SWITZERLAND: Passenger services on the Durchmesserlinie cross-city line though Zürich began on June 15. Around 200 000 people attended celebratory events the previous day, and 10 000 travelled on free preview services.

Described by Swiss Federal Railways as biggest development in the history of the Zürich S-Bahn, the 9·6 km Durchmesserlinie is being built to provide a through route across the city for both local and inter-city trains, eliminating the need for east–west trains to reverse at the Zürich Hauptbahnhof terminus. SBB expects this to provide the city’s rail network with the capacity to meet predicted increases in public transport ridership for the ‘foreseeable future’.

The central element of the project is the 4·8 km double track Weinberg Tunnel, which starts at the western approaches to Zürich HB and curves round in an S-shape to join the existing line at Oerlikon to the northeast. At Löwenstrasse, underground platforms 31-34 have been built 16 m below the terminating platforms at Zürich HB.

Construction of the line has taken seven years at a cost of SFr2·03bn, with the canton meeting a third of the cost and the federal government the remainder.

The line is initially being used by services S2, S8 and S14 on the Wiedikon – Oerlikon route, with a new viaduct still under construction to link the tunnel to the main line running westwards to Altstetten. Long-distance services are due to begin using the tunnel from the December 2015 timetable change, with the Löwenstrasse platforms to be served by 140 long-distance and 320 commuter trains a day.

‘The opening of the Durchmesserlinie is game-changing for our customers, who will benefit from shorter travel times, more comfortable travel and additional connections’, said SBB CEO Andreas Meyer at the opening. ‘We are proud of this two-billion franc project, which can be described as a masterpiece.’