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Swiss, Germans and Austrians sign rail alliance

The Swiss Federal Railways are teaming up with their German and Austrian counterparts. (picture: SBB)

The Swiss Federal Railways have signed a deal with their German and Austrian counterparts to optimise cross-border passenger traffic.

The deal, signed in the German city of Munich, foresees a unified system for passengers and involves investment of SFr2.5 billion for about 130 new tilting trains.

"We want to create the best price/quality ratio on the European transport market," said Benedikt Weibel, chief executive of the Swiss Federal Railways. "The offer will include attractive products, attractive prices and a unified concept," he added.

It is foreseen that the new rolling stock will increase productivity of the three railways by five per cent per year.

The trains, probably of similar design to the Swiss Federal Railways' recently-launched ICN tilting trains, will come into service from 2005. Tenders to produce them will be invited at the end of summer.

The rail alliance will remain open to other partners, with a particular eye on welcoming Italy.

Swissinfo with agencies