Embattled Swiss Railways gets multilingual boost

Train passengers in Switzerland are likely to hear announcements in several languages Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Swiss Federal Railways has been awarded a prize recognising the multilingual abilities of its staff.

This content was published on November 6, 2020 - 19:00

In an award ceremony at the Lucerne transport museum on Friday, the Oertli Foundation hailed the ability of Federal RailwaysExternal link staff to switch languages as a train travels across different parts of Switzerland, and to address passengers in their own language or in English. In this way, it said, multilingual Switzerland is lived daily on the train.

The Foundation’s 2020 prize consists of CHF30,000 ($33,000) for Swiss Railways staff training. It aims to help the transport company continue developing its training model in languages.

Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Benvenuti, Welcome on board

Swiss Railways director general Vincent Ducrot said his company was proud of the award and that it shows “Swiss Railways wants not only to link the regions of Switzerland but also to build bridges between different linguistic cultures”.

The Oertli FoundationExternal link, founded in 1967, encourages mutual comprehension and exchange between Switzerland’s four different language regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh.

This may help boost Swiss Railways morale as it faces falling revenues External linkdue to the coronavirus pandemic.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?