SWISS Federal Railways confirmed on November 28 that it would not, after all, switch the operation of all trains on the Mattstetten - Rothrist line to ETCS Level 2 in December. Target date is now April.Another step towards the changeover came on December 10, when freight trains running on the parallel section of the Bern - Z?rich main line during the night were rerouted on to the new line to use Level 2. Previously SBB had run around 30 passenger trains a day over the line using ETCS between 21.00 and the close of operations.The first commercial services using Level 2 ran in July, and SBB reports that 96% of passenger trains expected to use ETCS since then have done so. About 500 locomotives, driving trailers and power cars have been converted, running a combined total of 250 000 km in ETCS mode.SBB plans to use the coming weeks for an intensive programme of work with its suppliers ’to optimise the whole ETCS system’. From April the aim is to run at a maximum of 160 km/h, rising to 200 km/h with 2 min headways from December 2007.Although trains using Level 2 have been running at 300 km/h on the largely self-contained Roma - Napoli line in Italy for more than a year, we believe the SFr300m Swiss project is a much more exacting test that more closely reflects typical operations elsewhere in Europe. SBB’s cautious progress underlines just how difficult it is to achieve the required levels of reliability with a mix of rolling stock and train types.Despite this, the Swiss were confident enough to announce on November 24 that full services through the L?tschberg base tunnel using Level 2 ETCS would commence on December 9 2007. The planned service from that date covers 42 Intercity and EuroCity trains and about 80 freight trains a day. BLS AlpTransit confirmed at an event on December 7 that ’operational test running’ would start in mid-March, paving the way for a series of tests and exercises that will include dealing with emergencies and failures. Formal opening is planned for June 15, with selected passenger and freight trains being routed through the base tunnel from the following day.