Touching Everyday Lives – SBB, Zurich Cross-City Link

With the Cross-City Link, Zurich main station is ready for 500,000 people daily by 2020, Swiss Federal Railways

Zurich, Switzerland

Project facts

Client: Swiss Federal Railways

Type: Transportation and Tunnelling

Country: Switzerland

Making commuting comfortable...

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is the national railway company of Switzerland, currently transporting around 353 million passengers and 64 million net tonnes of freight across the country every year.

Zurich’s main railway station is the largest in Switzerland and since 1990, the number of passengers travelling through the station has doubled, with volumes expected to continue to rise steeply. To keep up with demand, a new railway was proposed, linking east and west-bound routes, allowing trains to pass through the station instead of “dead ending,” saving time and track space.

SBB turned to the ZALO consortium, of which Pöyry is a partner, to deliver the full sequence of services from the initial study phase to detailed engineering and site supervision. Excavating an underground station in the middle of a city the size of Zurich required an innovative approach, and one which has resulted in minimal disruptions to the continuous operation of the main station throughout the project.

According to Roland Kobel, Project Director Cross-City Link at SBB AG:

This was a complex project that required expert planning, effective project management and specific attention to safety. Given the physical challenges of the site—the river, the downtown area just above —Pöyry’s expertise really made a difference in this project.

This expertise is helping to create a new link that will increase the capacity of Zurich main station by around one third, preparing it for the expected increase in traffic, both underneath and above ground. When completed, at peak times the new station will be able to cope with 400-metre-long double-decker trains arriving every two minutes, handling a maximum capacity of 3,000 passengers per train.