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Swiss parliament agrees more long-term rail projects

Swiss parliament agrees more long-term rail projects

SWITZERLAND: Parliament has approved a number of key changes to the national railway long-term investment programmes known as Ausbauschritte 2025 and 2035. The changes add around SFr3bn to the cost, taking the total to SFr23bn.

The original AS2025 programme agreed in 2013 was costed at SFr6∙4bn while AS2035 was priced in 2019 at SFr12∙9bn. Reassessment led last year to the Federal Council proposing a number of changes which have now been accepted by both lower and upper houses with further additions to the programme.

The main projects are:

  • full double-tracking of the Lötschberg base tunnel;
  • a tunnel from Morges to Perroy, near Rolles on the Lausanne – Genève main line, instead of a surface route;
  • additional expenditure on the Brüttener tunnel between Winterthur and Dietikon, on the Zimmerberg tunnel and on the related upgrade of Stadelhofen station;
  • expansion of station facilities at Olten;
  • further federal funding for construction of the underground station in Genève;
  • project design for the 21∙8 km Grimseltunnel between Innertkirchen and Oberwald which will have bores for a single 1 000 mm gauge track and a 380 kV cable.

To these have been added:

  • further planning for separation of traffic flows at Pratteln;
  • expansion of the station at Ebikon and construction of a new station at Basel-Morgartenring;
  • preliminary studies for a bypass at Bussigny and for work on the Glovelier – Délémont route;
  • preliminary planning for double-tracking at Tiefenwinkel on the Ziegelbrücke – Sargans line;
  • advance works relating to the Zimmerberg tunnel at Meilibach near Horgen;
  • measures to reduce the negative effects of the planned 2025 timetable in western Switzerland.

Parliament has also approved the Perspektive Bahn 2050 long-term railway development strategy, which is intended to prioritise routes in and between cities with improvements to short and medium distance travel, including more S-Bahn services and improvements to suburban stations.

The strategy also envisages enhancements to make rail more competitive with road and air on long-distance routes.

  • On March 7 the Federal Office for Transport announced its definitive approval for unrestricted use of the Twindexx fleet of double-deck EMUs intended for inter-city and regional services.