SBB announces cuts to services in French-speaking Switzerland
Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the main public transport provider in Switzerland, has been forced to revise its timetable for the Romande region. Between August 14 and December 9, 2023, a number of services on lines around Geneva and Lausanne will be slower, cancelled or modified due to maintenance work. Here’s what you need to know:
Maintenance forced SBB timetable change
In a statement given to Watson, SBB confirmed that it will have to change the rail timetable in French-speaking Switzerland between August 14 and when the new timetable comes into effect in December. “This major timetable change is necessary to allow the complete renewal of one of the two traffic lanes between Puidoux and Palézieux (Vaud)... With only one track remaining in service, rail traffic is severely limited in the area”, the company wrote.
As a result, several services to and from Lausanne and beyond will be cut, slowed or reduced. The announcement comes only months after the company confirmed that it will be forced to cut the timetable in the region further by 2025, so that it can perform major maintenance and renovation works on the network.
Swiss Intercity (IC) and Interregional (IR) trains affected
Between August 14 and December 9, 2023, Intercity (IC) 1 services between Geneva, Bern, Zurich and St. Gallen, and Interregional (IR) 15 services (Geneva - Lausanne - Bern - Lucerne) will depart slightly earlier from Bern and leave Geneva later. IC1s will now stop at Nyon and Morges, while the IR 90 service (Geneva Airport - Lausanne - Brig) will no longer halt at the two stations.
As a result of the changes, total journey times on IC 1 and IR 15 trains will be lengthened by 15 and nine minutes respectively - thanks to not stopping at Nyon and Morges, the IR 90 will be 14 minutes quicker. SBB also warned that quick onward connections from Lausanne using any of these services will no longer be possible. Passengers are encouraged to anticipate and prepare for delays.
Commuter trains around Lausanne also cut until December
The timetable change is also set to hit regional and local services: S5 and RER services between Lausanne, Palézieux and Romont will be replaced by buses between Puidoux and Palézieux. The S9 between Lausanne and Palézieux will be cancelled and a replacement bus will run from Moudon during peak times - which will take travellers to Epalinges, Croisettes, so that passengers can then take the M2 metro line to Lausanne.
Finally, SBB confirmed that instead of adopting the new timetable on December 10, the Romande region will be subject to the same schedule in place before the disruption began. They also announced that they will not provide any financial compensation to passengers affected.
Officials baulk at cuts to rail services in the Romande
Needless to say, the change has not gone down well with the government, especially officials from the Romande who were already left reeling from the cuts to services announced in SBB’s 2025 plan. Speaking to Watson, Green Party National Councillor Pasquier Eichenberger said that the new announcement was “the icing on the cake.”