Bern railway station, Switzerland’s second busiest after Zurich, is set to expand with the creation of a new underground rail station serving regional trains between Bern and Solothurn. A pedestrian access area is also planned.
Some 202,000 passengers pass through Bern’s main train station – the second largest in Switzerland – every working day of the week. However, the station is “full to bursting point” and its current size no longer meets its operating needs, the Federal Transport Office said in a statement on Thursday.
The office has therefore given the green light for a new four-track underground railway to be constructed below the southern part of the main station, for the regional Bern-Solothurn service (RBS). Lower-level pedestrian walkway areas will also be built.
The work is estimated at a cost of CHF1 billion ($1.02 billion) and should be completed by 2025.
Major renovation and construction work is also advancing elsewhere in Switzerland to meet growing passenger needs.
The central hall at Geneva’s Cornavin station was renovated in 2014. Further work is set to begin in 2024 on underground lines and platforms to expand rail lines through the station.
This expansion complements the Léman 2030 mega-project, which aims to double the passenger capacity of trains between Geneva and Lausanne. Meanwhile, Lausanne station will be completely renovated and expanded by 2025.
Zurich’s main railway station is the largest in Switzerland. Every day more than 400,000 people travel through. In 2014, a second underground station opened at Löwenstrasse, at the heart of a CHF2 billion cross-city link project aimed at dealing with increased traffic (up to half a million passengers by 2025).
To ease bottlenecks in Zurich’s sprawling S-Bahn regional train network, a fourth phase of expansion is also planned by the end of 2018. Four new tracks and around 40 infrastructure projects are envisaged across the canton, as well as 50 new double-decker trains to ease the overcrowding on many routes.