How Switzerland's train services and timetables change this year
Swiss rail operator SBB has updated its timetable for 2023 which include some key changes residents in Switzerland should know about including for international travel.
Amended connections for national travel
There are now direct connections between Romanshorn and Interlaken with the IC81, resulting in a better connection between the greater Zurich area, including Zurich Airport, with the popular tourist destinations Bernese Oberland and eastern Switzerland.
With the IC6, Basel also benefits from an additional direct connection to Valais.
Altdorf’s direct connection to Zurich will cease from 2023 with the IC21 train replacing the IC2. However, it’s not all bleak for Altdorf as the new train offers a new direct link to both Basel and Lucerne.
In French-speaking Switzerland, there are now two direct IC connections between Geneva and Chur via Lausanne and Bern at the weekend – this means that Graubünden can be reached directly from western Switzerland for the first time!
Lower demand for Zurich connections
There has also been a significant shake-up for all Zurich travellers. Due to the lower demand in commuter traffic, individual additional trains will no longer be available during the rush hour from Monday to Friday between Bern and Zurich (departure from Bern at 7.10am and 4.10pm and departure from Zurich at 6.49am). The same goes for Lucerne to Zurich and vice versa (departure from Lucerne at 6.20am and departure in Zurich at 4.39pm).
Also due to a lack of demand, there will no longer be any individual connections between Zurich and Arth-Goldau during off-peak times.
SBB has further axed its IC2 early train going from Bellinzona to Zurich on Sunday morning due to low demand.
New early and late links for regional travel
For everyone relying on regional trains, the SBB is expanding its evening service between Biel/Bienne and Solothurn. Additionally, there is now a new daily midnight connection from Biel/Bienne at 23.53 p.m. to Solothurn with arrival slated for 00.21 a.m.
At the weekend, the last train from Olten to Solothurn (departure in Solothurn at 01:13 a.m.) will be extended to Biel/Bienne (arrival at 01:41 a.m.). This in turn creates a new connection at midnight from Zurich HB (departure at 00.02) to Grenchen and Biel/Bienne with just a single change in Olten.
In the Zurich S-Bahn, further early trains will be introduced in Limmattal (S12), Oberland (S14 and S15), Pfannenstiel (S16), Furttal (S6), Bülach (S9). Additional S11 connections will also run between Zurich main station and Winterthur in the evening hours.
New night train to Prague
Having introduced its new timetable last month, Zurich travellers looking to venture over the border can look forward to more connections in 2023. Thanks to an additional night train to Prague, which runs via Germany, Leipzig and Dresden can now also be reached by night train from Zurich.
The SBB also has good news for those hoping to travel to Stuttgart from Zurich as an additional direct train now goes to the German city. From October 2023, three more direct trains will run on the route.
More spaces on international trains
Lastly, SBB is gradually expanding the available spaces – which currently feature sleeping, couchette, or seating cars – it has on its night trains to Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, and Graz to accommodate more travellers.
Construction work may lead to delays
To ensure that passengers continue to travel safely and arrive on time in the future, SBB continuously maintains and expands its infrastructure. In 2023 and in the following years, the construction volume will again increase significantly. In some cases, this might mean that some routes will face minor delays.
In 2023, according to the current planning status and due to several construction measures, the IC1 between Geneva and Lausanne should stop in Morges and Nyon from mid-August to mid-December, and the IC1 journey between Bern and Lausanne will be extended by 7 minutes during this time. However, it is intended that the IR90 train will run non-stop between Lausanne and Geneva. The exact construction site and timetable concepts are still in progress.