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Tailored timetabling at SBB

1 August 2013  •  Author(s): Helga Labermeier, Scientific Specialist, Timetable Planning Department, SBB Infrastructure

The Swiss are world champions of rail travel. Every day, approximately 10,000 trains travel on Switzerland’s standard-gauge network which covers just over 3,665km. They take almost a million people to their destinations – safely and punctually – and transport 200,000 tonnes of freight. These impressive figures are unequalled anywhere else in the world. To cope with the constant rising demand on this heavily used network, SBB Infrastructure applies an ingenious timetable planning process.

At the core of the process is the ‘planning pentagon’ (see Figure 1). The demand forecast determines the product offering, which in turn forms the basis for the timetable. The latter defines the functional requirements to be met by infrastructure and stations as well as by the rolling stock. And finally, the financial arrangements determine the implementation timeframe.

In other words, construction only goes ahead insofar as it is needed to implement the new, to-the-minute timetable. The network is tailored to the timetable so that usage becomes more and more efficient.

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