Switzerland - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services

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This list is based on the timetable dated 15 December 2019 – 12 December 2020. Standard abbreviations used are explained in General Information document. Trains running only certain days of the week are shown using ISO 8601 weekday numbers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_week_date )

In the heading to each entry the map reference for the line in the Schweers+Wall Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz (2012 edition) is shown, in italic, in addition to the reference, prefixed by 'ERA' to M.G. Ball's European Railway Atlas (2016 edition).

Obscure services

Genève Lancy-Pont-Rouge — Stade de Genève

(ERA 70A3, 68D3) CH20/01

This extension of the Lancy-Pont-Rouge line, to a halt in La Praille marshalling yard, is used by special or extended trains for home football matches of Servette FC at the nearby stadium. Details of fixtures may be found at www.servettefc.ch.

Renens avoiding line: Denges Echandens (Les Léchires) — Bussigny

[150, 210] (ERA 70C5, 70C2-C3) CH20/02

This north to west curve connects the Neuchâtel and Genève lines and is used by hourly IC trains not booked to call intermediately between Yverdon and Morges.


[305, 291, 255] (ERA 67B2 not shown, 18C3) CH20/03

The Bern - Neuchâtel and Payerne - Lyss lines cross at Kerzers by means of a flat crossing, with platforms 1 and 3 on the Lyss line, and platforms 4 and 6 on the Neuchâtel line. A short curve from the Neuchâtel platforms towards Payerne is used by the hourly S5 stopping services between Bern and Murten/Morat, which reverse in platform 4 and use the curve between calls at Kerzers and Galmiz, as well as the Murten/Morat - Kerzers short services, operated by the same unit between Bern turns. The curve from the Lyss platforms towards Bern is done by a majority of the hourly S52 Bern to Kerzers services, which run into platform 3. The connection between the Lyss platforms and the Payerne line is done by the following services which are booked to use platform 3. N.B. Some of the trains below run every day but only use platform 3 on weekdays ((1)-(5)).

S9-24914 05:04 Kerzers – Lausanne
S9-24918 06:04 Kerzers – Lausanne
(1)-(5) S9-24976 18:04 Kerzers – Lausanne
(1)-(5) S9-24980 19:04 Kerzers – Lausanne
(1)-(5) S9-24984 20:04 Kerzers – Lausanne
(1)-(5) S9-24907 Murten/Morat - 05:51 Galmiz – Kerzers
S9-24959 Lausanne - 17:51 Galmiz – Kerzers
S9-24965 Lausanne - 18:51 Galmiz – Kerzers
S9-24969 Lausanne - 19:51 Galmiz – Kerzers
S9-24989 Lausanne - 23:51 Galmiz – Kerzers

Bern avoiding line: Zollikofen (Löchligut) — Ostermundigen (Wankdorf)

[304.1, 450] (ERA 67B1, 66C3) CH20/04

This north to east curve enables trains to run between the Olten and Interlaken lines without reversal.

(1)-(5) 15020 Wiler - 07:16 Zollikofen - Ostermundigen

Bern — Bern Stöckacker/Bern Europaplatz (Bern Weyermannshaus)

[250, 299, 302, 303, 305, 306] (66B3) CH20/05

There are two double-track routes between Bern and Bern Weyermannshaus where lines to Belp, Kerzers and Flamatt diverge.

The southern pair are SBB, on the surface throughout, and are mostly used by trains via Flamatt, running to and from the lower numbered platforms at Bern.

The northern pair are BLS, pass through the Donnerbühl Tunnel, and are mostly used by trains via Belp or Kerzers, or to Schwarzenburg, running to and from the high-numbered platforms (up to 13, but not 21-24 which are the RBS low level station) at Bern.

However, there are exceptions. In particular, S3 trains between Bern and Belp have been observed using platform 1 and crossing to the BLS tracks at Bern Weyermannshaus.

Wengi – Visp (Lötschberg Basistunnel)

[300] (ERA 71C5-C3, 77D1-78A4) CH20/06

The Lötschberg Base Tunnel is used by non-stop trains between Spiez and Visp. Overnight trains between Brig and Spiez may still use the old main line via Kandersteg if the rolling stock is not authorised for use through the tunnel.

Frutigen: Connection to Lötschberg Basistunnel

[300] (ERA 71C5 not shown, 77C1-C2) CH20/07

There is a single track connection between the north portal of the Lötschberg Base Tunnel and Frutigen station. This is used by trains calling at both Frutigen and Visp.

(1)-(6) IC1093 Bern – 23:17 Frutigen – Brig
IC807 Brig – 05:54 Visp – Romanshorn

Trains not stopping between Spiez and Visp may run via Frutigen station for operating convenience.

Hindelbank (Abzw Hardfeld) — Bern (Abzw Mattstetten Ost)

[450] (ERA 67C2, 20A2) CH20/08

This connection onto the Olten - Bern high speed line is used by trains calling at Burgdorf and running non-stop between there and Bern.

Solothurn — Rothrist (Abzw Wanzwil) (via Gishübel Tunnel)

[410] (ERA 67C3, 9D4-10B4) CH20/09

This branch off the Olten - Bern high speed line is used by trains non-stop between Olten and Solothurn.

Rothrist — Bern HB (Wylerfeld) (via Murgenthal and Grauholz tunnels)

[450] (ERA 68A3 - 67B2, 10C3-66C2) CH20/10

Zürich - Bern and Luzern - Bern trains not stopping intermediately between Rothrist and Bern use the new direct line, while stopping trains use the original route. Zürich - Solothurn trains (see CH18/08) and non-stop trains between Burgdorf and Bern (see CH18/07) use parts of the direct line.

Rothrist — Olten (via Born Tunnel)

[450] (ERA 68A3, 10C3-D2) CH20/11

This line opened in 1981, but now forms the northern part of the Olten - Bern high speed line. It is used by trains between Olten and Langenthal or Bern which do not stop at Aarburg-Oftringen, also by trains non-stop between Olten and Solothurn. Note, however, that IR trains terminating in Olten have been observed being routed via Aarburg-Oftringen instead of via this route.

Aarburg-Oftringen south curve: Rothrist (Aarburg West) — Zofingen (Aarburg Süd)

[510] (ERA 68A3, 10D3) CH20/12

This west to south curve links the lines from Bern and from Luzern to Olten. It is used by the hourly IR Service between Bern and Luzern via Zofingen. (Note that trains via this curve normally use the connection off the south side of the main line at Rothrist in both directions. Only the local services from Rothrist to Aarburg-Oftringen use the dive-under).

Muttenz — Liestal

[500] (ERA 67C4, 62C3-10B1) CH20/13

Fast trains between Basel and Liestal not booked to call intermediately use this line which passes through the Adler tunnel (5.3km).

Basel avoiding line: Basel Bad Bf (Gellert) — Muttenz

[500, 700] (86B2, ERA 67C4, 62B2-62C3) CH20/14

This north to east curve enables trains to run between the DB station at Basel Bad and the Olten/Zürich main line without reversal.

The curve has no booked passenger use but additional trains sometimes operate to Basel Bad Bf for exhibitions and trade fairs, details of which can be obtained from Messe Basel, Messeplatz, CH-4021 Basel; fax +41 61 686 21 94. A regular schedule is 07:56 Zürich HB - Basel Bad Bf.

Basel SBB — Muttenz (via Gbf Wolf)

[500] (ERA 67C4 not shown, 62B3-C3) CH20/15

An alternative to the normal main line east out of Basel, via high level lines through Basel Güterbahnhof and the overbridge approach to the west end of Basel Rangierbahnhof, thence by a spur to Muttenz station.

For pathing reasons, the S3 local service Laufen - Basel SBB (reverse) - Olten is booked to use this route to and from platforms on the south side of Basel SBB station.

Basel SBB — St Jakob

(ERA 67C4 not shown, 62B3) CH20/16

Special trains operate for FC Basel home matches to a platform adjacent to the St Jakob stadium, on the the route from Basel SBB to Muttenz via Gbf Wolf (CH20/14). Outward trains from platforms 1 to 5 use the new diveunder route beneath the station throat to Basel Gbf, but trains from other platforms follow the ground-level route.

For evening matches, there is normally just one outward train, at 18:45 from platform 4 at Basel SBB. Return trains - at 21:30 and 22:07 - generally follow route CH20/14. Routing and timing variations occur from game to game: timings and departure platforms are advertised by paper notices at each platform entrance, usually the day before a match.

Information on FC Basel matches can be found at www.fcb.ch.

Olten avoiding line: Tecknau — Dulliken

[500, 650] (ERA 68A3, 10D2) CH20/17

The hourly service of IR trains between Basel SBB and Zürich HB, calling at Sissach and Aarau, uses this north-to-east curve to avoid reversal at Olten.

Killwangen-Spreitenbach — Othmarsingen

[650] (ERA 68B4, 12A1-11B2) CH20/18

Fast trains between Zürich HB and Olten not booked to call at Baden or Brugg AG use this line which passes through the Heitersberg tunnels (4.9km) to the south of Baden. Trains with no scheduled stops between Zürich HB and Arth-Goldau may also run via this line and Wohlen.

Zürich HB - Zürich Altstetten (via Durchmesserlinie)

[650] (ERA 68C3, 64B3-C3) CH20/19

Trains via the low level platforms, 31 to 34, at Zurich HB are local services S2, S8, S14 and S19, plus most long-distance ones via Oerlikon and Altstetten. Westbound long-distance trains, but not local ones, also use the new flyover line to Zürich Altstetten. These are departures from Zürich HB hourly:

  • 06:10 to 21:10 IR to Basel SBB (calling at Zürich Altstetten)
  • 06:32 to 18:32 IC to Genève Aeroport
  • 07:02 to 23:02 IC to Brig or Bern
  • 19:32 to 21:30 IC to Genève Aeroport

Zürich HB - Thalwil

[720, 900] (ERA 68C3, 64C3-12C3) CH20/20

Fast trains between Zürich HB and Thalwil not booked to call intermediately use this line which passes through the new Zimmerberg-Basistunnel (9.4km). The extension towards Zug is not yet in use.

Zürich Giesshübel - Zürich Wiedikon

[712, 714] (64C4-64C3) CH20/21

Steam trains run on 7 days from Zürich Wiedikon to Sihlbrugg via a connection not normally used by passenger trains.

D 31931 12:00 Zürich Wiedikon - Sihlbrugg
D 31937 15:20 Zürich Wiedikon - Sihlbrugg
D 31930 Sihlbrugg - 11:39 Zürich Saalsporthalle - Zürich Wiedikon
D 31936 Sihlbrugg - 14:59 Zürich Saalsporthalle - Zürich Wiedikon

Kreuzlingen avoiding line: Kreuzlingen Hafen - Konstanz

[820, 830] (ERA 69B5, 6B2) CH20/22

This curve is used by an hourly RE service between Herisau and Konstanz.

Romanshorn avoiding line: Egnach (Romanshorn Stw. I) - Amriswil

[840, 845] (ERA 69B3, 6D3) CH20/23

This curve enables trains to use an alternative route between Rorschach and Winterthur without reversal at Romanshorn.

There is no booked service but this route is often used for diversions when the Buchs SG - Feldkirch line is closed for engineering works. This has occurred in late April and early May, and applied to the following trains:

EC162 Budapest keleti pu. - 15:48 Feldkirch - St.Margrethen (special stop) - Zurich HB
EN40462 Budapest keleti pu. - 06:40 Feldkirch - St.Margrethen (special stop) - Zürich HB (also ran via the Bregenz avoiding line in Austria)
EN40467 21:40 Zürich HB - Budapest keleti pu. (also ran via the Bregenz avoiding line in Austria)

The curve can also be done when VHMthB are running their "Uferdampffahrten" Romanshorn-Rorschach and return. The trains use bay platform 1 at Romanshorn and, to avoid propelling out of the station to run round and propelling in again, the train from Rorschach takes the avoiding line and then propells into Romanshorn station.

There are generally three round trips on operating days. Further details can be found on their website at http://www.mthb.ch/fahrten-veranstaltungen/oeffentliche-fahrten.html#veranstaltungsliste .

Sargans — Trübbach (via eastern loop)

[880, 900] (ERA 69B2, 25C2) CH19/23

Through trains between the Ziegelbrücke and Buchs SG lines (mainly EC trains between Zürich and Innsbruck) use this route to avoid reversal at Sargans. Other trains (principally between the Chur and Buchs SG lines) use the western loop.

Klosters (Sasslatsch Nord) — Susch (Sasslatsch II) (Rhätische Bahn)

[960] (ERA 73B3, 27A3-C4) CH19/24

This is the south-west curve out of the Vereina Tunnel, on which services commenced 28 May 2000. Note that the north point of the triangle, at Sasslatsch Nord, is inside the tunnel. It is used by a roughly two hourly service between St Moritz and Landquart. These trains are shown in the timetable as not stopping between Susch and Klosters Platz.

The line between Sasslatsch and Scuol-Tarasp is closed between 11 March and 7 September, principally to allow reconstruction of two tunnels. During this period all services between St Moritz and Landquart via Zernez are booked to use this curve.

Sursee — Triengen (Sursee-Triengen Bahn)

(ERA 68A2-A3, 11A4) CH19/25

This private railway has no regular passenger trains but special public services are provided on various dates, in conjunction with Dampfbahnverein Surental (DVS) www.dampfzug.ch, including the traditional fourth Sunday in September.

Gotthard Basistunnel: Altdorf (Rynächt) — Castione-Arbedo (Giustizia)

[600] (ERA 68C1-78A3, 23A4-48C3) CH19/26

The new tunnel is used by regular trains with no booked stop between Arth-Goldau or Fluelen and Biasca or Bellinzona. The level of traffic via the new tunnel is such that additional trains may use the old route, even if with no booked stops, but with a significantly longer journey time.

Biasca: Pollegio Nord Connection

[600] (ERA 73A3, 48C3) CH19/27

There is a 600m long connection at Pollegio, north of Biasca, between the Gotthard Basistunnel line and Biasca on the old Gotthard line. It is used by the following service which stops at Biasca.

IC691 Basel – 22:50 Arth Goldau – Chiasso

Capolago Lago — Capolago Riva San Vitale (Ferrovia Monte Generoso)

[636] (ERA 73A1, 59D4) CH19/28

This 250 metre extension northwards from the normal terminus, adjoining Capolago-Riva San Vitale FFS station, is used to connect with the seasonal calls of vessels of Società Navigazione del Lago di Lugano. Vessel calls and trains are subject to suspension during rough weather or in times of poor visibility.

D 15 11:20 Capolago Lago - Generoso Vetta
D 12 Generoso Vetta - 10:55 Capolago-Riva S. Vitale - Capolago Lago
D 20 Generoso Vetta - 15:25 Capolago-Riva S. Vitale - Capolago Lago


See Switzerland - Tram services over obscure routes

Other sparse services

The following lines have few trains (relative to service levels generally in this country) — fewer than five trains each way on at least three days a week.

221 Travers – Pontarlier (France)
- Le Locle – Morteau (France)
- Vallorbe – Frasne (France)

The following lines do not have service throughout the winter:

314 Wilderswil – Schynige Platte
473 Alpnachstadt – Pilatus Kulm
636 Capolago – Generoso Vetta
- Riffelalp (GGB) - Riffelalp Hotel (Riffelalp Tram)

Deletions since previous edition

Zürich Giesshübel - Zürich Wiedikon

[712, 714] (64C4-64C3) CH19/20A

The SZU line between Zürich HB and Zürich Selnau is closed for engineering work from 13 July until 1 September 2019. During this period some trains will terminate and start at Zürich Selnau, but others are to be diverted to Zürich Wiedikon, via a connection not normally used by passenger trains. The full timetable is expected to be available from 2 May.

See also