No link for Eastern Switzerland

29 November 1989
The bridges at Bruggen
The bridges at Bruggen

Eastern Switzerland has to forgo its long-awaited transit rail link through the Alps. Yet in fact, it was one of the first areas of Switzerland to be opened up by the railways. At the start of the 20th century, a number of rail bridges already span the Sitter river at Bruggen near St. Gallen. (undated, Kartenplanet.ch)

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

Fachtagung Eisenbahn-Alpentransversale ; DRS-aktuell

1986, Swiss Federal Archives / Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen

Fachtagung Eisenbahn-Alpentransversale ; DRS-aktuell

Rail Link through the Alps conference; DRS-aktuell, 1986 (Swiss Federal Archives / Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen)

Ostalpenbahn-Debatte im Grossen Rat GR ; Antenne

1971, Swiss Federal Archives / Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen

Ostalpenbahn-Debatte im Grossen Rat GR ; Antenne

Debate on the eastern Alps line in the Graubünden Grand Council; Antenne, 1971 (Swiss Federal Archives / Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen)

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