Hi from Geneva
Grï¿½tzi the list,
My name is Ari and I'm a student from the city of Geneva. I used to
have some trains and I'm always in admiration in front the St-Gothard
model in the Luzern transport museumï¿½
The Swiss railway network is one of the most extensive in Europe,
with around 5,000km, (3,100mi) of track (almost all electrified),
1,800 stations and 650 tunnels. It includes 2,000km (1,242mi) of
private lines operated by some 100 private companies, although they
aren't strictly private as many are run by canton governments. The
Swiss federal railways are usually referred to by their initials,
which vary according to the local language: SBB (Schweizerische
Bundesbahnen) in German, henceforth used to refer to the Swiss
federal. railways, CFF (Chemins de Fer Fï¿½dï¿½raux) in French and FFS
(Ferrovie Federali Svizzere) in Italian. The SBB celebrated its 150th
anniversary in 1997 and became a private company in 1999. It's
renowned for its punctuality (although building or maintenance work
and bad weather occasionally delay trains), comfort and speed, the
only disadvantage being that the speed of some trains doesn't allow
admire Switzerland's beauty (if you're sightseeing, catch a slow
Despite frequent fare increases in recent years to try to reduce
SBB's deficit, Swiss
trains remain relatively inexpensive if you take advantage of special
tickets, excursion fares, family reductions and holiday package
deals. Over long distances trains are cheaper than buses. The Swiss
are Europe's most frequent train travellers and average
around 1,600 km a year, per head of population. Most trains consist
of 1st class, denoted by a yellow stripe along the top, and 2nd class
Trains are categorised as local trains (Regionalzug/Lokalzug, train
rï¿½gional), fast trains (Schnellzug, train direct), Intercity (IC),
InterCity Express (ICE) and Eurocity (EC), depending on the number of
stops made. Intercity and InterCity Express trains are fast trains
servicing the main Swiss cities. Eurocity trains are fast
international trains, providing regular services between major Swiss
towns and over 200 European cities. They are air-conditioned and
provide both a restaurant and a mini-bar trolley service. A
supplement is payable by all passengers on EC trains and a seat
reservation is obligatory (optional on Intercity and many domestic
fast trains). The reservation fee is Sfr. 4 and bookings can be made
from 24-hours to two months in advance (up to three months for
compartments in sleeping cars). Sleeping cars and cars with seats
that convert into berths (couchettes) are available on most Eurocity
trains. A private CityNightLine (CNL) sleeper train service (a joint
venture with Austria and Germany) was introduced in 1995 and CNL
plans to make Zurich the sleeper capital of Europe. International car
trains also operate from Switzerland to a number of countries. It's
advisable to reserve seats in advance, particularly when travelling
during holiday periods or over weekends.
In recent years the SBB has invested heavily in expanding and
modernising its rail network, introducing new rolling stock and
improving services. The latest examples are new S-Bahn (S is short
for schnell or fast) suburban train services in Berne and Zurich with
new double-decker trains. Fast regional trains, called RegioExpress,
have also been introduced in some areas, e.g. between St. Gallen and
Chur. The TGV from Berne, Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchï¿½tel to Paris and
southern France, at speeds of up to 300kph. Geneva to Paris takes
around three-and-a-half hours. From spring 1996, 200kph (120mph)
Cisalpino (CIS), Pendolino tilt-body trains have connected major
Swiss towns with Milan, and German ICE high speed trains link
Interlaken and Zurich with cities throughout Germany. Switzerland is
building two new high-speed rail tunnels through the Alps to carry
heavy lorries, the New Transalpine Railway Project
(Neue Eisenbahnalpentransversalen/NEAT), which is expected to be
completed between 2015 and 2020 and will cost some Sfr. 15 to 20
In addition to the SBB, there are many small private railways in
Switzerland. Among the most interesting, for both train enthusiasts
and tourists alike, is the Glacier Express, the slowest express in
the world (average speed 20mph). It runs from St. Moritz to Zermatt
and negotiates 291 bridges and 91 tunnels during its 7 and 1/2 hour
journey (the Swiss make holes in both their mountains and their
cheese). The Montreux Oberland Bernese (MOB) railway from Montreux to
Zweisimmen/Lenk/Lucerne is 1st class only, with ultra-modern
panoramic or superpanoramic (sounds like a cinema screen) express
coaches and a saloon bar coach with hostess. The Bernina express from
Chur to Tirano in Italy, has the highest (2,253m/7,390ft) railway
traverse in the Alps and provides a unique and beautiful experience.
Switzerland Tourism (ST) publish a brochure for steam train fans
entitled Steam in Switzerland, containing general information,
schedules and fares for all private steam trains.
Most public and private trains and carriages can be chartered for
special occasions. You can also charter a special Panorama 'Vista
Dome Car' and have it hooked onto most scheduled trains, or
alternatively charter a whole train. You can even charter the Orient
Express! An excellent book for train buffs is Switzerland by Rail by
Anthony Lambert (Bradt Publications). Information about Swiss rail
services is available via their information telephone number 1572222
(calls cost Sfr. 1.19 per minute) and via the Internet (www.rail.ch).
(I am also the Switzerland Onelist owner
Sorry, I have to publish a few corrections on what
1,800 stations and 650 tunnels. It includes 2,000km (1,242mi) of....
exact mileage see messages nr. 15 and 16
no, not RUN by canton governments BUT:
OWNED for a big share by cantons: typically about 30% of the shares are held
by the Swiss Confederation, about 60% by the cantons interested and about
10% by others. As important exceptions I should mention:
- BLS: majority held by the canton of Berne, Confederation only 20%
- BVZ (Brig - Visp - Zermatt): no public shareholders
- FO (Furka - Oberalp): Confederation about 80%, Cantons about 20% (a
consequence of the break-down of the BFD in 1915 after having finished only
half of the stretch, with subsequent bankruptcy in 1923, auction in 1925 and
opening of the rest of the line in 1926, then electrification during
- all cogwheel railways going to "nowhere" (no town) as Jungfrau, Pilatus,
Gornergrat, Brienzer Rothorn etc. have no or few public shareholders.
Swiss federal railways are usually referred to by their initials,...
in the Swiss commercial register, an official name in two other languages
Viafiers federalas svizras VFS
Swiss federal railways SFR
anniversary in 1997 and became a private company in 1999. It's....
no, not a private company, but an independent company ("Aktiengesellschaft
des ï¿½ffentlichen Rechts" so of public right) with 100% of the shares held by
Despite frequent fare increases in recent years to try to reduce....
not only SBB but the whole public transport of Switzerland increased prices,
for all railway and bus companies have the same problem: they need
subsidies. In ticketing there are only few SBB offers, standard are public
transport offers with participation of all long-distance trains and most
regional trains and busses.
trains remain relatively inexpensive if you take advantage of special....
there is no long-distance bus service in Switzerland because no concessions
are delivered for this. Exception is Chur - Bellinzona where only a road
tunnel but no rails give a connection. But the numerous border-crossing
busses are in general cheaper than trains.
Trains are categorised as local trains (Regionalzug/Lokalzug, train....
there is no "Lokalzug". The correct categories are:
- Regionalzug/train rï¿½gional or S-Bahn/RER (all trains NOT bold printed in
- RX RegioExpress (regional trains with limited stops, generally subsidized)
- Schnellzug/train direct (bold printed trains without RX, IR, IC sign or
- IR InterRegio (air conditioned train with stops about every 10 to 20
- IC InterCity (air conditioned trains with few stops)
- EC EuroCity, EN EuroNight, CIS Cisalpino, TGV, ICE etc. (border-crossing
supplement is payable by all passengers on EC trains and a seat....
no supplement and no mandatory seat reservation within Switzerland on EC
trains. A private CityNightLine (CNL) sleeper train service (a joint....
Austria already went out of CNL and SBB will sell its shares to DB, so CNL
will be an offer of DB in the future
In recent years the SBB has invested heavily in expanding and....
no double-deckers in Berne! S-Bahn Berne is not an SBB project! S1, S11, S3
are run by SBB, S2, S22, S33, S5, S51, S55 by BLS, S4, S44 by RM
Interlaken and Zurich with cities throughout Germany. Switzerland is....
the two tunnels will see passenger trains, freight trains and probably some
trains carrying heavy lorries. BLS-built Lï¿½tschberg is due 2007, SBB-built
Gotthard about 2013
cheese). The Montreux Oberland Bernese (MOB) railway from Montreux to....
MOB has lots of second-class panoramic cars! and as of mai 28 there will not
be any 1st class only train on MOB. Narrow gauge MOB ends in Zweisimmen,
where you have to change to continue on standard gauge.