The purpose of the Network usage concept and Network usage plans is to secure equitable train paths for freight and passenger traffic on the Swiss rail network, and to allow an attractive service for both types of traffic in the long term.
The Network usage concept and Network usage plans are based on the Expansion steps for rail infrastructure, currently on Expansion steps 2025 with the corresponding service concept for that target year. They ensure that the future demands of freight and passenger transport can be met. Thanks to the binding nature of train path planning, and the allocation of the available train paths to the different types of traffic, in particular the train paths necessary for freight traffic – in terms of both quantity and quality – can be secured in the long term, so it this is not displaced by the expansion of passenger traffic.
The Network usage concept lays down the planned train path usage over one model hour, for all sections of the rail network. It plans at least one freight train path per hour and in each direction on double-track sections and one train path per hour on sections that are mostly single-track. Transalpine freight traffic requires four train paths per hour in each direction on the Basel-Gotthard-Chiasso route, two on the Basel-Gotthard-Luino route, and three and a half on the Basel-Lötschberg-Domodossola route. It is the Federal Council’s responsibility to approve the Network usage concept and its updating.
The Network usage plans lay down train path securing in detail, related to the individual timetable years. The Network usage plans are drawn up by the infrastructure managers six years before the timetable year in question, and updated as required. The FOT approves the Network usage plans at the request of the infrastructure managers. These plans are binding for infrastructure managers and the authorities, and serve as a basis for train path allocation.