The Bern station of the future
Expansion work is now being planned for Bern station so that it can continue to fulfil its functions and serve as a transport hub in future. Bern railway station is the second largest in Switzerland and it plays a key role in domestic and foreign railway traffic. It is starting to reach its limits in terms of operational and physical capacity.
The expansion of Bern station is being divided into two steps. Between now and 2025, SBB and RBS will be working on two large projects:
- New RBS station: RBS is creating a new underground station with four tracks beneath the existing platforms 2 to 7 of the SBB station.
- New underpass with new access points in the SBB station: SBB is building a second underground passage between the old station underpass and the Welle overpass. This will be called the “Mitte” underpass and will be accessible from Länggasse and Bubenbergplatz.
The City of Bern plans to reorganise the traffic arrangements around the station between now and 2025 in conjunction with the expansion work. This will help to transport the rapidly growing numbers of passengers to and from the station quickly and safely, as well as improving the infrastructure for tram and bus services as well as pedestrians and cyclists.
In the second expansion phase, SBB plans to expand the station out to the sides by 2035. This will include four additional platforms under the “Grosse Schanze”, enabling SBB to further expand its regional and long-distance services by 2035.
The new RBS station
The existing RBS station in Bern was opened in 1965. Originally designed for around 16,000 passengers a day, it is now used by up to 60,000 people every day. The capacity of the new RBS station will be sufficient for current needs as well as the forecast development in demand.
The new RBS station will have four tracks and will be located beneath platforms 2 to 7 of the SBB station. The current RBS station will no longer be used for railway operations.
What Bern’s new RBS station will look like
The new RBS station will have four tracks and will be built underneath the existing SBB station. It will consist of two large underground halls, each with two tracks and a 12-metre-wide central platform.
There will be escalators and lifts from platform level to the RBS concourse. From there, passengers can reach the platforms for long-distance and S-Bahn services or exit into the city.
Trains will pass through a new two-track tunnel in the RBS station, coming in at just under one kilometre long. This new tunnel will branch off from the existing RBS Schanze tunnel and will mainly run beneath road and railway areas.
Why Bern needs a new RBS station
- The current RBS station is over capacity, having reached its limits after the timetable overhaul in 2014. Since then, RBS has not been able to make its timetable any denser or use longer trains.
- The platforms in the current RBS station are too short and narrow. A high density of passengers leads to overcrowding and long waiting times during peak hours. This could pose a safety risk.
- Forecasts suggest that demand in the public transport sector will grow by 50 percent by 2030.
- The road network in the north and east of Bern is overloaded and is reaching its limits. Building a new RBS station in Bern will help to solve the traffic problems in the greater Bern area – not just on the railways, but on the roads too.
How much the new RBS station in Bern costs
The investment costs for the new RBS station in Bern come to around 614 million Swiss francs. As with all railway infrastructure, these costs will be covered by the federal government and the cantons involved.
How the new RBS station in Bern is being built
Construction on the new RBS station began in the first half of 2017. The station will be opened in 2025. You can find detailed information on the German website.
More room for commuters
In 2025, SBB will be opening an additional pedestrian underpass – the “Mitte” underpass – with two new station entrance points: the “Bubenberg” entrance at the Bubenberg Centre, and the “Länggasse” entrance. This will give commuters more space and shorten their journeys.
New “Mitte” underpass
The new “Mitte” underpass will enable passengers arriving from the Länggasse area or Hirschengraben to reach the SBB and RBS stations quickly without having to take any detours. The new underpass will also shorten routes around the station, thereby reducing congestion in the existing underpass, the “Welle” overpass and the station forecourt. A wide variety of new shops will add to the services on offer at the station.
Bern station is getting a second fully fledged main entrance in the form of a new access point from the Bubenberg Centre.
A more attractive Bern station
SBB is taking a variety of steps to make Bern station more attractive:
- Higher platforms: To make it easier for passengers to get on and off trains, SBB is increasing the height of its platforms wherever the station’s curvature and existing structures permit.
- More light: Opening up the south wall of the platform hall towards the Burgerspital building will allow more daylight into the station, creating a more pleasant environment for all passengers.
More space for pedestrians on Bubenbergplatz
With this new station access point, the Bubenbergplatz will be traversed by even more people in future, fundamentally changing the requirements of the immediate area from a traffic perspective. For this reason, the City of Bern is planning a comprehensive package of measures.
In conjunction with the expansion of the station, it plans to reorganise traffic immediately around the station and adjust the direction of travel in the wider area through accompanying measures between now and 2025. This particularly includes reorganising pedestrian walkways and lanes and routes used by traffic. The possibility of a pedestrian underpass at Bubenbergplatz will also be investigated.