SBB train © SBB CFF FFS

SBB wants to change timetable in western Switzerland to meet punctuality goals

Swiss state railway operator SBB has plans to make changes to the railway timetable in the west of the country, because the punctuality is not satisfactory. A proposal to revise the timetable in western Switzerland was submitted to the cantons, about which a decision is yet to be made.

The Swiss railways might be among the most punctual in Europe, but the level is not the same across the country. In 2021, SBB scored the second-best overall punctuality in their history, with 91.9 percent of passenger trains arriving on time.

However, SBB states that in the French-speaking western Switzerland, punctuality is not satisfactory, being 4 percentage points lower than in the other regions. The target value of 90.5 percent punctuality set by SBB itself was overall exceeded in 2021, but was thus not reached for this region.

Changes to the timetable

SBB now suggests a more stable timetable for the western region, which would ensure better punctuality from 2024 and in the following 8 to 10 years. This would mean that the travel time of journeys is extended by a few minutes, so there is more leniency. This should allow delays caused by construction sites to be ‘absorbed’. Longer transfer times in the major stations would also be necessary for a more stable timetable.

The company has drawn up a working paper that it has presented to the concerning cantons (member states of the Swiss Confederation), the Federal Office of Transport and the other transport companies in recent weeks. An increase in travel times on certain routes can affect existing connections and stops, but according to SBB also enable improvements to be made to the service.

Changed conditions

The reason that the punctuality in western Switzerland is lower is that the timetable no longer corresponds to today’s conditions, says SBB. There are many more passengers than 20 years ago, longer boarding times, alighting and changing times, and in addition more construction works on the tracks.

The Swiss federal government, cantons, municipalities and SBB are investing around 5 billion euros in the renewal and expansion of routes and stations in western Switzerland by 2030, the highest amount of all Swiss regions.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor RailTech.com

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