From our member John Fleck I got this message:
I'm sending this to you to show how differently our Canadian Government
treats our passenger train service compared to your wonderful SBB!!
If you would like to publish this to the SwissRail Members, please feel
free to do so!
A billion for AMTRAK, how much for VIA Rail?: Transport 2000 asks
TORONTO, March 20 /CNW/ - TRANSPORT 2000 CANADA is calling on Industry
Minister John Manley and Transport Minister David Collenette to reconcile
the federal government's loans totalling a billion dollars to AMTRAK, the US
passenger railway, with its treatment of VIA Rail which is not allowed to
borrow money to upgrade its outdated trains, tracks and signal system.
In a letter to the two Ministers Transport 2000 President Harry Gow
notes: "The billion dollars sent south of the border could have been loaned
to VIA Rail to purchase new rolling stock, renovate track and crossings,
eliminate all dark areas, and to collaborate with CP and CN to upgrade all
facilities used by VIA across the country."
"Please advise at the earliest opportunity as to your plans to reinvest
in VIA Rail Canada," Gow asks.
This gives me the opportunity to explain in a few words, how the Swiss rail system is financed:
Almost all investments in rail infrastructure (physical plant) are financed by the Confederation and the Cantons with loans without interest. (Cantons do not have to contribute to main lines.) Trains using the infrastructure (even the own trains of a company) pay a predetermined price depending on distance, load an earnings. This price covers about one third of infrastructure costs. The rest again comes from Confederation and Cantons as subsidy. This subsidy is fixed in adavance.
In the same way, Confederation and Cantons subsidize Regional trains (including RX = RegioExpress) for their planned non-covered costs.
No direct subsidies are paid for long-distance trains (IC = InterCity, IR = InterRegio, EC = EuroCity etc.) of SBB and BLS. Of course these companies are free to borrow money for rolling stock investments.
There is no subsidy for freight trains with two exceptions:
- narrow gauge freight is subsidized
- combined traffic can get subsidies (TOFC, Container, accompanied piggyback)
All these subsidies total about 3 billion CHF annually.