The big shift

7 October 1999
From the roads onto the rails
From the roads onto the rails

A «piggyback» train travels along the Gotthard route in Ticino. The Swiss company Hupac, which takes its name from the German word for piggyback, is the leader in this field. (1998, Keystone)

In 1999, following approval of the Alps Initiative, parliament decides on how heavy goods traffic through the Alps is to be moved to the railways. Two years after the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the number of heavy goods vehicle journeys is to be reduced to 650,000. Motorised freight transport peaks in 2000 at 1.4 million journeys, falling to around 1 million by 2015.

« Scenarios are pictures of possible futures. »

Center for Futures Research, St. Gallen, Report, p. 2, 30.01.1981

Gütertransport SBB

1943, Swiss Federal Archives

Gütertransport SBB

SBB goods transport, 1943 (Swiss Federal Archives)

Die rollende Strasse

1957, SBB Historic

Die rollende Strasse

The rolling road, 1957 (SBB Historic)

1.275 m heavy goods vehicles

crossing the Swiss Alps in 2008.

2018 year

new deadline for achieving the targeted shift in traffic, pushed back from 2008.

650'000 heavy goods vehicles

a year to be crossing the Swiss Alps by 2009 – decided in 1999, when the total is 1,318,000.

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