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The Federal Office of Transport (BAV) decided in June 2018 to award SBB a concession to operate almost the entire inter-city network, with the exception of just two inter-regional lines – Bern – Biel and Bern – Burgdorf – Olten, which were awarded to BLS.
BLS was unhappy with BAV’s decision as it had sought to operate Bern – Neuenburg – La Chaux de Fonds – Le Locle interregional trains and Basle – Interlaken/Brig inter-city services in addition to the two routes awarded by BAV. Furthermore, SBB appealed against BAV’s decision to award Bern – Biel and Bern – Olten services to BLS.
In May, BLS announced it would not take on operation of the two routes. However, BLS and SBB began negotiations and in July SBB dropped its appeal against BAV’s decision.
Under the agreement announced on August 22, BLS will waive its long-distance concession, operating instead under SBB’s concession. In return, SBB will withdraw its complaint to the Federal Administrative Court.
BLS will operate inter-city services under SBB’s long-distance concession, waiving its own concession. Photo: BAV
Federal councillor Mrs Simonetta Sommaruga and Bernese cantonal councillor Mr Christoph Neuhaus acted as arbitrators in the discussions between the two railways. The department says the talks were “constructive” and enabled the dispute to be “amicably settled,” avoiding the need for lengthy litigation.
BLS will operate Bern – Biel RegioExpress services from December 2019, taking over Bern – Burgdorf – Olten RegioExpress services by December 2020. BLS will operate these trains as inter-city services and bear full responsibility for revenue, quality and costs, using its on rolling stock and train crew.
BLS will also operate an hourly Bern – Neuchâtel – La-Chaux-de-Fonds inter-city service from December 2020, receiving a contribution for these operations from SBB.
BLS will operate all three routes under SBB’s 10-year integrated long-distance concession. To this end, BLS will establish a new subsidiary, BLS Fernverkehr, which will begin operating in December.
Under the agreement, BLS will also take over SBB’s travel centre at Lyss.
The post SBB and BLS reach compromise on inter-city concessions appeared first on International Railway Journal.
This article first appeared on www.railjournal.com
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