SWITZERLAND: Following last year's announcement that it is to invest SFr606m replacing its fleet of infrastructure maintenance vehicles, Swiss Federal Railways has decided to consolidate overhauls at Biel from 2014.

Light and heavy maintenance of the infrastructure fleet of 2 500 vehicles with an average age of 33 years is currently spread between several workshops operated by SBB's passenger and freight divisions. From 2014 work will be concentrated at Biel and managed by the passenger division. This is expected to improve the overall availability of the maintenance fleet.

SBB has been working for several years to rationalise its maintenance workshops to reflect a declining workload. Biel once handled large volumes of wagon overhauls, and now specialises in maintenance of diesel-powered vehicles. It will become a centre of excellence for infrastructure equipment, supported by local units at Zürich Altstetten, Lonay, Bellinzona and Biasca.

With SBB Cargo withdrawing from its current role, 45 employees at Lonay and Olten will be transferred to Biel or elsewhere. SBB says there will be no redundancies.