SBB's future


Bob Tomasko
 

In a message dated 11/26/00 6:49:48 AM, Markus Giger writes:

Combination ÖBB + SBB could be a little bit easier, but only little. Do
not think Swiss and Austrian cultures were more similar than Swiss and
Italian.
In fact...

I was thinking more of railroad operational cultures, not national cultures.
The FS (as I have observed it) does not seem to value clean trains and
stations, well designed stations, economical operations, successful
implementation of state-of-the-art RR technology, and adherence to the
timetable to the extent these values are ingrained into the OBB and SBB (and
the SNCF).

At present OBB and SBB might be rivals for north-south traffic. If combined,
they could control a good share of it with 3 alternative paths south.

Giger makes an excellent point about expecting infrastructure companies to
maximize shareholder return (they shouldn't). Still control is often the
essence of a RR's ability to deliver on-time service. Reduced control over
track maintenance and dispatching can lead to diminished service (that has
been the US experience with Amtrak as well as in the UK). But I think if any
country is able to pull this kind of seperation off well, it will be
Switzerland.

Creating seperate freight companies can make sense to increase European RR's
share of the long haul goods market that now goes to trucks. These seem to
lead to cross-border mergers (NS + DB in cargo). Does the SBB freight
company plan to remain independent or to join with others?

Bob Tomasko
Washington DC

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