SBB and ÖBB will intensify their long-term cooperation in international passenger transport. The two partner railways intend to expand the already existing offer both for daytime and overnight trains.
Picture from Zürich 27.7. 2019 – SBB logo on a NightJet couchette car
Demand for international rail traffic increased significantly in the first half of 2019. In addition to the step-by-step expansion of supply, the raising awareness of sustainability and climate protection has contributed to strong increases in demand for environmentally friendly rail travel, according to the Swiss Federal Railways. SBB has been pursuing a cooperation strategy nationally and internationally for many years and has steadily expanded its offer together with other railways in neighboring countries.
In order to further take into account the current and future development of international passenger transport, SBB and the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) have decided to further expand their cooperation both for daytime and overnight trains. Already agreed and in preparation is the expansion of the EuroCity (EC) between Zurich-Bregenz and Munich, which will be expanded from December 2020 to six daily connections per direction.
The following measures have been agreed for the development of the joint night train services:
In the case of connections already offered today – in particular between Zurich-Basel and Berlin as well as Hamburg – a capacity expansion is being examined. These NightJet connections have reached their capacity limits due to the high demand increases.
For the offer, which currently only consists of sleeping cars, between Zurich and Prague, the possibility of extending the offer with additional couchettes is to be examined together with the Czech Railways (CD).
In addition, both cooperation partners are aiming to include other European cities to be co-determined in the common NightJet network and to connect them with Switzerland.
Together, SBB and ÖBB also want to promote better transport policy conditions for the operation of night trains, for example via the financial support for night trains with CO2 levies, as well as a reduction in incidental operating costs such as track usage charges.
With NightJet, ÖBB is the largest provider of night traffic in Europe and has made a significant contribution to the preservation of overnight trains from Switzerland as part of the existing cooperation. “We are convinced of the success of the NightJet, which is why we are continuing to invest and have already ordered 13 new Nightjet sets of the latest generation – the trains are just beginning to be produced, and in the course of the year 2022 the new trains will be in the modern design and with even more Comfort in use”, says Andreas Matthä, CEO of ÖBB.
Andreas Meyer, CEO of SBB, is convinced that the demand for rail travel for fast daily and night trains will continue to increase. “I assume that this development is sustainable and the demand for environmentally friendly and resource-efficient mobility will increase, especially among young customers,” he continues.
For SBB and ÖBB, night traffic is an important component of the overall service offering great potential for synergy with daily connections. An attractive range of rail services supports the goal of relocating short-haul air traffic to rail.
With the offer of night trains to Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, Graz, Budapest, Prague and Zagreb, Zurich is already the second largest hub for night traffic in Europe. Only in Vienna start and end more night trains than in Zurich.