Expansion step 2035 (STEP ES 2035).

By 2040, almost two million people will be travelling by rail every day — that’s 30% more than today. Confederation forecasts indicate that railway freight traffic will increase by around 45%. 

The Swiss Confederation and SBB want to expand the Swiss rail network in a customer-focused and cost-effective way through a strategic development programme (STEP). Expansion step 2035 (STEP ES 2035) is the second expansion step of the programme. The Swiss Parliament has approved just under CHF 15 billion for the overall package.

The 2035 service concept aims to eliminate the major capacity bottlenecks on the Swiss rail network to provide attractive services in line with demand in passenger and freight traffic. Services will be expanded significantly throughout Switzerland – but the main goal is to provide more connections rather than to cut journey times. 

A brief overview of the goals of expansion step 2035:

  • In future, services on almost all long-distance lines will run every half an hour, while today they generally operate an hourly service.
  • SBB will introduce a quarter-hourly service on long-distance lines which experience high demand, providing many customers with a cohesive quarter-hourly cadence network. This way, today’s very busy trains can be effectively freed up. This is the next quantum leap in Swiss public transport.
  • In future, freight services on the east–west axis will run every half hour and, thanks to the express network, will travel throughout Switzerland more quickly.

The main projects in expansion step 2035 are:

  • ‘MehrSpur’ (more tracks) Zürich–Winterthur
  • Zimmerberg Base Tunnel II (ZBT II)
  • Increase of capacity for Geneva–Lausanne – Morges-Perroy tunnel (despatch 2023)
  • Neuchâtel–La Chaux-de-Fonds direct connection 
  • Various measures for the systematisation of the Swiss plateau (between Biel/Bern–Zurich/Basel)