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Railways win heritage prize

The signal box building at Zurich's railway station was inaugurated in 1999 Keystone Archive

Swiss Federal Railways has been awarded the prestigious Wakker prize for its exemplary protection of Switzerland’s cultural heritage.

It is the first time in the award’s 33-year history that the prize has gone to a company rather than a local authority.

The Swiss Heritage Society, which awards the Wakker prize, said on Thursday that the Federal Railways, as a public institution, had made commendable efforts in the field of architecture.

Its new and old buildings were proof of the company’s high standards of architecture and design, said the society in a statement.

It singled out the new railway station of Zug in central Switzerland and the newly constructed walkways foot at the stations in the capital, Bern, and Basel as good examples.

The signal boxes in Zurich, Basel, as well as the main workshop at Geneva’s railway station, were also underlined as landmarks of Switzerland’s architectural design.

Bridges, tunnels

The society also praised infrastructure features, including bridges, tunnels and rail tracks, as important elements of the country’s cultural heritage.

And it said it was impressed by the Federal Railways’ commitment to maintaining its historic buildings, which date back more than a century.

The company said it was very pleased with the award.

“For a modern transport company which still uses some of its old buildings, this prize is a real achievement” Federal Railways spokesman Jean-Lous Scherz told swissinfo.

He added that the company would invest the SFr20,000 ($16,800) prize money in cultural heritage projects.

The award will be handed over at a public ceremony in Zurich on June 4.

Previous winners of the Wakker prize include more than 30 towns and cities across Switzerland.


The Swiss Heritage Society awards the Wakker prize every year.
The Wakker prize is worth SFr20,000 ($16,800) and was first awarded in 1972.
Last year’s winner was the town of Biel/Bienne.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR