Railway Reform steps

The revision of the Railways Act in 1996 and the Railway Reforms have strengthened the Swiss railways step by step, and caused the existing Swiss system to approach EU rules and standards. For example, Railway Reform 1 in 1999 changed the SBB was from a federal institution into a public limited company under special law. It also liberalised freight transport, separated the infrastructure (i.e. the rail network) from traffic operations in organisational and accounting terms, and introduced non-discriminatory access to the network.

On 23 February 2005 the Federal Council issued its Dispatch on Railway Reform 2; it was however not approved by Parliament, which sent it back for revisions. An additional Dispatch on Railway Reform 2 followed on 9 March 2007. This contained, under the title “Revision der Erlasse über den öffentlichen Verkehr” (Revision of legislation on public transport, in German), only the undisputed parts of the previous draft. Contents included the revision of the security services, the equal treatment of transport companies, and the further development of previous reforms. The revision came into force at the beginning of 2010.

On 20 October 2010 there followed the second step of Railway Reform 2 (Railway Reform 2.2). Its main components were taking over the EU’s Directives on safety and interoperability, and the legal integration of tendering for bus services. These amendments have been in force since mid-2013.

Further amendments to ensure free access to the network, to strengthen passengers’ rights, on international approvals and safety certificates, and on opening up international rail passenger traffic, are currently being implemented or tested.