SBB to order over 120 new trains for the railways in Switzerland
Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has confirmed that it will be ordering more than 120 new trains for the network, at a cost of 2 billion francs. The new vehicles will be used across all public transport services in Switzerland, with a focus on Canton Zurich.
120 new trains for Swiss rail services
In a letter leaked to Watson, SBB confirmed that it was in the process of buying more than 120 new trains for use on the network in Switzerland. The trains are designed to eventually replace the older double-decker trains still used on S-Bahn services in Zurich, and will also be used on Interregional services across the country.
According to SBB spokesperson Oli Dishoe, the new railway stock will allow them to extend and expand a large number of different rail lines in Switzerland from 2030, ranging from new routes to more frequent services. The company has recently seen passenger numbers return to pre-pandemic levels, which has given new expansion projects the green light.
New order the most expensive in Swiss Federal Railways history
Watson confirmed that the order is likely to cost in the region of 2 billion francs, which would make the purchase the most expensive order in the history of Swiss railways. In response, Dishoe countered that the new trains will dramatically reduce maintenance costs and that the new vehicles will have “improved toilets and First class cabin.”
While the purchase of the trains has been confirmed, questions remain about who will actually fulfil the order. So far, Stadler, a Swiss international company based in Canton Thurgau, is in the driving seat to build the trains as they are already building 286 single-decker trains for SBB, after the company placed the largest order in Swiss railway history in 2021.
Competition rages over who will build new S-Bahn trains
However, speaking to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, German international company Siemens announced that they would also be competing for the deal, with CEO Gerd Scheller noting that "If the SBB were only perceived as Stadler-Federal Railways, this would be very bad for future innovations and investments in the Swiss railway industry." He made the point that more competition over the order would likely reduce the cost and therefore prove less of a burden on Swiss taxes.
Siemens, which employs 6.000 workers in Switzerland, argued that they were ideally placed to fulfil the order as they have already built 61 S-Bahn trains in the past. The winner of the contest is likely to be announced in 2024.
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