The 2025 Expansion Step aims to increase capacity in major rail hubs such as Geneva, Basel and Bern, as well as in many other smaller towns. This will enable more passenger and freight trains to operate and create additional space for travellers at railway stations.
Expansion of services and infrastructure
Under the 2025 Expansion Step, quarter and half-hourly services will be introduced gradually on various routes. Tourist regions will be better connected to the main transport links, while longer trains and double-decker carriages will be able to operate on selected routes. The expansion programme will also create greater space for travellers at railway stations and on platforms. Moreover, freight traffic will have binding operating rights on train paths between essential hubs, enabling better and more reliable planning.
These improvements require a range of upgrades, including a new underground station in Geneva, additional construction near Bern and Basel railway stations, a new double-track tunnel by Lake Biel, passing and turnaround loops, overpasses and storage sidings.
The first projects were completed and went into operation in 2019. Projects such as the upgrading of the Geneva, Bern and Basel hubs are larger and more complex and will therefore only become operational around 2030.
Improvements in long-distance services include:
- Shorter travel times on the Lausanne–Bern route
- More frequent services on the Geneva–Lausanne route
- A half-hourly Interregio (IR) service on the Bern–Lucerne route and the Regioexpress (RE) service on the Bern–Neuchâtel route
- A half-hourly Intercity (IC) service on the Zurich–Chur route (plus internationally operating trains)
- 400 metre-long trains on the St Gallen–Bern–Geneva Airport route and the Basel–Bern–
Thun–Interlaken East/Brig route
- Additional trains on the Bern–Thun route
Quarter-hourly services will be possible on the following regional lines:
Half-hourly services will be introduced on the following routes:
- Aarau–Dietikon (–Zurich)
- (Chur–) Sargans–Buchs–St Gallen
- Major Rhaetian Railway routes
Various services in the Burgdorf and Neuchâtel areas will also be expanded.
Freight traffic will also benefit from the 2025 Expansion Step. Improvements include:
- Greater freight train capacity between the Basel and Limmattal marshalling yards.
- Expanding the southern Jura line to provide freight traffic with better links between the Lausanne and Limmattal marshalling yards.
- Ensuring the required number of journeys from the Limmattal marshalling yard to Sargans and Ticino.
The 2025 Expansion Step no longer includes a specific services concept. Following a parliamentary decision on 21 June 2019 the services concept for the 2035 Expansion Step has become the new basis for planning. The network diagrams for the ES2035 service concept serve as the technical basis for implementing the 2035 and 2025 expansion steps and the ZEB programme. The infrastructure measures under the ZEB programme and the 2025 Expansion Step were taken into consideration and examined while planning the 2035 Expansion Step, which assures upward compatibility with a view to services and additional traffic.