SWITZERLAND: Swiss Federal Railways is poised to call tenders for up to 200 high-capacity electric multiple-units for inter-city services. Confirming that bids will be issued before the end of the year, SBB said on August 18 that the trains would be built to a double-deck design. They are expected to be formed as 100 m and 200 m sets able to run in multiple up to a maximum train length of 400 m.

With passenger-km up by 73% in 2007 and traffic increasing by 6% so far this year, capacity on SBB’s busiest routes could become a major issue following agreement in June by the Ständerat — which represents the cantons — to go ahead with the 25-year ZEB programme of enhancement measures (RG 5.06 p256). SBB views double-deck trains as essential to cope with expected demand.

SBB is keen to take advantage of the ability of a multiple-unit design to accelerate quickly, as it wants to cut timings on the 97 km Lausanne - Bern main line to 57 min so that Lausanne can be fully integrated into the national regular-interval service pattern; some infrastructure improvements will also be needed as the current timing is 66 min. Tilting trains have been ruled out, as a tilting double-deck design is not feasible without infringing the loading gauge.SBB plans to spend SFr19bn on new rolling stock by 2030. Of this around SFr11bn is expected to go on inter-city trains and SFr8bn on the regional fleet.