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Swiss railways – you get what you pay for


Miners at the south portal of the Bözberg Tunnel, canton Aargau, in January. The tunnel is part of the strategy of shifting cargo from road to rail between Basel and Chiasso via the new Gotthard Base Tunnel (Keystone)

The Swiss are not only the European champions in travelling by train, but they also invest the most in their country’s rail network. Last year, €378 (CHF416) per inhabitant was spent on rail infrastructure, almost twice as much as runner-up Austria (€198).

The slowcoaches in the study, carried out by consultants SCI Verkehr for the German Pro-Rail Alliance, were France and Spain, which spent €37 and €36 per person respectively.

While the lobby group criticised Germany’s “road-burdening agenda”, it praised efforts in Switzerland and Austria to move traffic from road to rail. Both transit countries have for years been spending more money on their rail networks than on their road infrastructure, the authors said.

In 2016, Switzerland invested 60% of state infrastructure funds in rail and 40% in road, said the study. The equivalent figures in Austria were 66% and 34% and in Germany 47% and 53%.

Last year, the average Swiss jumped on a train 59 times and travelled 2,277 kilometres. Only Japanese travellers rode the train more, with an average of 72 trips per person.



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