INTRO: Swiss Federal Railways has completed the largest restructuring programme in its history, without the help of external consultants. Impetus for reform came from within SBB and from recent European and national legislation

BYLINE: Hans-Jurg Spillmann

Secretary General, Swiss Federal Railways

SBB has just completed an extremely complex process of reform that has radically altered the organisation’s structure. This reform programme was deliberately carried out without the help of external consultants; the unconditional personal commitment of SBB executives was vital to its successful implementation.

In contrast to previous management restructuring at SBB, the reform process was driven by a desire for change from within the company and the need to comply with recent developments in national and European railway policy. European Union Directive 91/440 requires the separation of infrastructure from operations, and the 1996 White Paper on revitalising the railways of the EU (RG 10.96 p609) points to the creation of two distinct business units, with separate management and accounts under an integrated management.

These directives have been adopted by the new Swiss railway law expected to come into force on January 1 1998. As a result, SBB has been restructured as follows: