Brunig Pass

Transport in Switzerland

Being in the center of Europe, Switzerland has a dense network of roads and railways. The crossing of the Alps is an important route for European transportation, as the Alps separate Switzerland from some of its neighbours. Alpine railway routes began in 1882 with the Gotthard Rail Tunnel, followed in 1906 by the Simplon Tunnel. The Lötschberg Base Tunnel opened in 2007. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is yet to open.

The Swiss road network is funded by road tolls and vehicle taxes. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute system requires the purchase of a vignette (toll sticker) - which costs 40 Swiss francs - for one calendar year in order to use its roadways, for both passenger cars and trucks. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has a total length of 1,638 km (as of 2000) and has also - with an area of 41,290 km² - one of the highest motorway densities in the world.

Zürich Airport, managed by Unique Airport, is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway, handling 20.7 million passengers in 2007. The second largest airport, Geneva Cointrin, handled 10.8 million passengers and the third largest Basel Airport 4.3 million passengers, both airports being shared with France.


Main article: Rail transport in Switzerland
The railways of Switzerland include standard gauge (1435 milimetres) and narrow gauge (usually , occasionally less).

  • Network size: 5,063 km
  • standard gauge: 3,652 km 1,435mm gauge (3,641 km electrified)
  • narrow gauge: 1,383 km (1,353 km electrified), mostly gauge, some gauge and one line (Waldenburgerbahn, 13 km) gauge.
  • street tramways: almost all gauge.

(Data 2004, Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications)

Nearly all of the Swiss standard gauge railways are part of the nationwide SBB-CFF-FFS (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) system, which also includes affiliated standard gauge lines such as BLS (Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon).

Narrow gauge lines

RhB, FO, and BVZ

The Rhaetian Railway (RhB) is the longest narrow gauge railway in Switzerland, linking Disentis, Davos and St. Moritz in the high Alps with Chur, a rail junction with the SBB. It passes through the upper Rhine Valley and several side valleys, as well as the Engadin, the upper valley of the Inn River. Length: 366 kilometres.

The Furka-Oberalp-Bahn (FO) is a narrow gauge railway in the high southern alps. Its name refers to two passes, the Furka Pass and the Oberalp Pass. The Furka pass lies at the upper end of the Rhone valley. The Oberalp is the highest railway pass in the Alps at 2033 metres, and lies at the upper end of the Rhine valley. The length of the railway is 100 kilometres, and the line runs from Brig to Disentis.

The Brig-Visp-Zermatt (BVZ) railway, commonly known as the BVZ Zermatt-Bahn, is a short line between Brig and Zermatt. It passes through the Visp and Mattertal Valleys, tributaries of the Rhone River. Length: 43 kilometres.

In 2003, the FO and BVZ merged to form the Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn.

The Glacier Express runs on the three lines. A one-day trip in panoramic view cars takes tourists from Zermatt to St. Moritz, through some of the most spectacular scenery of the Alps.

Further lines

The Gornergratbahn climbs for nine kilometres from an elevation of 1600 metres near the Zermatt station of the Zermatt RR to a 3000 metre high end-station on the shoulder of the Monte Rosa Mountain. The route is a rack-and-pinion railway.

The Berner Oberland Bahn is a 24 kilometre line from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. It begins at Interlaken Ost station and divides at Zweiluetschinen, about 10 kilometres south of Interlaken. The western branch leads to Lauterbrunnen, while the eastern branch leads to Grindelwald. It is possible to make a loop by taking the Lauterbrunnen branch and returning via the Grindelwald branch. The two branches are connected by the Wengernalp Bahn.

The Wengernalpbahn is a 19 kilometre line from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald, leading over the Eiger ridge at the junction station of Kleine Scheidegg. In the winter, this junction is a ski resort served by lifts and trails, as well as the rail line. Skiers can ride the train from the valleys below to return to the top of the runs.

The Jungfraubahn, which is rack-and-pinion, starts at Kleine Scheidegg and runs 9 kilometres through tunnels in the Eiger and Mönch, leading to the Jungfraujoch, a saddle between the Mönch and the Jungfrau summits. At the saddle are a visitor centre and an observatory. The Aletsch Glacier, largest in Europe, runs to the south toward the Rhone valley.

The Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen-Mürren (BLM) is 6 km long, divided into two independent parts, the first part being a cable car (which runs above the old funicular railway, which was replaced in 2006), the second adhesion railway.

The Montreux-Oberland Bernois line runs 75 kilometres from Montreux on Lake Geneva to Zweisimmen, with a connecting line to Lenk in the Simmental. The section from Montreux to Zweisimmen, approximately 63 kilometres long, is part of the "Golden Pass Panorama" trip from Montreux to Lucerne, a trip which combines rides on the MOB, the BLS and the Brunig lines.

From Interlaken, the narrow gauge Brünigbahn section of the Zentralbahn runs 74 kilometres further to Lucerne. It skirts Lake Brienz and passes through the range of mountains to the north of the lake via Brunig pass, and then drops into the Sarner Aa valley to Lucerne.

At Brienz the Brienz Rothorn Bahn (BRB), a steam hauled rack railway, ascends to near the summit of the Brienzer Rothorn.

See also: SBB-CFF-FFS, List of Railway companies, list of funiculars in Switzerland


The Lausanne Metro system includes two lines in Lausanne, Switzerland. Line m1 is a light metro, while Line m2 is a fully-automated metro still under construction, for an opening in 2008. When it opens, Lausanne will replace Rennes as the smallest city in the world to have a full metro system.

Line m1

The m1 Metro was opened on May 24 1991. Its name was TSOL (Tramway du Sud-Ouest Lausannois) and this abbreviation is still widely used by the commuters who use the line. The m1 is a light metro with only three underground stations.

The line, which is 5 miles (8km) long, links the center of Lausanne, the major Universities (EPFL, UNIL) and Renens.

The line is run by the Transports publics de la région lausannoise (TL, formerly Tramways lausannois).


  • total: 71'059 km paved (including 1'638 km of expressways) (2002 est.)

Switzerland has a network of two-lane national roads. These roads usually lack a median or central reservation. Some stretches are controlled-access, in that all traffic must enter and exit through ramps and must cross using grade separations.

Two of the important autobahns are the A1, running from St. Margrethen in northeastern Switzerland's canton of St. Gallen through to Geneva in southwestern Switzerland, and the A2, running from Basel in northwestern Switzerland to Chiasso in southern Switzerland's canton of Ticino, on the border with Italy. Autobahn (plural: Autobahnen) is the German name; in French-speaking Switzerland they are known as autoroutes (singular: autoroute), and in Italian-speaking Switzerland they are known as autostrade.

Swiss autobahn have general speed limits of 120 km/h (75 mph).


In Switzerland, it is impractical to navigate using the autobahn/autoroute numbers; instead it is more useful to steer towards the biggest city that lies in the intended target region; this is because traffic signs display the city names much more prominently than in Germany and display the route number less prominently and less frequently.


A short stretch of autobahn around the Lucerne area in 1955 created Switzerland's first autobahn. For Expo 1964, an autoroute was built between Lausanne and Geneva. The Bern-Lenzburg autobahn was inaugurated in 1967.


The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has a length of 1,638 km (as of 2000) and has, by an area of 41,290 km², also the one of the highest motorway densities in the world. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has not yet been completed; priority has been given to the most important routes, especially the north-south and the west-east axis.

Swiss autobahns/autoroutes very often have an emergency lane except in tunnels. Some new autobahn sections, like the lone section crossing the Jura region in the north-western part of Switzerland, only have emergency bays.

Toll requirements

The Swiss autobahn/autoroute system requires the purchase of a vignette (toll sticker) - which costs 40 Swiss francs - for one calendar year in order to use its roadways, for both passenger cars and trucks. The cantons abandoned the right to raise road and bridge tolls to the Confederation, and the only way of funding the road system is through the vignette and the motor tax for every registered vehicle. Tolls for the use of particular roads, tunnels or bridges cannot be raised according to the Swiss constitution, and so even costly roads such as the Gotthard Road Tunnel is financed by the entire system.

List of autobahnen/autoroutes/autostrade

Note: Portions in italics indicate routes under construction or projection.

  • A1 follows the country's main east-west axis from St. Gallen to Geneva:

A13 - St. Margrethen (Austrian border) - A1.1 - St. Gallen - Winterthur - Zürich - Olten - Aarau - Berne - Murten - Avenches - Payerne - Estavayer-le-Lac - Yverdon-les-Bains - Lausanne - Nyon - Geneva - border CH/F

See also: Swiss Alps for a list of mountain passes.


Zürich Airport also called Kloten Airport, located in Kloten, canton of Zürich, Switzerland and managed by Unique Airport is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway and hub to Swiss International Air Lines and Lufthansa.

In 2003, Zürich International completed an expansion project in which it built a parking garage, a midfield terminal, and an automated underground train to move passengers between the existing terminal complex and the new terminal.

Zürich International lost traffic when Swissair shut down its operations. When Lufthansa took over its successor Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), traffic grew again.

Zürich airport railway station (Zürich Flughafen) is underneath the terminal. There are trains to many parts of Switzerland; frequent S-Bahn services, plus direct Inter-regio and intercity services to Winterthur, Bern, Basel and Lucerne(Luzern). By changing trains at Zürich HB (Zürich main station) most other places in Switzerland can be reached in a few hours.

Zürich Airport handled 19.2 million passengers in 2006.

See also: Airports in Switzerland


See also: List of lakes of Switzerland.


crude oil 314 km; natural gas 1'506 km

Ports and harbours


Merchant marine

  • total: 29 ships (1'000 GRT or over) 597'049 GRT/
  • note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: UK 6, US 1 (2002 est.)
  • ships by type: bulk 16, cargo 6, chemical tanker 2, container 2, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 1, specialized tanker 1

See also

External links

  • — A website about Swiss motorways

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