ON JUNE 21 Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenburger confirmed that Parliament had approved SFr5·88bn of state funding to support Swiss Federal Railways over the next four years.

The budget allocation had been passed by the Bundesrat in March, but was the subject of fierce debate in the Ständerat before it was finally approved.

SBB will get SFr3·7bn for infrastructure modernisation and renewals and SFr1·8bn for operating support. A grant of SFr390m will fund a dozen major capacity expansion projects, which form part of the ZEB enhancement programme. Following on from Bahn 2000, the 25-year ZEB package was agreed earlier this year (RG 5.06 p256).

Earlier in the month, Leuenburger had participated in the laying of a foundation stone on June 2 to mark the start of work on the Ceneri base tunnel, being joined by Ticino Regional President Marco Borradori and the Chairman of Alptransit AG Peter Zbinden. Due to be completed in 2019 as part of the NEAT programme, the 15·4 km twin-bore tunnel will cut journey times over the southern part of the Gotthard corridor by around 30min.

H From July 23 SBB planned to operate all trains using the Mattstetten - Rothrist line after 21.30 with Level 2 ETCS. The system was first used in commercial service on July 2 when the changeover time from conventional operation to ETCS was 22.30, allowing SBB to gain experience with up to 12 trains a day. n