On January 1st, 1999 open access to the Swiss rail
network was introduced. For the German network this was done even
earlier. But until now, a Swiss company can not go to Germany and a German
company can not come to Switzerland. Except...
Mittelthurgaubahn (MThB) founded a German firm called
"Mittelthurgaubahn Deutschland GmbH" and thus became a German
railway company. No problem now to run on either side of the
BLS Lötschbergbahn signed an agreement with DB and
did not feel it was necessary to do it alike. Not much of this cooperation
with DB is visible until now. But within Switzerland, BLS competes with SBB
on the freight market. It was said, that form mid-february BLS would run its
own freight trains on the Gotthard line.
On the other hand, BLS also cooperates with SBB for
Post-transports and for a new piggy-back-relation Freiburg i.Br. (D)
- Lötschberg - Novara (I). And in the passenger sector, the old
type of cooperation continues. This means, a BLS passenger train in Basel is
- in legal terms - an SBB train.
SBB itself found its way to Germany. As SBB can not
go there on its own, a cooperation with BASF started. Now engineers from SBB
drive the new BASF Electrics (145 CL 001 and 002) from Basel to
Ludwigshafen. SBB said, they wanted to fit some of their own locomotives to
run over German rails, fitting Indusi, LZB, radio and an adapted
Looking south, SBB just signed a joint-venture agreement
with FS to build up Cargo Svizzera - Italiana (CSI), an Italian firm. If you
change two letters you get CIS, the initials (reporting marks) for Cisalpino
(owner of 9 Pendolino ETR 470 tilting trains), a Swiss firm on which FS
holds 50% and SBB together with BLS and some cantons 50%.
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