 16 is subject to regulatory approval. BLS would remain the majority shareholder with a 52% stake, and Ambrogio Group would retain its 3% holding. The corporate structure, Bern headquarters and existing management would remain unchanged, as would arrangements for the use of drivers, locomotives and workshops.
3rd March 2017:
Alan Snowdon has found the following film on Youtube of the BLS Lötschberg route dating from it’s opening in 1913.
9th May 2017:
This could only happen in Switzerland -
12th May 2017:
The Glacier Express is introducing short sections: Travellers can now book parts of the route at a reduced surcharge and spend a wonderful couple of hours enjoying scenic highlights along the way. https://www.glacierexpress.ch/en/offers/short-
The Swiss Post Office has released a 1 CHF stamp to commemorate the centenary of the Brienz Rothorn Bahn.
27th May 2017:
Don Newing reports from Railway Gazzette that the first of the 250 km/h low-
RhB Historic now has a new website, http://www.historic-
Detailed Information about the RhB, rolling stock, paint colours etc can be found at: http://www.rhb-
http://www.sporenplan.nl/ is a Dutch website with track plans of the majority of Swiss stations, locate the page with map of Europe on it and click on Switzerland,
http://www.egtre.info/wiki/Switzerland has information on Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services.
Swiss PostBus have purchased 19 double-
12th July 2017:
The following articles concern bids to the Federal Ministry of Transport for future operating concessions in Switzerland.
BLS v SBB – An operating ‘Civil War’?
The opportunity given by the Federal Ministry of Transport to enter competing bids for future operating concessions (these require to be submitted in September 2017) has opened up a rivalry between the two main service providers. SBB is adamant that there is no room for competitors on its main routes. It has published analyses of profitability to show how tightly its operations are integrated in order to ensure productivity and cost control. However BLS, which once ran a considerable intercity passenger service of its own, has published a map of its new intentions. Since these extend from Romanshorn to Lausanne, as well as from La Chaux-
BLS 3 – Revised Operating Network
It is understood that with the advent of its fleet of new rolling stock the BLS is investigating the potential for a major revision of its current RegioExpress network of services. The current plan is to link currently separate services, all to operate at a 30-
SBB has announced that should its application to renew its concession be successful it will be willing to pass the operation of several InterRegional (IR) services to the Sudostbahn (SOB). It is reported that these are: Bern-
From the Swiss Rail Forum:
Stadler announced that they have limited their contract for the Altnerhein factory to 2020 and hope to open by then a new plant in St. Margrethen. This plan depends on decisions of the municipality and possibly the canton to allow the building. If it can be realised, only 50 of the now 950 workers would remain in Altenrhein.
23rd July 2017:
David Stevenson reports the following that “NIMBYS” don’t only exist in the UK:
Boats belonging to the Lake Zurich Navigation Company (ZSG) will no longer be able to sound their horn on arrival and departure from the quay after a local resident complained at the noise. The company last week abandoned what it called a 50-
30th July 2017:
The second series of Swiss postage stamps showing Railway stations has been announced these are:
1.10 ChF Appenzell (Inland Economy 101-
1.30 ChF Zug (Inland Priority 101-
1.40 ChF Interlaken Ost (Europe Economy)
1.80 ChF Scuol-
10th August 2017:
Neil Wheelwright has found the following:
The longest suspension bridge in the world was inaugurated on July 29th in Randa, Hikers can now cross the Europaweg (Europe Bridge) which connects Grächen and Zermatt and measures nearly 500m. Zermatt Tourist Board says it is the longest in the world, hanging at a heady 85m above the Grabengufer ravine. The Europaweg replaces another bridge which was closed in 2010 after it was damaged by falling rocks. http://www.euronews.com/2017/07/31/worlds-
For a drones eye view: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/a-
24th August 2017 -
Following the collapse of the new tunnel being constructed under the main line between Rastatt and Baden-
Bryan Stone has added a lot of information concerning the implications of the line closure on the freight network here.
Nick Potter reports that BLS has bid to take over the Simplon car shuttle service from SBB in December. SBB has announced that it does not intend to renew it’s concession: http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-
Swiss Rail Forum reports on concerns about the structural integrity of the Stadler built KISS units following an accident in Linz, Austria. A new Westbahn unit, 4 car 4110 010, was in collision with a Cargoserv ore train hauled by Vectron 193 267.The leading car was destroyed by the impact and the driver seriously injured. The Linz Police stated they believe the cause to be the Westbahn train passing a signal at danger. The Westbahn unit was on a test run. The maximum permitted speed in the area is reportedly 40 km/h. Details (in German) and photos are here:
26th August 2017:
Bill Slater has found a link on the German Drehscheibe web forum that changes are to be made to the GEX offering next year.
On Wednesday 23 Aug MGB and RhB announced that they had set up a subsidiary company Glacier Express AG with a 50% share each. HQ will be Andermatt. The object of the exercise is to refresh the entire product to arrest falling passenger numbers, (260,000 in 2008 down to 188,000 in 2015) and improve financial performance.
There will be timetable changes. There will only be two return journeys over the whole line in summer. One extra train pair will run St Moritz -
Reasons for above timetable changes given as:
Other changes include the introduction of an Excellence Class. Two cars will be revamped as this new class. They will also rebuild the Panoramabar, revamp first class to provide a stronger differentiation to second class as well as a refresh of second class.
Finally they are going to experiment with a photo stop at Nätschen. This station is currently being rebuilt with extra platform faces and an underpass to improve access to the skiing areas.
Here is a link to the RhB background document that contains a schematic of the new timetable and some artists impressions of the revamped cars. The Excellence Class cars will apparently have only 20 seats so presumably 1 + 1.
13th September 2017:
From the Swiss Rail forum:
BLS has announced that they will apply for a long-
RE Bern -
RE Bern -
RE Bern -
They want to offer ticket sale on the trains, WLAN and catering wih a start date of December 2019.
SBB has applied for the same lines so the Federal Office of Transport has to decide.
BLS operated long distance trains in cooperation with SBB until 2004. These were Thun -
RE Bern -
Apart from BLS also SOB is interested in operating long distance lines but they aren’t applying for their own concession as they have an agreement with SBB to operate trains over the old Gotthard line and some others.