Coronavirus in Switzerland: What are the safety guidelines to follow if you take a train?

As more and more passengers are expected to use the train service in the coming weeks, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB / CFF / FFS) have developed recommendations that customers should follow to avoid the risk of coronavirus infection.

Coronavirus in Switzerland: What are the safety guidelines to follow if you take a train?
SBB has released protection guidelines to prevent the risk of infection. Photo by SBB/ CFF / FFS

Starting on May 11th, Swiss trains are resuming their full regular service, which has been significantly disrupted during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

“This makes it all the more important to comply with the protection measures when travelling”, the SBB said on its website. 

In preparation for the resumption of services, the cleaning staff have been mobilised in the past days to disinfect often-used surfaces in trains and train stations, such as buttons, handles, handrails, armrests, benches, and ATM machines.

READ MORE: Swiss Federal Railways: Services resume gradually after lockdown

To protect themselves from contamination, the SBB is urging passengers to follow these recommendations:

Social distance: If possible, avoid morning and evening commuting times and use less busy connections instead. Be considerate of each other and keep your distance at stops, counters, and ticket machines, when getting on and off the train, and while on board. 

“SBB will be supporting passengers by providing as much space as possible on trains or by ensuring that passengers are well-distributed across compartments and coaches”, the company said.

“If it is not possible to maintain a distance of two metres from others, we strongly recommend wearing a protective face mask”, the SBB added.

Hygiene measures: Customers can wash their hands in on-board restrooms, where available, and in train station restrooms. From May 11th onwards, passengers can use the serviced hygiene centres in the stations of Basel SBB, Bellinzona, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Locarno, Lucerne and Zürich HB free of charge until further notice.

Disinfectant dispensers will be placed at the entrances to larger stations and at the entrances and exits of travel centres. “To ensure compliance with the FOPH's hygiene regulations, queuing zones will be set up at shops in major stations and the use of lifts will be limited to one person at a time”.

Buy tickets digitally: Although ticket counters are re-opened, “we would like to ask our customers to buy tickets online, via apps, or from ticket machines”, the SBB noted.

If purchasing at counters, the SBB is encouraging customers to pay with contactless credit or debit cards.  




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Rail services to remain disrupted in Switzerland in the coming days

Snow and sub-zero temperatures over the weekend caused havoc on some train lines, mainly in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

Rail services to remain disrupted in Switzerland in the coming days
Snow has slowed down train traffic in Switzerland. Photo by AFP

Freezing temperatures cut off the power on some lines, disrupting train traffic in several regions.

Internationally, traffic between St. Margrethen in St.Gallen and Munich was interrupted due to heavy snowfall. EuroCity trains between Zurich and Munich were canceled.

Before it resumes normal service, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) must clear a thick layer of snow from trains and remove fallen trees from tracks, the company said on its website.

The train between Basel and Zurich airport will be canceled until Tuesday evening. 

But SBB says it will resume most of its traffic on the main lines on Monday, though at reduced frequency.

Shorter train formations and longer journeys should also be expected in the next few days.

READ MORE: Swiss railways releases new time table: Here's what changes in 2021

How can you know ahead of time about any last-minute cancellations or delays?

The timetable is also constantly updated on the SBB Mobile App. 

Any delays or last minute cancellations are indicated there in real time.

On Twitter, @RailService and @railinfo_cff provide information on possible disruptions as well.

READ MORE: MAP: Return of night trains across Europe comes a step closer