New direct rail connections from Zurich to London, Madrid and Stockholm approved
Cantonal authorities in Zurich have accepted a plan that will create direct rail connections between Zurich and other major European cities like London, Madrid and Stockholm. Local officials now have two years to come up with a new timetable that will make the plan a reality.
International rail travel from Zurich to be expanded
At a meeting on October 25, the Cantonal Council of Zurich voted to change the canton’s strategy for international rail travel. The motion, submitted by the Green, Social Democratic and Green Liberal parties, argued that the current international routes offered by Swiss public transport, like Zurich to Paris and Stuttgart, or the new night train from Zurich to Amsterdam, are too small in scope and need to be expanded.
“It is the task of the canton of Zurich to play an active role as a hub for rail traffic,” noted cantonal councillor Thomas Schweizer. Speaking to the Tages-Anzeiger, he argued that the canton should invest heavily in international rail travel, in the same way the government invests in international air travel by propping up Zurich Airport with tax relief.
Direct rail services between Zurich and London announced
As part of the new plan, Zurich will be connected to “as many European economic areas as possible”, with direct rail connections between Zurich and Brussels, London, Madrid, Stockholm, Prague and Warsaw. The routes will be served by as many day trains as possible and some night train services.
The motion was passed by 119 votes to 49. The only opposition to the plan came from the Swiss People’s Party, which argued that it shouldn't be up to a single Swiss canton to organise and run rail traffic abroad and that the plan would weaken Zurich Airport. In addition, while members of FDP. The Liberals voted for the plan, a spokesperson told the Tages-Anzeiger that the timetable should only cover cities “in the immediate vicinity” of Zurich.
New Swiss inter-city timetable to be finalised in 2024
The government now has until 2024 to create a new timetable that will include the new long-distance services. Supporters hoped that the plan will allow Zurich to be better connected to the capitals and major cities of Europe by rail.