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Railways weather major timetable shake-up

Reading between the lines Keystone

Swiss Federal Railways says the launch of a faster and more frequent passenger service one month ago has been largely a success.

Since the introduction of the new timetable in December, there have been 12 per cent more trains in service, but drivers have complained about the workload.

The improved and extended service introduced on December 12 was the largest restructuring undertaken by the Federal Railways in decades.

It has seen the introduction of connections every half hour between major urban centres.

“The new timetable has withstood the test, proving its functionality,” said Roland Binz, spokesman for the network, on Wednesday.

“More than half the rail connections have improved.”

Binz added, however, that the company had received many complaints from passengers reliant on the 14 per cent of lines where connections are worse than before the changeover.

High volume

Binz said there had been several minor hitches during the first few weeks.

Several stations provided wrong information, and an extremely high passenger volume on some lines meant additional carriages had been needed.

Unions said the increased service had put train drivers under increased pressure.

“More kilometres with fewer drivers,” said the Swiss Transport Union on Wednesday.

The Federal Railways said the delivery of rail freight within the country had remained punctual despite the increase in passenger trains on the Swiss network.

However, Binz said there were many delays with cross-border freight, which the company put down to the expansion of its cargo service.

He said five times as many freight trains belonging to the Federal Railways were now travelling each week between Switzerland and Italy, with four times as many running between Switzerland and Germany.

swissinfo with agencies

The new railway timetable was introduced on December 12.
90% of all departure and arrival times were affected.
More than half of all connections have been improved, but 14% are worse than they were before the changeover.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR