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SBB Infrastructure - Articles and news items

Tailored timetabling at SBB

Issue 4 2013 / 1 August 2013 /

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.

Construction projects on track – in cities, through the Alps and across borders

Issue 4 2012 / 1 August 2012 /

Throughout 2012, SBB Infrastructure is undertaking a number of construction projects across Switzerland: in the two largest Swiss cities, Zurich and Geneva, in the St. Gallen and Schaffhausen conurbations, in the canton of Ticino, in the Alps, and even beyond Switzerland’s borders. This article presents an overview of the major ongoing construction projects, describing the progress achieved so far and what work still lies ahead.

The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) network is the world’s busiest rail network, carrying approxi – mately 9,800 trains every day to all parts of Switzerland and, not surprisingly, the network is edging ever closer to its capacity limits. Zurich’s main station – serving almost 400,000 passengers a day, and thus by far the busiest station in Switzerland – is already a major bottleneck, while capacity expansion in other parts of Switzerland is also urgently needed. SBB Infrastructure is responsible for operating, maintaining, expanding and renewing SBB’s rail network. With the exception of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, SBB Infrastructure is in charge of all major railway upgrades in Switzerland. Projects demanding a wide range of construction techniques are underway all across Switzerland, and some even extend into neighbouring countries. The largest, most important and most spectacular of SBB Infrastructure’s current expansion projects1 include the following:

Construction of cross-city link helps relieve capacity limits

Issue 4 2010 / 4 August 2010 /

Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Zurich main station, or Zurich HB) is the central hub for rail traffic in Switzerland. Trains pull in and out of the station virtually every minute, and over 300,000 passengers depart, arrive or change trains here daily. Commuter traffic is forecast to grow in the coming years, and over half a million passengers and passers-by are expected to be using the station every day – exceeding its current capacity limits.

Together with other infrastructure expansion projects, the new 9.6km cross-city link will soon ease the bottleneck, enabling new service patterns to be implemented for suburban (S-Bahn) rail traffic from the end of 2013 and for long-distance services as of 2015. The improved services and new connections will be of particular benefit to users of Zurich’s local S-Bahn network and to rail passengers travelling on the Geneva–Berne–Zurich Airport–St. Gallen route.

Taking the ‘action not reaction’ future approach

Issue 4 2010 / 4 August 2010 /

Most of the SBB rail network is in good condition. That was the conclusion of an external survey commissioned by SBB and published in February 2010. Future maintenance and renewal of the rail infrastructure will cost significantly more than was previously assumed. SBB Infrastructure has embarked on a comprehensive action plan designed to meet the increased requirements. Philippe Gauderon, Head of SBB Infrastructure and Member of the SBB Management Board, summarised the task ahead as follows: “In future, ‘action not reaction’ will be our motto.”

Swiss ETCS implementation

Issue 4 2006, Past issues / 28 July 2006 /

ETCS has now become fully operational on one of Switzerland’s main lines. Since July 2006, ETCS Level 2 has been activated during the evenings to ensure the safe operation of revenue-earning services on the newly built Mattstetten–Rothrist route. At present, therefore, approximately 20 trains a day are being controlled by ETCS.