From Academic Kids

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Swiss Federal Railways (SBB-CFF-FFS) is the national railway company of Switzerland. It provides both intercity and commuter rail as well as freight services.

Swiss Federal Railways is known by its acronyms in the four principal languages of Switzerland:

  • SBB - Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (German)
  • CFF - Chemins de Fer Fédéraux Suisses (French)
  • FFS - Ferrovie Federali Svizzere (Italian)
  • VFF - Viafers federalas svizras (Romansh)

Swiss Rail codeshares with American Airlines out of Zurich International Airport in Zürich.



Swiss Federal Railways was created January 1 1902 by the nationalisation of several private companies :

  • Aargauische Südbahn (ASB)
  • Bötzbergbahn (BöB)
  • Schweizerische Nordostbahn (NOB)
  • Schweizerische Centralbahn (SCB)
  • Toggenburgerbahn (TB)
  • Vereinigte Schweizerbahnen (VSB)
  • Wald-Rüti (WR)
  • Wohlen-Bremgarten (WB)

Other companies were included later, and the rail network was extended. It is still growing today.

In 1982 SBB-CFF-FFS introduced a regular schedule on an hourly basis, known as the Taktfahrplan, with trains for a given destination leaving every 60 minutes, which greatly simplified the timetable. On December 12 2004 the first phase of Rail2000, a ambitious program to improve the company's services, was introduced. Some destinations are now linked every 30 or 15 minutes and some winding tracks were straightened to allow trains to travel at higher speed. Due to these changes, 90% of the timetable was changed and travel times generally improved. Most of the improvements were made to intercity lines to the detriment of regional trains.

The company

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SBB logos applied to the side of a locomotive.

The Federal Railways operate 3069 km of standard gauge track (2928 km of which is electrified at 15 kV 16.7 Hz) and 74 km of narrow gauge (1000 mm) track (between Lucerne and Interlaken, also electrified at 15 kV 16.7 Hz). The narrow-gauge Brünigbahn is being sold to the Luzern-Stans-Engelberg-Bahn with effect from 1 January 2005, forming a new undertaking, the Zentralbahn which combines the Brünigbahn and the LSE. Since the federal government owns 47% of the LSE as well as 100% of the SBB, the line will remain more-or-less in state ownership.

Every year, more than 300 million travellers and 60 million tons of freight are transported by 27,000 workers.


As of 1999 Swiss Federal Railways is officially a private company or AG (Aktiengesellschaft - stock company) which is wholly owned by the Swiss Federal Government and the Swiss Cantons. The infrastructure of the railroad is treated similarly to that of a federal highway, being subsidized by the government for regular maintenance and capital investment. Swiss federal law dictates that the infrastructure (rather the rails) of the entire Federal Railway system must be available to outside parties at equitable prices. Therefore, the Infrastructure division of the Federal Railways receives set "tolls" from all companies that operate on their rails, including their own.

Local commuter rail services are "ordered" individually by each canton as a distinct service; this principle of ordering allows the SBB CFF FFS to offset operational losses in this sector of the market. Intercity rail is not directly subsidized since it is profitable.

Swiss Federal Railways is also the major supplier of freight rail services in Switzerland. This section of the company has been split off to become a semi-autonomous division called SBB Cargo.

Prominent SBB train sets

The most famous of all SBB train sets used to be the "green vehicles", which were mainly green in appearance. These, however, are now being replaced by the IC 2000 double-decker trains, or they are being remodelled with closed lavatory systems and a new look.

The SBB also has the famous ICN or Intercity Tilting Train, which was a major transportational player in Expo.02.


The SBB has the following services:

Regional Trains are sometimes operated with another Swiss railways operator. The SBB also operates EuroCity trains within Switzerland.

External links

als:SBB fr:Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses nl:Schweizerische Bundesbahnen sv:SBB-CFF-FFS


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