Switzerland - Older General Information

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Recent and Future Changes

In 2012 the federal government instituted a review (see Switzerland - Services Under Review) of many local train services, to see whether bus substitution would be more economic. This could have resulted in stopping services being withdrawn on some main lines, together with closure of secondary lines. By the end of 2018, no action towards closure had been taken on any of the listed lines or services. Accordingly, this review would appear to be largely dormant. This is probably as a result of its being far too wide-ranging with a threshold of lines that did not cover 50% of their costs, thus threatening closure of well-used local and tourist lines and services as well as sparsely-used lines.

Recent Changes

Following a 2019 review by Cantons Appenzell-Ausserrhoden and St. Gallen, rack line 858 from Rheineck to Walzenhausen was proposed for conversion either to automatic operation or to a cable car. In late 2022 it was decided keep the line as a rack railway and to order an automatic vehicle to operate it.

Rack-operated line 857 Rorschach Hafen - Heiden was also reviewed in 2019, and this line will be retained in its current form.

The SNCF line from Delle to Belfort (closed to passengers in September 1992) reopened on 9 December 2018 thus restoring this connection between the Swiss and French networks.

A new Rosshäusen Tunnel, between Bern and Kerzers, opened to traffic on 3 September 2018, replacing the old tunnel which was on a more circuitous route.

transN's metre gauge service between Le Locle and Les Brenets resumed operation on 16 April 2018 after new (BAV approved) wheelsets were fitted to one of its electric railcars, but the line is to close in December 2023 for conversion to a busway.

The Mendrisio - Stabio - Arcisio [IT] – Varese cross-border line opened to Stabio on 14 December 2014 and through to Varese on 7 January 2018. It was originally scheduled for completion in 2013, but construction of the new line between Stabio and Arcisio was heavily delayed.

Basel tram line 3 was extended on 31 July 2017 from Burgfelden Grenze to Burgfelderhof on the French border, and the former renamed Waldighoferstrasse. It was extended further from Burgfelderhof to Gare Saint Louis from 10 December 2017.

The Solothurn - Moutier line was threatened with closure owing to the condition of Weissenstein tunnel, but in 2017 the Federal Office for Transport announced that the tunnel was to be renovated, starting in 2020.

The line from Sissach to Olten via Läufelfingen was proposed for closure, but this was rejected in a local referendum in November 2017.

The full service through the Gotthard base tunnel commenced on 11 December 2016. A period of trial running had followed the official opening ceremony on 2 June 2016. However, the full benefit was not achieved until the Ceneri Base Tunnel (Bellinzona – Lugano) started operation in December 2020, as gradients of up to 2.6% on the existing line limited its capacity.

The first stage of linking the Appenzeller and Trogener Bahn lines in St Gallen, with a new station but two parallel dead-end platforms, one for each service with a short extension of the S21 service from Trogen, opened on 10 December 2016.

The 700m long Buechiwald tunnel, between Zweilütschinen and Lütschental on the BOB Grindelwald branch, which replaced a sharply curved section, opened on 21 November 2015.

The standard/metre gauge line between Wohlen and Bremgarten West was converted to metre gauge only in 2015.

Basel Tram Line 8 was extended from Kleinhünigen to Weil-am-Rhein in Germany on 14 December 2014.

The Ferrovia Mesolcinese / Misoxerbahn (Castione to Cama), which the local authorities wanted closed, last operated in spring 2014. The preservation group moved their base to Grono with the aspiration of running over a short section but have since given up all rights to operate over the line, which has now been completely lifted.

A new 2km section of line, just south of the old alignment, opened on 25 September 2014 between Geschinen and Ulrichen on the MGB Brig – Andermatt line allowed the elimination of 4 level crossings.

The new Zürich HB underground station (Löwenstrasse, platforms 31 - 34), and the line from here to Oerlikon, opened on 15 June 2014. As a consequence of this the temporary four platform terminal Sihlpost station closed and the limited passenger service over the Zürich Alstetten to Zürich Wiedikon line (CH14/20) ran for the last time on 13 June 2014.

New flyover at Huerlistein near Effretikon, carrying trains from Dietlikon over the Basserdorf – Effretikon line, opened on 30 November 2013.

The Bubikon - Wolfhausen freight only branch saw occasional excursions run by DVZO, who run regular services over the nearby Bauma to Hinwil line. Such trains ceased in October 2013 when the line closed.

A short extension of the ASm operated metre gauge system, from Niederbipp to Oensingen, opened in December 2012.

Berne tramway line 9 was extended to Bern Wankdorf station in 2012.

The dual-tracking of the Zentralbahn section closest to Luzern was completed in November 2012. This includes a 1,5 km tunnel and a sub-surface station at the sport and exhibition centre. One of the tracks has dual gauge for standard gauge freight to Horw . However the remains of KLB at Kupferhammer has lost its connection.

A 3.3km section of double track opened between St Gallen and St Gallen St Fiden on 27 August 2011. On the same day a new flyover opened at St Gallen St Fiden giving access to the Romanshorn line.

On 21 April 2011 SBB opened a new section of line through Boniswil on the Lenzburg – Beinwil am See route, avoiding 22 level crossings.

The Geneva Tramway from Cornavin station to Avanchet opened on 8 December 2007, and was extended to Meyrin-Gravière 13 December 2009. A short section from Cornavin to Coutanche was opened 12 December 2010. The final section to the north-west between Jardin-Alpin and CERN opened on 30 April 2011.

The third track Lenzburg – Gexi Jct (the line towards Wohlen was officially opened 27 November 2010.

The last train Aarau - Suhr, using the on-street section ran the night 19/20 November 2010. The new alignment, using the old SBB trackbed was inaugurated 21 November.

The Zentralbahn Engelberg tunnel (Mettlen - Engelberg) opened formally 11 December 2010, with normal traffic the following day. The old, steeper, rack line was closed 7 December.

The Meiringen - Innertkirchen Bahn was extended into the Zentralbahn station (track 3, a part of which can be energised with either ZB 15kV AC or MIB 1200 V DC) in Meiringen from 6 December 2010.

The construction of the “Western” tramway in Berne, from the Kaufmännlicher Verband stop on the existing network to Bümpliz and Brünnen station was completed in September 2010, and operation started 12 December 2010.

The third and final section of the Glattal tramway Auzelg – Stettbach station opened 11 December 2010.

See also