SWISS Federal Railways introduced an accelerated overnight service for domestic freight on June 11. Offering later loading times and earlier deliveries than existing wagonload services, Cargo Express combines SBB’s former Cargo Rail Rapid and Cargo Domizil networks and relies on a network of trains that converge on yards at Bern and Däniken, near Zürich. Wagons are then exchanged and dispatched to be ready for unloading from 04.00 the following morning.

Cargo Express operates around 50 trains on Mondays to Fridays. Dispatch and delivery is available at 14 terminals, dispatch only from 20 locations and delivery only at 21 depots. Container services that had run experimentally in conventional overnight wagonload trains have been integrated into Cargo Express, and these link Genève La Praille and Renens with Bern, and Lugano Vedeggio and Dietikon with Däniken. SBB hopes that CEx will increase revenue and market share of its growing domestic freight business which last year reached 2150 million tonne-km compared with 1424 million in 1997. The first four months of this year saw a 16% increase over 2000.

For around 10 years SBB has operated ACTS wagons that allow small containers to be switched between road and rail using a swing-tray technique. It has now added the Mobiler horizontal transfer technique from Palfinger-Bermüller. SBB is planning to undertake further development of Mobiler with DB and ÖBB.