SBB to purchase 116 new trains as part of "several billion" franc order

SBB to purchase 116 new trains as part of "several billion" franc order

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the main public transport provider in Switzerland, has confirmed that it will be purchasing 116 brand-new trains worth billions of francs. The plans will see most of the trains serve on the S-Bahn network in Canton Zurich.

SBB to buy 116 brand-new double-decker trains

In a statement, SBB confirmed that it would be looking to purchase 116 brand-new double-decker trains, which will be deployed onto the network “in the 2030s.” While they were unable to give a precise figure, officials estimated that “the order will be worth several billion francs”, making it one of the most expensive orders in the company’s history.

The order will be on top of the one announced in October 2021, when it was revealed that the company would purchase 286 single-decker regional trains from Swiss international company Stadler at a cost of 2 billion francs. These trains are set to take to the tracks from December 2025 and mainly run on regional S-Bahn lines.

Regarding the new order, SBB confirmed that 95 of the new trains will be used on the S-Bahn network of Canton Zurich. They explained that “the trains of the first generation of the Zurich S-Bahn must be replaced after 40 years of good and loyal service.” 21 of the new trains will be used in French-speaking Switzerland, specifically in Canton Vaud, Valais and to a lesser extent Geneva.

New train fleet integral to rail expansion plans in Switzerland

The new locos are seen as essential if SBB is to fulfil its dramatic expansion plans for 2035. In 10 years time, the company expects to run trains at 15-minute intervals on a majority of S-Bahn lines in Zurich, necessitating the expansion of the fleet. With this goal in mind, SBB said it wanted trains designed for journeys with numerous stops and short distances between stations.

As to what the trains will look like, SBB said that they should be 150 metres longer than traditional S-Bahns, meaning they will accommodate 1.000 seated passengers at their largest. Like the new regional trains introduced last year, they also hope to modify the carriages to accommodate more bicycles and luggage.

However, one question that remains to be answered is which company will win the billion-franc contract, though 20 Minuten predicted that Thurgau-based company Stadler, French firm Alstom and its new subsidiary Bombardier are the likely front runners. The contract will be officially awarded at the beginning of 2025.

Thumb image credit: pick2510 /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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