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Federal Railways profit remains on track

Swiss Federal Railways has reported a nearly 25 per cent rise in profits for the first half of 2010 – thanks not least to a volcano in Iceland.

Federal Railways said on Wednesday that profits had increased by 24.9 per cent to SFr165.9 million ($163.3 million). The infrastructure deficit fell by 58 per cent to SFr11.2 million, it noted.

In May airports around Europe were paralysed by ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjöll volcano. Many flights were cancelled at Switzerland’s three main airports, Zurich, Geneva and Basel.

Swiss International Air Lines said the ash cost it SFr30 million and a 4.6 per cent fall in passenger numbers for the first half of 2010 compared with the same period last year.

But the airlines’ loss was the railways’ gain, and the Federal Railways reported that its passenger count was up 10.3 per cent.

In addition, Swiss trains got even more punctual: 88.7 per cent of trains arrived at their destinations with less than a three-minute delay, up 0.5 per cent.

Less rosy was the situation in the cargo subsidiary, whose deficit doubled to almost SFr50 million. This was because of the weak euro-to-franc rate and incremental costs for rolling stock maintenance, Federal Railways said in a statement. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR