Bern central station renovation to be delayed by two years

Not everything runs on time in Switzerland.

The central station in the Swiss capital of Bern. Photo by Sebastian Meier on Unsplash
The central station in the Swiss capital of Bern. Photo by Sebastian Meier on Unsplash

The renovation and expansion of the central station in the Swiss capital of Bern will be delayed by two years, authorities announced on Wednesday. 

EXPLAINED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

The works on the station, Switzerland’s second largest, were set to be completed in 2027 but will now not be finished until 2029. 

The Swiss federal railways (SBB), Bern railways (RBS) and the city of Bern made the announcement on February 16th, saying geological issues, the Covid pandemic and other problems will see the plans delayed.

“Demanding geological conditions and hydrological difficulties, contaminated sites, the corona pandemic and a lack of options for acceleration are delaying construction work on the highly complex large-scale project of the future Bern train station” they said in a press statement. 

The delays will also push the costs of the project higher, by between CHF100 and CHF150 million francs. 

The expansion and renovation project was deemed necessary due to increasing traffic in the station, which regularly hits capacity at peak times. 

READ MORE: Why is Bern the ‘capital’ of Switzerland?

Work has been underway since 2017. 

In addition to the construction of a new station under the existing SBB tracks, the renovation will build an additional pedestrian underpass, which will be completed in 2028.

Two new station entrances will be constructed, while the surrounding area of the station will also be incorporated into the project so as to minimise bottlenecks during peak times.  

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Switzerland promises no increases in public transport costs in 2023

Swiss public transport providers have promised to avoid price increases next year, despite inflationary trends.

Switzerland promises no increases in public transport costs in 2023

The Alliance Swiss Pass tariff and transport associations indicated they saw inflationary pressure as an opportunity to encourage more people to use public transport. 

2023 will represent the sixth consecutive year where public transport prices will not increase in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: How the cost of living will change in Switzerland in 2022

Consumer prices have risen 1.7 percent in Switzerland since the last increase in public transport costs, while Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs expects a further increase of 1.1 percent until 2023. 

In a statement, Alliance Swiss Pass said they planned to introduce “new, attractive offers” to appeal to those struggling under cost of living pressures. 

One of the major drivers in the spike in the cost of living has been rising oil prices, which has led to significant increases in public transport costs. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has placed additional pressure on prices which were already on the rise as a consequence of the Covid pandemic. 

Alliance Swiss Pass makes up around 250 transport companies across Switzerland. 

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can you find the cheapest fuel?