In 1991, integration of the cantons and national regions secures parliamentary approval for the NRLA and a yes vote in the referendum. For eastern Switzerland, it means abandoning the idea of a transit rail link through the eastern Alps it has cherished for more than a century. As an alternative, the NRLA project proposes integrating eastern Switzerland via the network option, involving an upgrade of the rail lines to the Gotthard via Zurich and Rapperswil. The working group on this option had held its first meeting back in 1989. It provided for the Zimmerberg and Hirzel tunnels to link eastern Switzerland into the network; however, rescaling of the NRLA due to financial constraints means the projects are postponed indefinitely.
« The governments of Switzerland’s eastern cantons cannot agree with this assessment. »Cantonal governments of Glarus, Schaffhausen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, St. Gallen, Graubünden, Thurgau, Letter to the Federal Council, 28.02.1985