BLS AG is a Swiss railway company created by the 2006 merger of BLS Lötschbergbahn and Regionalverkehr Mittelland AG. It is 55.8% owned by the canton of Berne, and 21.7% by the Swiss Confederation. It has two main business fields: passenger traffic and infrastructure.
BLS has a subsidiary BLS Cargo which is responsible for all freight operations. BLS Cargo works in cooperation with the freight subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, Railion. However, the staff, apart from management and sale, is employed by BLS AG. Part of the BLS locomotive fleet is owned by BLS Cargo.
In 2007 the new, 34.6 km long, Lötschberg Base Tunnel opened, which is part of the 449 km of infrastructure owned and operated by BLS AG. For details of the network see the map at right. The Lötschberg base tunnel was built by a wholly owned subsidiary BLS AlpTransit AG. By mid-2007 this company handed over the base tunnel to BLS AG. In 2009 this company was renamed BLS Netz AG and the whole BLS infrastructure passed over to this company which is mainly owned by the Swiss Confederation, which has paid for most of the recent investments.
BLS AG owns or operates on the following railway lines:
- Bern–Neuchâtel railway line
- Grenchenberg railway line
- Gürbetal railway line
- Hauenstein railway line
- Lake Thun railway line
- Lötschberg railway line
- Spiez–Erlenbach–Zweisimmen railway line
- 3 x BLS Re 420
- 33 x BLS Re 425
- 18 x BLS Re 465
- 28 x BLS RABe 515
- 36 x BLS RABe 525
- 13 x BLS RABe 526
- 25 x BLS RABe 535
- 21 x BLS RADe 565
- 13 x BLS RADe 566
BLS Cargo has the following rolling stock.
- 4 x BLS Re 425
- 2 x BLS Re 456
- 10 x BLS Re 465
- 15 x BLS Re 475
- 20 x BLS Re 485
- 10 x BLS Re 486
- 1 x BLS Am 845
In 2010, 28 Stadler KISS EMUs were ordered; the first was delivered in March 2012. As of 2012[update], BLS was planning BLS to spend around SFr1·2bn on new rolling stock by 2025, building a more standardised fleet with fewer different types of train. In 2017, 58 Stadler FLIRT EMUs were ordered, expected to enter service between 2021 and 2026.
Passenger train services
Since the merger, BLS has been the exclusive operator of the standard gauge part of the S-Bahn Bern. This includes open access services over Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and STB Sensetalbahn tracks. Since December 2007 BLS offers a new RegioExpress service over the old Lötschberg route while most SBB and Cisalpino, InterCity, and EuroCity trains use the new Lötschberg tunnel. Here is a full list of regular BLS train services:
- S1 Fribourg-Bern-Münsingen-Thun
- S2 Laupen-Bern-Konolfingen-Langnau
- S3 Biel/Bienne-Lyss-Bern-Belp
- S31 (Biel/Bienne-)Münchenbuchsee-Bern-Belp-Thun
- S4 Thun-Belp-Bern-Burgdorf-Langnau
- S44 Thun-Belp-Bern-Burgdorf-Solothurn/Sumiswald-Grünen
- S5 Bern-Kerzers-Neuenburg/Murten(-Payerne)
- S51 Bern-Stöckacker-Bern Brünnen Westside
- S52 Bern-Bern Brünnen Westside-Kerzers
- S6 Bern-Köniz-Schwarzenburg
- S6 Langnau-Wolhusen-Malters-Luzern
- S7 Langenthal-Huttwil-Willisau-Wolhusen-Luzern (coupled with the RE Bern-Luzern between Wolhusen and Luzern)
- RegioExpress (RE)
- RE Bern-Langnau-Luzern
- RE Bern-Neuenburg-La Chaux-de-Fonds
- RE Bern-Münsingen-Spiez-Brig/Zweisimmen
- Regional trains (R)
- R Interlaken Ost-Spiez-Wiessenbach-Zweisimmen
- R Spiez-Frutigen
- R Thun-Konolfingen-Hasle Rüegsau
- R Thun-Konolfingen-Burgdorf-Solothurn
- R Kerzers-Lyss
- R Lyss-Büren a. Aare
BLS Busland operates a fleet of 36 buses over a network that complements the passenger train services. The bus fleet comprises:
- "Railway Gazette: First KISS for BLS". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- "BLS selects Stadler for its largest rolling stock order". Railway Gazette International. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
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