A new train station, a new tunnel and two new bridges: Zurich's cross-city link is a long-term project and one of the biggest constructions on the Swiss railway system. It was commissioned on time in two stages in mid-2014 and at the end of 2015. As a result, ZVV will be able to significantly increase its S-Bahn service in the future.
The cross-city link connects Altstetten, Zurich Hauptbahnhof and Oerlikon. It provides relief to the main station and will increase timetable reliability across the whole of Switzerland. For the 2015 timetable change, it was possible to speed up existing east-west connections and introduce new direct connections. The new Löwenstrasse underground transit station and the Gessnerallee and Sihlquai shopping arcades – which connect the new train station with the first transit station Museumstrasse and the platforms in the main hall – are generously designed in accordance with the long-term character of the investment. To the west two new bridges from Langstrasse to Altstetten allow barrier-free exit for passengers heading west. To the east the trains run through the new Weinbergtunnel towards Oerlikon station, which has been expanded and modernised. Furthermore, two additional tracks at Oerlikon station lay the foundations for further service expansions along this corridor.
First stage in operation since mid-2014
After seven years of construction, the opening of the new Löwenstrasse underground train station and the Weinbergtunnel in June 2014 means the first stage of the cross-city link has commenced operations. With the opening the first S-Bahn trains started running on the new route. Ever since passengers have benefitted from shorter travel times, additional connections and more seats.
The new train station is 16 metres beneath tracks 4–9 of the Hauptbahnhof and under the Sihl. The total length of the train station is 675 metres. It has two middle platforms with four tracks for long-distance and regional trains and has complete barrier-free access. The twin-track Weinbergtunnel between Zurich HB and Oerlikon is 4.8 km long and has a diameter of more than 11 metres. It passes under the Limmat, ETH, University Hospital and the SRF radio studio.
Second stage in December 2015
At the end of 2015 the Letzigraben and Kohlendreieck bridges came into operation and the cross-city link was extended from Löwenstrasse station to Altstetten. Since the two bridges were finished long-distance traffic has also been running via the cross-city link. The SBB was able to expand its service on the extremely busy west-east axis. Since December 2014 a total of 460 trains, of which 140 are long-distance trains and 320 S-Bahn trains, run via Löwenstrasse station every day. Zurich Hauptbahnhof now has sufficient capacity to cope with the predicted increase in public transport for the foreseeable future. In 2016 and 2017 some remaining public facilities in the Hauptbahnhof (stairs up to Europaallee) and in Oerlikon will be finished.
Joint project by the federal government and canton
The planning phase began in 2002 after voters in Zurich accepted the cantonal loan the previous year with a Yes vote of over 80%. The costs for the cross-city link total CHF 2 billion, approximately one third of which will be borne by the Canton of Zurich and around two thirds by the federal government.