ON APRIL 27 Swiss Federal Railways announced details of a seven-year programme to reconstruct the approaches and environs of Zürich Hauptbahnhof under the Bahn 2000 programme. Describing Züich as the ’Heart of Bahn 2000’, SBB Director-General, Infrastructure, Pierre-Alain Urech said the rail hub had a critical role to play in Swiss transport policy.

Explaining the background to the project, Regional Director Erwin Rutishauser said that the number of trains using the station each day was expected to increase by 21% in four stages over the next seven years - from 1480 to around 1730. With tilting EMUs and push-pull double-deck trainsets, the hourly window for inter-city services would be cut from 34 to 22 min. SBB was working closely with its neighbours to minimise the impact on the city and at the same time improve the local environment.

Completion of the 9·4 km twin-track Zürichsee tunnel to quadruple the Zürich - Thalwil line and four-tracking of the Zürich - Wipkingen route will increase the station approaches to 15 parallel tracks. Half-hourly services will be provided on all inter-city corridors radiating from the city, and S-Bahn services will also be increased.

To handle the extra traffic, SBB is to build a four-platform S-Bahn terminus alongside the main station, behind the Sihlpost sorting office, and connected to the main concourse by a moving walkway. Reversing some local services here will release platform capacity for inter-city services, whilst two new flyovers will reduce conflicts in the station throat. A new substation will reinforce the traction power supply, and a rolling stock servicing and maintenance depot will be built at Herdern on the western approaches.

The work will be completed in several phases between now and 2005, with the next major timetable change scheduled for 2001. o

CAPTION: The first B motor coach for Swiss Federal Railway’s ICN tilting trainsets arrived at the Adtranz Tramont plant in Oerlikon from Pratteln in April. One of four cars for the pilot test train, it is due to start running in July