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Budget increase   Government proposes CHF11.9bn plan to ease rail congestion

A passenger train heads for Loetschberg Base Tunnel near Visp in the canton of Valais, Switzerland

The plan includes funds for equipment needed to build a second tube of the Lötschberg tunnel through the Alps.

(Keystone)

The Federal Council has increased the amount it wants to put toward accommodating ever-growing demand across Switzerland’s railway network by 2035.

Following a consultation procedure, the government announced Wednesday a revised CHF11.9 billion ($11.8 billion) plan, up from an initial budget of CHF11.5 billion, to be implemented by 2035. The Swiss Parliament will review the plan next year.

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The new package would include direct train connections between Basel, Delémont and Geneva, as well as an expansion of service across the Jura. Technical railway equipment for the second tube of the Lötschberg base tunnel, which runs from the Bernese Oberland into canton Valais, would also be included to help increase capacity for freight trains as well as numbers of passenger trains.

Improvements to service in the Geneva-Lausanne-Yverdon-Biel and Soleure-Olten-Zurich-Winterthur regions aim to reinforce train capacities, reduce overload, and offer service every quarter- to half-hour.

There are also plans to develop the train stations themselves, to ameliorate overcrowding and adapt infrastructure to improve accessibility for passengers with disabilities, notably in Morges and Basel.

Keystone-SDA/cl

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