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Full speed ahead

Ten years ago Deutsche Bahn AG took over a small but agile rail company in Switzerland.

A question existing and potential customers often ask the dispatchers at DB Cargo Schweiz is: “Do you also transport containers?” The staff at the headquarters of the Swiss subsidiary of DB Cargo, Europe’s biggest rail freight company, then answer with a smile:

If there are enough to fill a whole train then yes, of course.

Not everyone can always get the service they’re looking for from DB Cargo Schweiz – it’s too small in comparison to major Swiss players such as SBB Cargo and BLS Cargo. But that will not be the case forever. 

“We are responding like an agile speedboat that is still picking up on speed,” says Managing Director Martin Brunner. With excellent prospects for rail, Switzerland is becoming quite a favourite with rail companies. The new Gotthard Base Tunnel and the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA) are already leading to a significant switch from road to rail. When the Ceneri Base Tunnel is completed in 2021, it will be possible to transport even more intermodal freight by rail. DB Cargo Schweiz recorded a significant growth in turnover for the third year running in 2016, and planning for the coming year also gives cause for optimism. Over the past few years the company has also developed a team that is able to meet all the challenges it faces.

Around 60 members of staff, a third of those locomotive drivers and wagon technicians, are employed at the company headquarters in Glattbrugg and at other locations in Basel, Muttenz, Erstfeld, Bellinzona and Domodossola. The company’s control centre ensures continuous operative production and transport management around the clock.

The European network as A backbone

DB Cargo Schweiz emerged from Brunner Railway Services GmbH, which was founded in 2005. The company’s success aroused the interest of the German rail freight company, which took over BRS shortly thereafter and changed its name to Railion Schweiz. Thanks to its extensive network, the company quickly succeeded in positioning itself on the market for international single-wagon transport operations. Today, DB Cargo Schweiz is also strongly positioned in the block trains market and specialises in trans-Alpine transits via Gotthard, customer-focused rail logistics solutions and mineral oil transports. DB Cargo Schweiz has all the safety certifications required to make independent use of extensive parts of the Swiss normal-gauge network.

For international transport operations, DB Cargo Schweiz has access to the resources of DB Cargo’s European network – including the powerful multi-system locomotives, of which around 100 can be deployed in Switzerland. This offers DB Cargo the opportunity of producing trans-European transport operations from a single source in Switzerland in future. DB Cargo Schweiz will play an important part in that – and also offer container transports.


Ten years of DB Cargo Schweiz
Martin Brunner founds Brunner Railway Services GmbH (BRS). BRS operates international block trains to and from Switzerland, and establishes international partnerships.
Railion Deutschland AG takes over BRS and changes its name to Railion Schweiz GmbH. A single-wagon network is established in Switzerland.
The Xrail Allianz is founded and, in a related development, single-wagon transports are carried out again by state rail companies. Transfer of single-wagon transports to SBB Cargo.
Launch of Basel–Chiasso transit operations via Gotthard.

DB Cargo Schweiz GmbH operates block trains in cross-border transport operations to and from Germany. The transport operations – both the transits through Switzerland, and import and exports to and from Switzerland – are continuously developed and expanded.

Through its work at the heart of Europe, DB Cargo Schweiz GmbH strengthens DB Cargo’s European network.