• Switzerland's news in English

Neuchâtel voters block billion-franc rail scheme

Malcolm Curtis · 24 Sep 2012, 09:08

Published: 23 Sep 2012 21:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Sep 2012 09:08 GMT+02:00

Fewer than 400 votes separated opponents and supporters of the TransRun project, which would have provided a new, faster train route between the canton’s two largest cities, Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds.

The project, involving a 16.7-kilometre rail line, most of it through tunnels, was opposed by 50.3 percent of the electorate, while 49.7 percent were in favour.

The cantonal government and a majority of MPs approved TransRun as “indispensable” for the future of Neuchâtel’s economy.

But campaigners against the scheme highlighted its high cost and the debt involved in financing the construction.

One poster for the “no” campaign suggested a billion francs would disappear down a “black hole”.

The issue divided the canton on a regional basis, with voters in the watch-making centres of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle approving TransRun by 70 percent and 60 percent respectively.

But elsewhere in the canton, including Neuchâtel, a majority of voters were opposed.

Despite the defeat, Philippe Gnaegi, head of the cantonal government, said the cabinet would “continue to work to reinforce cantonal cohesion”.

The cabinet minister in charge of the transport project, Claude Nicati, said Neuchâtel’s rail network would be “cleaned up but not transformed”.

The Swiss Federal Railways announced studies would begin in the next few days to look at ways of renewing the existing line between Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

2012-09-24 14:59:45 by smeghead
One poster for the “no” campaign suggested a billion francs would disappear down a “black hole”. is this in refrence to the tax computer system the bund scrapped after the cost went out of control ?
Today's headlines
Man falls to his death over dropped ski pole
The site of the accident. Photo: Valais cantonal police

Frenchman dies after he went to pick up a dropped ski pole and fell 200 metres down a mountain.

Young migrant injured after jumping from window
The girl was staying in a centre for asylum seekers in Zweisimmen. Photo: Vasile Cotovanu

A 15-year-old girl due to be deported from Switzerland is in hospital after jumping from a window.

Woman faked airport bomb threat over marital tiff
The bomb threat caused a big security alert at Geneva airport. File photo: Richard Juilliart

Wednesday's bomb threat was invented by a woman who wanted to get revenge on her husband’s mistress.

Bencic joins Federer in opting out of Rio

The Swiss is the latest top 20 tennis star to pull out of Olympics.

Swiss sports court heads to Rio Olympics
CAS has relocated from Lausanne (pictured) to Rio to deal with doping matters. Photo: CAS

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has temporarily relocated to Rio so it can make rulings over Olympic doping from the scene.

Police step up security at Geneva airport after tip-off
File photo: eGuide Travel

UPDATE: Police gradually withdraw security measures put in place this morning after an unspecified threat against the building.

Swiss Post gives stamp of approval to Solar Impulse
The new stamp is available from today. Photo: Swiss Post

A new stamp commemorates the incredible journey of two Swiss pilots.

Family of four dies in Swiss motorway crash
The accident happened near Quinto in the canton of Ticino. File photo: Costas Tavernarakis

The accident happened on the A2 in Ticino.

Swiss glacier reveals body of skier missing for 53 years
Morteratsch glacier. Photo: Graubünden police

The 36-year-old German went missing in 1963.

 Federer to miss Rio, rest of season with injury
Federer is recovering from injury. Photo: AFP

Roger Federer will miss the remainder of the season, including next month's Olympic Games in Rio.

File photo: Chase Elliott Clark
Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
Photo: Katwarn.de
Switzerland mulls alarm text message service
Photo: The Local
Study: grazing cows are worse for the environment
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Kecko
Terror fears trigger Swiss run on guns
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Commune d'Ayent
Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
Photo: Swiss Post
Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Chris Marquardt
Police break up dispute over late-night laundry
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: The Local
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Photo: The Local
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Photo: AFP/The Local
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Whitepod
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Robert Valencia
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Photo: Bernacqua
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
jobs available