Shorter travel times, more capacity and improved punctuality thanks to “Chance Ceneri 2020”.(SBB)

In a joint statement of intent entitled “Chance Ceneri 2020”, the three railway CEOs from DB, SBB and FS Italiane – Richard Lutz, Andreas Meyer and Gianfranco Battisti – agreed to join forces to take a quantum leap in European mobility. The goals are quicker and more frequent services for freight and passengers, improved punctuality and simpler purchase of international tickets.
With the placing in service of the Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT) in December 2020, the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) will be complete. A flat route through the Alps will become a reality and enable a quantum leap in European mobility. Andreas Meyer, CEO of SBB, explains: “We not only want to put a tunnel into operation but also shorten travel times for freight and passengers and increase capacity and punctuality”.

“Chance Ceneri 2020” facilitates an overall perspective of the improvements for international passenger and freight services and contains ambitious goals. In a joint statement, the three heads of rail Richard Lutz (DB), Andreas Meyer (SBB) and Gianfranco Battisti (FS) declared their intention to take the necessary steps.

“The completion of the NRLA is the next milestone for the Rhine-Alpine corridor from Rotterdam and Antwerp to Genoa. This is another improvement for our customers,” says Richard Lutz, chairman of DB. This strengthened cooperation is an important contribution that enables a quantum leap in European mobility with a flat route on the Rhine-Alpine corridor.

“The group FS Italiane played an active and important part in the realisation of the rail corridor Rotterdam–Genoa,” underlined Gianfranco Battisti, chairman and director of FS Italiane. “Now Terzo Valico in Italy becomes the most important project on the north-south axis. Thereby, the Genovese port becomes Europe’s southern gate for freight from all over the world, 70 percent of which is transported by sea”, Battisti added.

By signing the joint statement “Chance Ceneri 2020”, the three partners are affirming their commitment to further strengthen international rail-freight traffic.

“Chance Ceneri 2020”: the key points

Reducing the transport time for freight services on the Rhine-Alpine corridor between Genoa and Rotterdam by up to two hours is one of the ambitious goals of “Chance Ceneri 2020”. This will reduce costs for customers, which boosts rail freight’s ability to compete with road transport. Shorter travel times will also take the pressure off rail hubs. The Ceneri Base Tunnel will create additional capacity for more than 3,000 semi-trailers per day and therefore promote the shift from road to rail.

In international passenger services, the travel time between Zurich and Milan of 3 hours and 30 minutes is to be shortened to around 3 hours in the 2021 timetable. The service will be increased from 8 to 10 trains per day and direction. New direct connections to Genoa and Bologna are also in the pipeline. Buying an international ticket online will become simpler because available bargain offers will be displayed clearly, more consistently and can be booked directly.

The Ceneri Base Tunnel also heralds a new dimension in public transport within Switzerland. In Ticino, a complete “Metrò Ticino” system will double rail services. Thanks to a new direct Lugano–Locarno connection, travel time will be cut in half.

DB, SBB and FS Italiane are making sure that this vision becomes a reality. Specifically, cooperation and decision-making processes of the partner railways must be strengthened, and measures need to be taken regarding network development, integral timetable planning, international construction-site coordination, operations and disruption management as well as interoperability.