SBB warns rail upgrades mean timetable changes
Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is giving early notice of timetable and route changes starting in December 2015 and lasting for 10 years during major construction work to upgrade rail facilities around Lausanne.
The federal government is investing one billion francs to modernize and expand facilities between Lausanne and Renens, a suburb to the west of the Vaud capital.
The objective is to accommodate longer, double-decker passenger trains (up to 400 metres) with more frequent trips, SBB said in a news release on Tuesday.
During the lengthy construction period, the timetable will be altered to allow work to proceed without adversely impacting service.
The plan will guarantee the same number of trains and passenger capacity, SBB said.
But times for the ICN train linking Basel, Bienne and Lausanne will be shifted by half an hour, while the Geneva-Lausanne train times will change and some direct routes will be scrapped for the 10-year period.
Transfers will also be impacted under the timetable changes agreed to after consultations between SBB, the federal transport office and representatives of the canton of Geneva and Vaud.
The new schedule takes into account the future development of the Geneva regional train service (CEVA) linking Vaud with Annemasse, France, as well as a Vaud regional service and the planned Delle-Belfort route in the neighbouring French Jura region.
Modifications to the rail infrastructure are planned elsewhere in Switzerland to accommodate double-decker trains.
Such work is planned on the Simplon line, the construction of the Eppenburg tunnel between Olten and Aarau and upgrading of facilities around the Bern train station.
Other transport schedules, such as bus service, will be modified to match the SBB changes, with further announcements to be made in 2015, SBB said.
Cantonal transport directors from the Northwest of Switzerland have complained that the changes mean the elimination of direct service between Basel, Delémont and Geneva.
Direct service linking Aaarau, Solothurn and Lausanne will also disappear during the 10-year construction period.
The cantonal officials are seeking a reworking of the schedule to ensure the same trip times are maintained.
They are also demanding the federal government and CFF reimburse costs engendered by the construction work on regional train service.