2014 timetable: Launch of the new S-Bahn St. Gallen – expanded regional and international services.
The timetable changes that come into effect on 15 December 2013 will bring further improvement to public transport for customers in eastern Switzerland. The launch of the new S-Bahn St. Gallen network marks the introduction of half-hourly services on the region's main routes. The journey time of Rhine Valley Express trains between St. Gallen and Chur is reduced by 12 minutes. Regio Express services are being introduced on the Zurich – Chur line. In Frenchspeaking Switzerland, SBB is improving its services on the lines from Biel/Bienne–Sonceboz to Moutier and to La Chaux-de-Fonds. Where international rail journeys are concerned, SBB is improving its services to Austria and on the North-South corridor and is adding new Munich services. The timetable on the North-South corridor will be stabilised by mid-2014, and services will be better coordinated with the Milan rail hub. The Zurich cross-city link will become operational in mid-June 2014. In parallel to the timetable improvements, SBB is steadily raising comfort levels by introducing new rolling stock.
The new S-Bahn St. Gallen will commence operations when the change of timetable takes effect on 15 December. Customers will benefit from more frequent services: trains will run at least every half hour on the principal S-Bahn lines. The Rhine Valley Express (REX) service, which has been operating with new "Regio Dosto" doubledeck trains between Chur and St. Gallen since 9 June 2013, is being extended to Wil (SG). Route upgrades will cut the journey time between the two cantonal capitals of St. Gallen and Chur by 12 minutes, as trains will be able to travel at up to 160 km/h. From December 2013, the REX service will also have improved connections in Sargans for Zurich HB and in Landquart and Chur for the Rhätische Bahn (RhB) network.
On the other hand, the REX will no longer stop at St. Gallen St. Fiden, Rheineck and Maienfeld – though to make up for this, these places will benefit from an improved S-Bahn service. Since its introduction in June 2013 the "new" REX has been operating without the systematic presence of train attendants. A specially-designed safety concept involving the Transport Police, together with other security staff on certain legs of the journey, means that high safety standards have been maintained.
By Regio-Express from Zurich to Chur
Beginning in December 2013, SBB will offer travellers between Zurich and Chur new Regio-Express connections with regional double-deck trains. These will replace the existing Interregio trains. As a result of this change, trains will now stop at Siebnen- Wangen and Walenstadt but will no longer serve Bad Ragaz. There are still attractive connections between Zurich and Bad Ragaz, with changes in Sargans – some of them with shorter journey times. This is because of the introduction of a half-hourly regional service (S12) from Chur to Sargans, with fast connections to the IC to Zurich.
Connections to the canton of Graubünden from Basel and Germany continue to be provided by Basel – Chur InterCity trains and the daily Hamburg–Chur EuroCity connection.
With the opening of the first phase of the Zurich cross-city link on 15 June 2014, passengers will have even more services to choose from. A half-hourly S-Bahn service will be introduced on the Zurich–Zug route, together with faster connections between Zurich and Ziegelbrücke. Beginning in mid-2014 the GlarnerSprinter will be integrated into the Zurich S-Bahn as S25, providing an hourly service between Zurich HB and Linthal. Also from mid-June 2014, the S2, S8 and S14 S-Bahn services will use the cross-city link route and stop at the new underground Löwenstrasse station. Trains will run from there through the new Weinberg tunnel to Zurich Oerlikon. The journey time between Zurich Enge and Zurich Oerlikon will be reduced by five minutes. On the S8 route between Zurich and Winterthur, passengers will reach their destination around four minutes faster from mid-June 2014. The Zurich–Chur line will be further upgraded: from 15 June 2014 there will be additional InterCity train services between Zurich and Chur.
Step-by-step improvements to international services
When the "mini "timetable change"" takes effect in mid-June 2014, SBB will separate national and international services through the Gotthard. International EuroCity connections from Zurich will be shifted by half an hour. When the two-hourly international trains are running, a half-hourly service between Zurich and Lugano will thus operate.
In future, EuroCity trains will arrive at the Milan Central rail hub at 35 minutes past the hour instead of 50 minutes past the hour. This will help passengers in Milan to catch important connections on the Italian high-speed network that depart on the hour. In order to stabilise services and minimise delays, the journey time is being increased by some 20 minutes. The adjusted transfer times in Milan will improve the overall situation for travellers on the North-South corridor.
On the Switzerland – Austria route, ÖBB and SBB will provide a new two-hourly service throughout the day as of the timetable change.
The current service – six Railjet trains per day plus two EuroNight trains in each direction – will be supplemented by an additional Transalpin train between Zurich and Graz. As well as a further direct connection to Graz, this train will also once again give travellers the opportunity to take their bikes with them to Austria during the day.
In Innsbruck passengers can change to a RailJet for Vienna.
SBB GmbH is now also increasing its hourly service between Schaffhausen and Erzingen to half-hourly, with stops at all stations. The offering will be stepped up further to 15-minute intervals at peak travel times on Monday-Friday. In addition, passengers will benefit from improved connections with trains to and from Schaffhausen station and to and from Klettgau bus services.
On most weekends of the year there will be an additional train pair between Zurich, St. Gallen and Munich. In addition to the Eurocity rail service, DB and SBB now offer a supplementary IC Bus service between Zurich and Munich. Because of these IC Buses, there will in future be a departure from Zurich to Munich and vice versa at least every two hours. Unlike the trains, the buses will travel non-stop – completing the journey between Zurich and Munich in 3¾ hours, less than the trains. This service, which is being included in the DB and SBB price and information systems, will operate until the route between Lindau and Munich has been upgraded.
On winter Saturdays, the CityNight Line train from Amsterdam/Hamburg to Zurich will now be extended to Chur instead of Brig.
When the timetable changes, the TGV Lyria from Berne to Paris will travel via Basel. Because of the cancellation of the direct service via Neuchâtel-Pontarlier, SBB – in collaboration with SNCF, the canton of Neuchâtel and the Franche-Comté region – has developed a service from the cantonal capital to Frasne with connections to the TGV Lyria from Lausanne to Paris. With three RegioExpress trains a day, customers in the Neuchâtel area now have an attractive service to the French capital with a direct ticket and reserved seats.
Further improvements in Ticino
Further changes will also be made to the S10 and S20 rapid transit services in Ticino. The new station at Mendrisio San Martino will come into service, for example. As before, travellers can get from Lake Maggiore to Lake Lugano and vice versa in less than an hour, with departures every 30 minutes. At peak times new Domino trains will come into service on all of Ticino's main S-Bahn routes, replacing outdated rolling stock.
Introduction of an "Horaire Romandie" generates new customers
In western Switzerland, SBB is optimising train services from Biel/Bienne to Sonceboz- Sombeval–Moutier and to La Chaux-de-Fonds by dividing existing services. Customers from the Vallée de Tavannes will benefit from more direct trains to and from Biel/Bienne. In future 13 StadlerRail GTW 2/8 articulated units, which SBB is taking
over from BLS, will be used on this route. They were acquired in 2003/2004 from what was then known as Mittelland Regionalverkehr, becoming part of the BLS fleet with the 2006 merger.
These units are progressively being repainted in SBB livery. When the timetable changes, the Biel/Bienne Bözingenfeld/Champs-de-Boujean and Solothurn Allmend stops will also come into operation between Biel/Bienne and Solothurn.
The "Horaire Romandie" introduced in December 2012 has been a great success. Customers in French-speaking Switzerland particularly appreciate the half-hourly service between Geneva and Lausanne, seeing it as a valuable addition to the services previously on offer. Passengers now benefit from more seats in the new double- deck trains. The line along Lake Geneva is being used by more and more passengers: approximately 50,000 a day, equivalent to an increase in demand of more than 5%. The timetable change will bring another 27 modern coaches into service on the route between Geneva airport and Brig. As a result, 95% of the IR trains on this route will have air conditioning.
Customers will also benefit from the abolition of the night supplement in the canton of Vaud.
Further expansion of the City-Ticket, more uniform fares
42 Swiss destinations are currently integrated into the "direct traffic" (throughticketing) system thanks to "City-Tickets". The public transport sector has decided on the further expansion and enhancement of this service: in future, more than 30 more towns and cities will be included in the City-Ticket offering. The industry is meeting both the needs of its passengers and the requirements of the Federal Passenger Transport Act. This expansion, too, will coincide with the change of timetable.
Customer-friendly, simple, dependable
This year SBB and its partners in the public transport sector have reviewed their rules and fares to identify possible "customer traps", and taken rapid corrective action. There has been a sharp reduction in the number of "via" options, for example – and with the introduction of the "platform ticket" passengers can now buy tickets even shortly before trains depart. In the same context, SBB has also decided together with the rest of the public transport industry that passengers can, as a rule, also present non-transferable rail passes – the Gleis 7 pass, for example – after the journey has been completed. A fee of CHF 5 is still charged for this service.