BLS enables you to travel by train, bus and boat. We also transport you in the comfort of your own car through the Lötschberg and Simplon tunnels. BLS connects people, regions and places. And if you want to transport freight – we can do that too. Our broad transport offering – trains, buses, boats, Car Transport service and freight transport – makes BLS one of Switzerland’s biggest transport companies.
The business area of passenger mobility is centred around our railway network. We operate trains on the Bern and Central Switzerland S-Bahn networks – from Bern to Payerne or from Lucerne to Langenthal. Our speedier InterRegio and RegioExpress lines go from Bern to Biel, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Domodossola, for example. This results in a route network spanning 660 kilometres, transporting more than 180,000 passengers daily. Our 140 passenger trains require 670 train drivers – our biggest group of employees. We currently operate four workshops, at which we maintain and clean the trains – in Spiez, Oberburg, Givisiez and Bönigen. Every train visits a workshop once a week, so that our passengers can always travel reliably and in comfort.
In Emmental and Oberaargau, BLS operates a bus network spanning more than 200 kilometres and 18 routes from its two regional centres in Burgdorf and Langnau. Most of our approximately 10,000 daily bus passengers are commuters. The bus operations are overseen by Busland Ltd and its 130 employees – the company has been a subsidiary of BLS since its foundation in 2006. Our head office is in Burgdorf, with other depots located in Langnau in Emmental, in Sumiswald and Huttwil. With the Ilfis Garage in Langnau, we also provide a service centre for commercial vehicles.
Since 1913, BLS has also offered navigation services. On Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland, we operate hourly scheduled cruises from spring to autumn. During the winter season, we operate individual cruises on Lake Thun, such as the popular winter steamboat excursion on the paddle steamer Blümlisalp. Every year, we welcome around 1 million boat passengers and are therefore one of the biggest tourism operators in the Bernese Oberland. We not only operate our scheduled cruises but also organise special culinary cruises, such as our Fondue Chinoise Cruise and our Lake Thun Brunch Cruise. You can also hire our boats – for a truly special business event or private occasion.
Car Transport service
BLS is the largest Car Transport service provider in Switzerland. BLS already began attaching open freight wagons to passenger trains in 1926 and using these to transport cars from Kandersteg to Brig and Domodossola. Since 1960, we have been operating the Car Transport service through the Lötschberg Tunnel between Kandersteg and Goppenstein using purpose-built trains. Since 2017, we have also been in charge of the Car Transport service through the Simplon Tunnel between Brig and Iselle. On the weekends from Easter through to the autumn holidays, motorists can put up their feet along the entire route from the Bernese Oberland through to Northern Italy – on our direct car train from Kandersteg to Iselle.
Every year, BLS operates around 24,000 freight trains throughout Europe. The business area of freight operations is managed by the subsidiary company BLS Cargo Ltd, founded in 2001. Since 2019, the BLS Cargo family has included the Belgian freight operator Crossrail. We provide freight transport services by rail on the central north-south axis corridor from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Within Switzerland, we provide domestic, import and export transport services. From Belgium onwards, we operate on additional routes.
In the business area of Infrastructure, BLS is responsible for a rail network spanning 420 kilometres. We build train stations, lay tracks and refurbish tunnels and bridges from Interlaken to Marin-Epagnier by Lake Neuchâtel and Zollbrück in Emmental. The centrepiece of our infrastructure is the Lötschberg axis. This includes the over-100-year-old mountain line from Frutigen to Brig, which is famous among railway enthusiasts the world over, as well as the 34.6-kilometre-long Lötschberg Base Tunnel, which was opened in 2007 as one of the world’s most modern railway tunnels. Together with the Gotthard Base Tunnel, it forms the core of our New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) and plays a key role in the transport of freight between Rotterdam and Genoa.
Route network Network Map
Network Condition Report
Every year, BLS publishes a detailed report on the condition of its network for the Federal Office of Transport. The report evaluates the condition of all facilities in our infrastructure – for example tracks, bridges, tunnels and stations. The Network Condition Report helps illustrate the impact that investments have on the development of the network.