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Switzerland's Railroad Reports Significant Increase In Passengers for 2002, Expanded Services.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite slowdowns in the world's travel industry, Switzerland's highly integrated railroad system has reported record passenger traffic for 2002, according to Rail Europe, the leading distributor of Europe's rail passes and tickets in North America.

Typical of efficient Swiss tourism activities, the national train system of the country (Swiss Federal Railways or SBB) reported a 5% increase in passengers, carrying a total of 320 million people last year, and 4.6% growth in revenues. Further, train punctuality improved so that 81% of all trains arrived precisely on time and 95% arrived no more than 4 minutes off-schedule. Customer satisfaction hit an 81% level.

To assure its continued growth Swiss rail is stressing its handy connections to Europe's high-speed rail network and transalpine traffic to France, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Low Countries. In this area specific key advances have been the Cisalpino high-speed trains linking Switzerland to Italy, and connections to France via TGVs and to Germany via ICEs.

Meanwhile, the SBB continues to invest heavily in the Swiss rail system so that by the year 2012 train capacity will grow by 30%.

Trains, Boats & Buses

The railroad builds on an already first-rate travel infrastructure, which offers the most highly integrated transportation network of any European country, owing to the synchronized timing of the country's rail, lake steamer and postal bus schedules. This, plus the renowned punctuality of all transportation in the country, are what characterize the "Swiss Travel System" (STS).

This system offers many benefits for the visitor. Most overseas tourists, for example, arrive at either Zurich or Geneva, both of which have railway stations -- part of the national rail network -- from which trains to all regions of the country leave at least hourly. Also, Basel and Bern airports provide rapid transfers to the closest train stations. By prior arrangements at any North American airport, most passenger luggage can be delivered to any one of 100 railway stations in Switzerland, so that travelers don't have to worry about carrying their own baggage between check-in and pick-up.

The safety record of the national railways is also excellent -- not to mention that comfort and convenience are inherent parts of the STS, mainly because of the frequency of service from all stations and the comfortable accommodations aboard all trains, lake steamers and postal buses.

Easy to get around

Also, English is spoken almost everywhere in the country -- definitely at all train stations and onboard all forms of transport -- and travel personnel are available everywhere to assist passengers with everything from explaining timetables to changing money, storing baggage and making reservations.

Variety of Tickets, Passes

Visitors to Switzerland have many travel options, all available from Rail Europe:
 * The Swiss Pass -- unlimited use on STS -- good for 4, 8, 15, 22 days or
 1 month.
 * Swiss Flexipass -- unlimited use for 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 days
 * Swiss Transfer Ticket -- one roundtrip between airport or border town
 to a single destination.
 * Swiss Card -- all benefits of Swiss Transfer Tickets plus 50% discount
 on train, steamer, bus and mountain top excursions.
 * Free STS Family Card with any STS product -- for children under 16,
 accompanied by a legal guardian.
 * Scenic trains bring visitors to especially beautiful parts of the
 country -- the Glacier (Zermatt-St. Moritz), Bernina (Chur-Lugano) and
 William Tell (Luzern-Lugano/Locarno) Expresses, the Golden Pass Line
 (Luzern-Montreux), and the Chocolate Train (Montreux-Broc).
 * Day trips to key Swiss Mountain peaks, such as Jungfraujoch,
 Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Titlis and Mt. Schilthorn.


Details on and bookings for these trips and other information in this article are available from Rail Europe at 1-888-382-7245 (in U.S.) or 1-800-361-7245 (in Canada) or log onto http://www.raileurope.com/.

CONTACT: A.J. Lazarus Associates, Inc., +1-212-904-1379, AJL@AJLazarusPR.com

Web site: http://www.raileurope.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:4EXSI
Date:Jul 8, 2003
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