Swiss Companies in the free market

Giger-Baumann <giger.baumann@...>

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 Rhine.
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 pantograph.
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%.
Markus Giger

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