Travellers in Switzerland are increasingly taking to the rails for trips abroad, with the Swiss Federal Railways reporting a 10% increase in demand for international journeys and 25% more demand for trips by night train.
According to a report in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, demand for night train journeys especially increased on stretches between Switzerland and the German cities of Berlin and Hamburg, while overall demand for international trips rose most on routes to France.
Federal Railways Spokesperson Sabine Baumgartner told the NZZ am Sonntag it was impossible to say how much of the increased demand for train travel is due to heightened concern about climate change among the public. But, she said, “we know from customer surveys that sustainability issues have become more important”.
The French-Swiss rail operator TGV Lyria will therefore offer 30% more seats on trains between Switzerland and France starting in December. This will be achieved by changing the entire fleet of high-speed trains between the countries to double-decker models, as Fabien Soulet, head of TGV Lyria, told the NZZ am Sonntag.
After having gotten rid of several night train routes in recent years, Federal Railways is discussing re-investing in sleeper trains, reacting to a climate-aware public increasingly having second thoughts about flying short distances. A decision about how and whether to build out the night train network is due next year.
swissinfo.ch/NZZ am Sonntag/vdv