The government is to allocate SFr50 million ($46 million) to support rail freight during the current economic crisis.
The Federal Transport Office said on Thursday that the aim is to ensure that transport of goods by rail remains competitive in the face of price dumping practised by some road freight operators.
"The economic crisis has led to a sharp drop in the amount of goods being transported over the Alps," the transport office said, adding that the resulting overcapacity had caused many road hauliers to slash prices.
The transport office wants to prevent the loss of jobs and maintain the rail structures for the time when the recovery occurs.
The money will subsidise 19 Swiss and foreign companies providing container freight services.
The transfer of freight from road to rail is a key element of Swiss transport policy.
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