A year of works for French-Speaking Switzerland

Construction on a Swiss railway SBB

French-speaking Switzerland is gearing up for another year of significant maintenance and development projects. While the majority of these initiatives will have no impact on traffic, about twenty operations will require special measures. 

SBB/CFF/FFS manages a railway network spanning 3,265 kilometres, with over 11,000 trains running daily. In 2024, approximately 20,000 maintenance projects are scheduled by SBB/CFF/FFS to ensure reliability and safety. Around 6,000 maintenance interventions take place in French-speaking Switzerland, accounting for approximately 30% of the national network’s maintenance volume. Concurrently, around 2,500 trains traverse the region daily.

Over the next ten years, about 146 kilometres of tracks between Geneva, Lausanne, and Berne, out of a total of 320 kilometres, will need replacement, representing nearly 46 per cent. Notably, the Confederation, cantons, municipalities, and SBB/CFF/FFS are investing approximately 6 billion francs in French-speaking Switzerland by 2030 for infrastructure renewal and expansion.

The upcoming 2025 timetable will facilitate more extensive construction projects while improving punctuality. However, occasional or seasonal timetable adjustments will still be necessary based on certain phases of work. Indeed, in 2024, approximately twenty projects in French-speaking Switzerland will necessitate special measures that will lead to disruption.

Map of 2024 rail works that will disrupt passenger traffic in French-speaking Switzerland (SBB)
Map of 2024 rail works that will disrupt passenger traffic in French-speaking Switzerland (SBB)

Disruption

Depending on the duration and nature of the work, three types of solutions are employed during major projects. The first solution is the use of substitute buses on interrupted sections, such as weekends from February 9 to 12 and February 23 to 26, 2024, in Saxon, from April 27 to 29 in Vufflens-la-Ville, or weekday nights from February 11 to June 16 between Geneva and Coppet.

A second solution is the adjusting of schedules for a certain duration, as seen on the Geneva-La Plaine line from December 10, 2023, until December 14, 2024, or between Denges and Renens starting June 2024. Finally, traffic diversions can also be employed, like during the interruption between Lausanne and Vevey from March 16 to 19, 2024, where regional traffic will be replaced by buses while long-distance traffic will be diverted through Puidoux.

SBB/CFF/FFS encourages customers to check the online timetable before each journey and acknowledges the inconvenience these disruptions may cause customers in a press release, making an apology. Details of necessary schedule adjustments will be announced, and the adjusted timetable can be found on the CFF Mobile app or the SBB website.

Further reading:

Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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