The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

FV-Dosto trains may run on Swiss rails for an unlimited period of time

Updated at 07 Mar 2024 3:30 pm

The new SBB long-distance double-decker trains (FV-Dosto) may continue to run on Swiss rails. The Federal Office of Transport (FOT) approved the operation of the trains for an unlimited period on Thursday. The previous operating license was limited until the end of 2024.

In the approval procedure, the FOT also implemented orders from a ruling by the Federal Supreme Court in December 2021, it announced on Thursday.

Among other things, the court had instructed SBB to check whether people in wheelchairs could use the trains safely without assistance. In addition, SBB had to ensure that all ramps in the entrance areas of the carriages comply with the prescribed maximum gradient of 15 percent.

This became necessary following a complaint from Inclusion Handicap, the umbrella organization for disabled people in Switzerland. The organization complained that the trains were not suitable for the disabled and that the ramps were too steep.

According to the FOT, the report by an independent expert came to the conclusion that independent boarding and alighting is possible.

A "forceps birth"

In 2010, SBB commissioned Bombardier (now Alstom) with the procurement of originally 59 and later 62 new double-decker trains for long-distance transportation - for 1.9 billion Swiss francs. The new trains were to be deployed in stages from December 2013.

The introduction of the newly developed Dosto train from 2018 was accompanied by numerous technical breakdowns and delays. At the time, SBB spoke of a "pincer birth" and also criticized the manufacturer.

Initially, doors jammed, the operating system crashed and the heating and air conditioning systems caused problems. Passengers also complained that the carriages sometimes shook unpleasantly. The SBB decided to forego the originally planned faster curves in favor of ride comfort.

The planned journey time reductions of five minutes between Lausanne VD and Bern and two minutes between Winterthur ZH and St. Margrethen SG could therefore not be realized as planned.

Improved reliability

The initially inadequate reliability of the Dosto fleet has steadily improved since 2018, SBB wrote a year ago. Following the takeover of Bombardier Transportation in 2021, Alstom has been working hard to further reduce disruptions.

Today, the trains run on the IC1 route between Geneva and St. Gallen and on the IC2 route between Zurich and Lugano, among others.

©Keystone/SDA

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