SBB defines a schedule concept on the Gotthard route till 2020: One hour faster from the German speaking part of Switzerland to Ticino and to Italy.
Faster connections, more trains: SBB has defined the running times from the beginning of the timetable change 2016/2017 till 2020. The two base tunnels through the Gotthard and Ceneri reduce the journey time at the moment for about one hour. The journey from Zurich to Lugano will therefore take less than two hours and the one to Milan less than three hours. Also defined is the offer on the previous mountain track. On the 08.08.2013 SBB CEO Andreas Meyer informed in Bellinzona about the schedule concept. At the same time he also presented the project for the new station of the canton capital. From 2016, the first passengers will use the Gotthard Base Tunnel as a newly designed gate to Ticino.
When the longest railway tunnel in the world is put into operation, Switzerland will be in the international spotlight: From 11 December 2016 (timetable change 2016/2017) the trains run regularly through the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT). About three years later, the initial operation of the Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT) between Bellinzona and Lugano will follow. The SBB presented in Bellinzona for the first time how big the travel time reductions will be because of the two NEAT buildings. "Our customers are facing a major supply jump: In a few years the German-speaking part of Switzerland and Ticino will move closer together," said SBB CEO Andreas Meyer. By 2020, the travel time will be reduced significantly (see table). Thanks to a better distribution of the connections, already mid-2014, there will be half hour connections between Lugano and Zurich, from 2020 on will be valid the continuous half hour timing. The connections on the north-south axis will also be progressively more reliable and stable. The present timetable concepts have been developed in close cooperation with the Gotthard cantons, the Federal Office of Transport and the partners in Italy. Final details will be clarified in the next months.
More and faster trains double the number of passengers
Andreas Meyer is convinced: "The demands in the north-south traffic will change fundamentally". Today about 9000 people drive daily with the SBB over the Gotthard. By 2025, the number of passengers should double due to the agglomeration and acceleration of the offer. Already in 2020, SBB expects at least 15,000 travelers per day - this especially in free-time and business travel. In order to be able to carry the extra passengers more new trains will be purchased till 2020.
Improvements for Ticino and cross-border train traffic
Also the public transport in Ticino is further improved. Because of the Ceneri Base-Tunnel the Sottoceneri and Sopraceneri move closer together. Travel times will shrink to just 15 minutes from Bellinzona to Lugano. Between Locarno and Lugano direct trains will run every half an hour with a journey time of less than half an hour. Already in 2015 in Mendrisio begins a new era in cross-border trade: From then Varese shall be integrated into the S-Bahn system TILO with direct trains from Lugano and Como every half an hour. The new line S 50 will connect Ticino hourly with the Airport Milan Malpensa.
Every hour on the previous mountain route
In addition to the new route through the Gotthard base tunnel, SBB will continue to operate the existing mountain route. The offer has already been defined in cooperation with the Cantons and the Federal Office of Transport, the financing will be arranged by the end of 2013. It has been planned an hourly offer with connections to long-distance transport in Erstfeld, Bellinzona and Lugano. The inter-regional trains from Basel and Zurich in the future will run to Erstfeld, at the same time the regional express line from TILO over Biasca will be extended to there. The modern FLIRT wagons used for this purpose are equipped with low floor access, air conditioning and large windos and are ideal for excursions travel. New direct connections from the Gottard region and the Levantine to Lugano, Mendrisio and Chiasso will be available. On weekends individual inter-regional trains will be extended to Göschenen, with connections to the Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn trains to Andermatt. For travelers from Schwyz and Uri, there will be in the morning and evening the future "Innerschweizer Sprinter", a direct connection to Zug and Zurich - similar to the Glarner Sprinter. "The mountain route has tourism potential, which should be used in cooperation with our partners," says Andreas Meyer. First offers are already available: gotthard www.sbb.ch /.
Progressively shorter traveling times
The connections will be faster and more comfortable step by step. From the beginning of operation of the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) end of 2016 till the beginning of operation of the Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT) will exist a temporary timetable. From 2017 to 2018, the east side of Lake Zug will be blocked and the trains will be diverted via Rotkreuz, also the route Axen will be renovated. Work on Lake Zug affect only the connections from Zurich, but not those from Basel and Lucerne. From 2018, the work at Lake Zug will be completed. From 2020, when also the Ceneri base tunnel will be operating, the customers will benefit from the full travel time benefit.
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