15 May 2017
The collaboration between the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) and the Ferrovie Federali Svizzere (FFS), which also follows the opening last year of the St Gotthard Base Tunnel, is working very well. During a meeting in Milan, Renato Mazzoncini, CEO of Italian State Railways and the CEO of FFS Andreas Meyer, discussed the positive outcome of the collaboration on the north-south axis and discussed key issues for the next increase in the provision of passenger and goods traffic. Punctuality in international traffic between Switzerland and Italy has shown an improvement; despite this, further qualitative improvements and increased comfort are expected as part of future collaboration. Amongst other things, in December 2017 a direct Zurich-Venice link will be introduced. Already from mid-June, a direct train will travel between the two cities at the weekend. And starting in 2021, the time for the trip from Zurich to Milan will be reduced to three hours.
With the entering into service of the St Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) the north-south axis, both in terms of national and international traffic, has acquired real significance. The growth of demand has been seen in both goods and passenger traffic, and in this latter case also over the Italian-Swiss border. This dynamic development can also be seen in goods traffic: on working days up to 120 trains go through the GBT, many of which also go along the cross-border axis. The total capacity will nevertheless only be reached with the opening of the 4-metre corridor and the opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel at the end of 2020.
As part of the top-level meeting, the CEOs of FS and FFS, Renato Mazzoncini and Andreas Meyer, confirmed the positive results following the opening of the GBT and the good collaboration between the two companies. With the increase in the offer, punctuality has been improved, and timetables have become stable. The working group, which was created last year, has shown itself to be working well, as the qualitative improvements show. However, it is necessary to intervene further so as to ensure greater quality and comfort in cross-border traffic. In relation to the punctuality between Milan and Switzerland, Renato Mazzoncini stressed to what extent the line is used in the Milan area and the challenge posed by coordinating long-distance with regional traffic in the Milan metropolitan area. Mazzoncini confirmed that stabilising services in the Milan conurbation is a high priority for FS Italiane.
The Italian CEO confirmed that the enlargement work on infrastructure to increase the capacity on the Italian side is proceeding as planned. This work is necessary to reduce to three hours, starting from 2020 with the opening to traffic of the Ceneri Base Tunnel, the time taken to travel from Zurich to Milan. In the month of December 2017 the new Stabio-Arcisate line should be opened to traffic; this will link Varese and Como with the Swiss Canton of Ticino and will mean that a lot of southern Swiss towns will have a direct link to Malpensa International Airport. Last but not least, the goods traffic line of the Simplon Pass and the St Gotthard Pass will be linked between each other with the Gallarate interchange.
The extension of an attractive range of options on the north-south axis for international passenger traffic is of primary importance. Starting from the timetable change in December 2017 a daily, direct train will link Zurich and Venice; but starting in mid-June a direct train will link the two cities at the weekend. Also, both companies confirmed that from next year clients can use a direct Eurocity connection from Frankfurt, via Basel to Milan.