SBB announces new 3,3 billion franc megaproject for Lucerne HB

SBB announces new 3,3 billion franc megaproject for Lucerne HB

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the main public transport provider in Switzerland, has announced a new 3,3 billion franc megaproject designed to upgrade and expand the main station in Lucerne. The project, named in the media as one of the largest rail upgrades in Swiss history, would see an entirely new station, tunnel and rail line constructed beneath Lucerne HB.

New station to be built underneath Lucerne HB

The project, first commissioned by the Federal Office of Transport in 2019, will see a whole new underground station built underneath the existing platforms at Lucerne HB. Beneath platforms eight to 13, four new tracks will be created that will connect to the project's two most prominent features.

Along with the station, a brand new 3.5-kilometre-long tunnel will be built from the station, underneath Lake Lucerne and the city itself, through the hill to join the existing track at Ebikon. Instead of draining the lake, SBB announced that pieces of the new Dreilinden Tunnel will be sunk and joined together on the lake floor, making it less damaging for local wildlife.

Finally, the project will also include a 2,1-kilometre tunnel that will connect the new platforms and Dreilinden Tunnel to the existing network west of the station. The total cost? 3,3 billion Swiss francs.

Dreilinden Tunnel to reduce Swiss train delays

In a statement, SBB explained that the project is designed to reduce bottlenecks and delays in and around Lucerne. Around 100.000 people and over 700 trains use the station each day, but unfortunately, the current routes leading into Lucerne are mostly single or double-track rail lines, meaning SBB can’t offer as many trains, and those they do run are more vulnerable to delays.

Local official Fabian Peter told 20 Minuten that the new project will expand public transport services across central Switzerland, and ensure faster, direct connections between Lucerne and other Swiss cities like Bern, Basel, Zug and Zurich. "An attractive range of public transport services is crucial”, he added.

SBB confirms Lucerne megaproject proceeding on schedule

SBB said that it had recently completed preliminary surveying work, which found that the project is feasible. “So far the project has gone well and we are satisfied. Four years ago, we set ourselves the goal of completing the project in spring 2023, and the deadlines were met on time," noted project manager Massimo Guglielmetti. 

However, with a project of this scale, Guglielmetti said the residents of the city will have to wait a while before they get to use the Neustadt Tunnel. If all goes well and the project is approved by lawmakers, construction should start in the 2030s, with the tunnel officially opening 11 to 13 years after the ground is broken.

You can see where the new tunnel will go in the video below (in German):

Video: SBB CFF FFS / YouTube

Thumb image credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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