SBB train on the railway between Zurich and Winterthur (Photo: Nick Augusteijn)

Major Swiss rail upgrade project underway in the Zurich area

SBB train on the railway between Zurich and Winterthur (Photo: Nick Augusteijn)

SBB plans to expand the railway between Zurich and the German border, on behalf of the Swiss federal government. The planned infrastructure upgrades of the major Zurich-Winterthur MehrSpur project will eliminate the current bottleneck in the railway network. This 2.9-billion Swiss francs (2.98 billion euro) project is the largest project in the federal government’s 2035 extension phase.

SBB is planning a new double track through the Brüttener tunnel, the expansion of the Dietlikon, Bassersdorf, Wallisellen and Winterthur Töss stations, as well as other construction measures on the railway infrastructure between Zurich and Winterthur. With an additional double track through the Brüttener Tunnel, two long-distance lines will be able to run every fifteen minutes between Zurich and Winterthur. On Zurich’s S-Bahn network, the fifteen-minute service will become the basic service.

In an ambitious endeavour aimed at enhancing transportation efficiency and improving commuter experiences, the Zurich-Winterthur railway line extension is set to introduce a series of transformative projects. The highlight of these developments is the construction of the nine-kilometre-long Brüttener tunnel, connecting Dietlikon/Bassersdorf to Winterthur. Additionally, four key stations along the route, namely Dietlikon, Bassersdorf, Wallisellen, and Winterthur Töss, will undergo significant expansions. Furthermore, two bridges and two short tunnels will be erected to seamlessly integrate the new tracks with the existing railway network, facilitating smooth and uninterrupted train movements.

This comprehensive initiative also encompasses collaborative efforts with the Canton of Zurich, various cities and municipalities, and investments from the federal government, targeting the establishment of bicycle connections, infrastructure maintenance, and additional projects. As a result of the grand-scale undertaking, the Zurich-Winterthur railway line’s capacity will expand by 30 per cent, enabling the daily transportation of approximately 156,000 passengers by 900 trains.

Funding and permits

The MehrSpur Zurich-Winterthur project will be financed by the federal government’s railway infrastructure fund, which includes contributions from the federal government and the cantons. It will help eliminate a bottleneck in the Swiss rail network and complete the necessary expansion of services in urban and long-distance rail transport. Overall, the expansion project should enable 30 per cent more capacity on the Zurich-Winterthur line.

The project will be open to the public from 30 May to 28 June 2023. During the public display, SBB project managers will be on-site at certain times to answer questions from residents in the project perimeter. If the project proceeds without appeal proceedings, construction can start in the mid-2020s and the service can go into operation one decade later. SBB will be able to draw up a definitive construction programme as soon as it has received the construction permit from the federal government and the construction work has been awarded.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at and

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