BLS workshops

Why new workshops are needed

The regular servicing and maintenance of its trains is the backbone of any rail operator.

If trains are serviced regularly and to a good standard, they can travel in a reliable, clean and safe way. BLS passengers should arrive on time and at ease.

This should be the case in the future too. This is why the BLS workshops are being expanded and modernised:

  • More and more people are travelling with BLS. They currently amount to 180,000 passengers a day, and this is forecast to rise to some 260,000 passengers by 2030.
  • Newer and more modern trains need considerably longer concourse and track facilities.
  • The older workshops are in poor condition. The Oberburg workshop is therefore expected to be abolished in 2025.
  • The Aebimatt workshop in the western part of Bern Railway Station has been unavailable for use since late 2019.
  • Every train and locomotive visits one of the workshops once a week.
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    Three BLS workshops from 2028 onwards

    BLS wants to ensure that its fleet can be serviced and maintained at three sites in the long term so that S-Bahn Bern can continue to operate efficiently and powerfully in the future.

    Spiez workshop

    The Spiez workshop has been comprehensively renovated in recent years. This is where BLS conducts servicing work such as wheel inspections and repairs to doors, air-conditioning units, heating systems and lighting.

    Bönigen workshop

    The Bönigen workshop is being converted and renovated; the work will last until 2025. This is where BLS carries out more extensive repairs and upgrades to its trains.

    New facility planned in Chliforst Nord

    In 2016, BLS Ltd’s board of directors decided to follow the recommendation of the “BLS workshop” monitoring group and plan a new facility in Chliforst Nord to the west of Bern as well as the Spiez and Bönigen workshops. Working in close partnership, BLS, the City of Bern, the Canton of Bern and the affected population are expected to create Switzerland’s most modern competence centre for the servicing and maintenance of trains by 2028.

    More capacity in Givisiez

    In order to bridge the transitional period between the discontinuation of the Bern-Aebimatt workshop (2020) and the planned commissioning of a new facility, BLS has signed an agreement with Transports publics fribourgeois (tpf). BLS can rent temporary workshop tracks from tpf in Givisiez, guaranteeing maintenance of vehicles without interruption for the transitional period up to 2025.

    Two modernisations and one new facility

    The new facility in Chliforst Nord to the west of Bern and the conversions and expansions in Spiez and Bönigen offers a great many advantages:

    • The busy railway lines around Bern will make it more and more difficult for trains to get to the workshops in the future. A facility near Bern Railway Station will help free up the access routes, which will benefit passengers.
    • The operational stability and flexibility will increase (e.g. quick replacement of defective trains).
    • Fewer and shorter empty trips to the workshops will reduce noise pollution for local residents as well as power consumption.
    • Concentrating on three sites instead of four will allow for work forces to be planned in a more flexible way.
    • Better utilisation of the workshop infrastructure will reduce operating costs – which is also in the interests of passengers and tax payers.
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      BLS workshops
      Neue Werkstatt Visualisierung 1
      BLS needs a workshop within the Bern region
      BLS workshops
      Neue Werkstatt Spiez
      Spiez workshop overhaul

      The construction work on the Spiez workshop was completed on 6 December 2019. The work was carried out over the course of two years while operations continued uninterrupted.

      BLS workshops
      Umbau Boenigen
      Reconstruction and expansion of the Bönigen workshop