Rail Freight

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

The situation of the rail freight market in Switzerland:
After the rail reform of January 1st, 1999 many things changed. Freight traffic beeing liberalised and with the introduction of free or open access, every company who wishes to do so, can offer rail freight transport.
  • SBB took responsability for the whole carload traffic on standard gauge. Private railway companies still active in this sector act as contractual partners of SBB. They do no longer have their share of the price a customer pays, but they are paid by SBB for locomotive-kilometers and other output they contribute. In some cases, SBB now runs with their own locomotives, as is the case on the MThB network or on the three-rail sections of RBS where an SBB diesel released the narrow gauge electrics (1200 V d.c) with standard gauge couplings. Trains to Ems chemical plant over the three-rail section of RhB, which had ever been operated with SBB locomotives (under 11 kV catenary instead of 15 kV) is now also under full responsability of SBB.
  • On the other hand, MThB/SOB (Lokoop) and some other companies took full responsability for specialized traffic, as postal traffic in Eastern Switzerland, fuel block trains and the like.
  • SBB also took responsability for narrow gauge traffic on RBS. Narrow gauge trains with electric RBS locomotives and standard gauge freight cars on RBS transporter trucks are operated by SBB staff. RBS is now focussed on passenger transport.
  • Combined traffic (piggy back, containers) is offered on the own responsabilitiy of operators like Hupac etc. Traction of the trains is done by SBB and BLS (BLS also works on the Gotthard!) at fix prices.
  • RhB and BVZ are forcing their own freight traffic but cooperate with SBB in the case of through-going carloads (with transshipment in Landquart or Visp), which is not very important in the case of RhB and nearly inexistant in the case of BVZ. FO is only active in freight traffic on special demand. Most important at the moment is supply with cement and steel of the Sedrun work place for the new Gotthard tunnel. RhB still has other cement transports (plant at Untervaz with narrow gauge and standard gauge connections), fuel transports from the Italian boarder (brought there by trucks) to the Engadin, timber in the other direction, postal transports and daily supply for Coop super markets in containers through the new Vereina tunnel, mineral water bottles (Valser Wasser) to a logistic center etc. BVZ is active in any supplies to Zermatt (which is called a car-free resort) including LCL and Express. Part goes in containers.
    See http://www.egroups.com/files/SwissRail for a picture.
    See http://www.bvz.ch/zermatt/spe/index_gueterverkehr_d.html BVZ home page!
    RhB freight only in German http://www.rhb.ch/Gueter/index.htm
  • CJ is now active in garbage transports, for which the two newer railcars 487 and 488 from former RhB d.c. electrification to Arosa (now a.c.) were bought.
  • ASM will introduce gravel transports on the former BTI line
  • Carload traffic in standard gauge cars on narrow gauge transporter trucks on BAM, YSC, CJ, TRN (ex CMN), GFM, MOB, ASM (former BTI, RVO and SNB), WSB, AB, FW and RhB is, for the moment, continued under a cooperation agreement.
  • Future of such traffic on SBB-owned Brünigbahn and connecting MIB and LSE is discussed at the moment. Changes are expected.
  • Cogwheel railways and cable transport bring supplies to the mountain areas, this is of some importance on WAB (to Wengen) and GGB (with cars running through from Visp).
Most freight traffic on narrow gauge and part of combined traffic is subsidized. All freight traffic benefits from prices for trackage rights at marginal costs, made possible by subsidies for infrastructure.
Markus Giger