Jump to content

Zürich Hauptbahnhof

Coordinates: 47°22′41.41″N 8°32′24.64″E / 47.3781694°N 8.5401778°E / 47.3781694; 8.5401778
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zürich HB
Central terminal and underground pass-through railway station
Zürich Hauptbahnhof viewed from the east.
General information
Other namesZürich Hauptbahnhof
LocationBahnhofplatz 15
CH-8001 Zürich
Coordinates47°22′41.41″N 8°32′24.64″E / 47.3781694°N 8.5401778°E / 47.3781694; 8.5401778
Elevation408 m (1,339 ft)
Owned bySBB CFF FFS (Swiss Federal Railways)
Tracks26 (German: Gleis; 16 at-grade, terminal tracks; 2 underground, terminal tracks; 8 underground, pass-through tracks)
ConnectionsZVV: Bahnhofplatz/HB, Bahnhofstr./HB, Bahnhofquai/HB, Sihlquai/HB, Sihlpost/HB
ZSG Limmat river cruise (Landesmuseum)
VBZ trams 3 4 6 7 10 11 13 14 17
VBZ trolley buses 31 46
numerous trains per hour to/from Zürich Flughafen in c. 0:10h and VBZ tram 10 in 0:49h
Structure typeat-grade and underground
Platform levels2 (4 passenger levels)
Parkinglimited short-term
Bicycle facilitiesopenair (10/1048), covered (3/214), secured (Velostation Süd: 750, Velostation Nord: 170)
ArchitectJakob Friedrich Wanner (1871)
Architectural styleNeorenaissance (1871)
Other information
Fare zoneZVV: 110
WebsiteZürich Hauptbahnhof
Opened9 August 1847 (176 years ago) (1847-08-09)
Rebuilt1871, 1990 (S-Bahn), 2014 (Löwenstrasse)
Electrified5 February 1923 (1923-02-05)
2018471,300 per working day[1]
Preceding station Swiss Federal Railways Following station
Terminus EuroCity Sargans
towards Graz Hbf
Zürich Airport
towards München Hbf
Basel SBB Terminus
Bern IC 1 Zürich Oerlikon
towards St. Gallen
Terminus IC 2 Zug
towards Lugano
Basel SBB
IC 3 Sargans
towards Chur
Terminus IC Schaffhausen
Olten IC 5 Terminus
Aarau Zürich Airport
towards Rorschach
towards Brig
IC 8 Zürich Airport
towards Romanshorn
Bern IC 81
Terminus IR 13 Zürich Oerlikon
towards Chur
towards Bern
IR 16 Terminus
Zürich Altstetten
towards Basel SBB
IR 36 Zürich Oerlikon
towards Basel SBB
IR 37 Terminus
towards Lucerne
IR 70
towards Lucerne
IR 75 Zürich Airport
towards Konstanz
towards Aarau
RE37 Terminus
Terminus RE48 Zürich Oerlikon
towards Schaffhausen
Preceding station DB Fernverkehr Following station
Basel SBB ICE 12 Reverses direction
towards Chur
ICE 20
Basel SBB
towards Hamburg Hbf
Terminus IC 87 Schaffhausen
Preceding station Südostbahn Following station
Zürich Altstetten
towards Bern
IR 35 Aare Linth Thalwil
towards Chur
Terminus IR 46 Zug
towards Locarno
Preceding station ÖBB Following station
Terminus Railjet Express Sargans
EuroNight Buchs SG
Buchs SG
towards Praha hl.n.
Buchs SG
towards Zagreb
Nightjet Buchs SG
towards Graz Hbf
Basel SBB Terminus
Basel SBB
towards Berlin Hbf
Preceding station TGV Lyria Following station
Basel SBB
towards Paris-Lyon
Paris to Zürich Terminus
Preceding station Zürich S-Bahn Following station
Zürich Wiedikon
towards Unterterzen
S2 Zürich Oerlikon
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Bülach
S3 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Wetzikon
Zürich Selnau
towards Sihlwald
transfer at Zürich HB SZU
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Zug
S5 Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Baden
S6 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Uetikon
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Winterthur
S7 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Rapperswil
Zürich Wiedikon S8 Zürich Oerlikon
towards Winterthur
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Schaffhausen
S9 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Uster
Zürich Selnau
towards Uetliberg
transfer at Zürich HB SZU
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Aarau
S11 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Seuzach or Wila
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Brugg AG
S12 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Schaffhausen or Wil
Zürich Altstetten S14 Zürich Oerlikon
towards Hinwil
Zürich Hardbrücke S15 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Rapperswil
Zürich Hardbrücke S16 Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Altstetten
towards Koblenz
S19 Zürich Oerlikon
Zürich Hardbrücke
S20 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Uerikon
Zürich Hardbrücke S21 Terminus
Terminus S23 Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Romanshorn
Zürich Wiedikon
towards Zug
S24 Zürich Wipkingen
towards Thayngen or Weinfelden
Terminus S25 Wädenswil
towards Linthal
Zürich Altstetten
towards Muri AG
S42 Terminus
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Aarau
Limited service
Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Winterthur
Zürich Selnau SN4
Limited service
transfer at Zürich HB SZU
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Knonau
Limited service
Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Würenlos
Limited service
Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Winterthur
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Bassersdorf
Limited service
Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Stäfa
Zürich Wiedikon
towards Lachen
Limited service
Zürich Oerlikon
Zürich Hardbrücke
towards Bülach
Limited service
Zürich Stadelhofen
towards Uster
Zürich Hauptbanhof is located in Switzerland
Zürich Hauptbanhof
Zürich Hauptbanhof
Location in Switzerland

Zürich Hauptbahnhof (often shortened to Zürich HB, or just HB; Zürich Main Station or Zürich Central Station) is the largest railway station in Switzerland and one of the busiest in Europe. Zürich is a major railway hub, with services to and from across Switzerland and neighbouring countries such as Germany, Italy, Austria and France. The station was originally constructed as the terminus of the Spanisch Brötli Bahn, the first railway built completely within Switzerland. Serving up to 2,915 trains per day, Zürich HB is one of the busiest railway stations in the world. It was ranked as the second-best European railway station in 2020.[2]

The station can be found at the northern end of the Altstadt, or old town, in central Zürich, near the confluence of the rivers Limmat and Sihl. (The Sihl passes through the station in a tunnel with railway tracks both above and below.) The station is on several levels, with platforms both at ground and below-ground level, and tied together by underground passages and the ShopVille shopping mall. The station's railway yards extend about 4 km (2.5 mi) to the west.

The station is included in the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National Significance.[3]

Besides Zürich HB, there are 22 railway stations in the municipality of Zürich: Affoltern, Altstetten, Binz, Brunau, Enge, Friesenberg, Giesshübel, Hardbrücke, Leimbach, Manegg, Oerlikon, Saalsporthalle, Schweighof, Seebach, Selnau, Stadelhofen, Stettbach, Tiefenbrunnen, Triemli, Wiedikon, Wipkingen and Wollishofen (excluding the five stations of the Forch railway, which uses the tracks of the tram system in Zürich). Another railway station, Letten, has been disused since 1989.


The first station[edit]

View of the first station in 1847.
Ground plan of the first station in 1847.

The first Zürich railway station was built by Gustav Albert Wegmann [de], on what were then the north-western outskirts of the city. It occupied a piece of land between the rivers Limmat and Sihl, and trains accessed it from the west via a bridge over the Sihl. At the eastern end of the station was a turntable, used for turning locomotives. This basic terminal station layout, with all trains arriving from the west, was to set the basic design of the station for the next 143 years.

The new station was the initially the terminus of the Swiss Northern Railway, more often called the Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn, which opened on 9 August 1847 and linked Zürich with Baden. Initially the railway lines in the station were laid to a gauge of 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in), perhaps because the same gauge was used at the contemporaneous and nearby Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway.[4]

From the opening of the station, the railways of northern Switzerland developed rapidly, and by 1853 the Swiss Northern Railway had been merged into the Swiss Northeastern Railway (Schweizerische Nordostbahn; NOB). Also in 1853, the tracks in the station were regauged to the standard gauge (1,435 mm or 4 ft 8+12 in) that is still used by all lines in the station. In 1856, the NOB completed its line from the station to Winterthur via the Wipkingen Tunnel and Oerlikon. In 1858, the NOB completed its line from Baden via Brugg to Aarau, where it connected with the Swiss Central Railway (Schweizerische Centralbahn; SCB), thus providing connections to Basel, Solothurn and Lausanne.

With further railways planned, it became clear that the 1847 station was not large enough. A rebuild was started to meet Zürich's increased transport needs, albeit on the same site and using the same basic layout.

The 1871 station[edit]

Construction of the train shed in 1870.
Photo of the new Bahnhof in 1871.
The Hauptbahnhof in a photo by Eduard Spelterini, ca. 1907.

In 1871, the replacement station building opened, to a design by architect Jakob Friedrich Wanner. Its main entrance is a triumphal arch facing the end of the then newly built Bahnhofstrasse. In front of the arch stands a monument to the railway pioneer Alfred Escher. The magnificent sandstone neo-Renaissance building features richly decorated lobbies and atriums, restaurants and halls. Originally housed inside it was the headquarters of the Schweizerische Nordostbahn (NOB). The train shed, spanned by iron trusses, initially covered six tracks.

The station was named Zürich Hauptbahnhof in 1893, to reflect that year's incorporation of many of Zürich's suburbs into an enlarged municipality. In 1902, the year in which the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) took over the Schweizerische Centralbahn and the NOB, the tracks inside the eastern end of the train shed were lifted, due to a lack of space. Since then, these tracks have terminated at a more central location, immediately to the north of the Bahnhofstrasse. Also in 1902, four more tracks and a north wing with a restaurant and railway mail service were added to the north of the train shed. In the vacant space left inside the train shed, new rooms were built for baggage handling.

On 18 February 1916, the SBB decided that electrification of its network would be by the high-tension single-phase alternating current system that is still used on all routes. On 5 February 1923, the electrified Zug–Zürich railway was put into operation, the first electrified line to Zurich. By 1927 all routes from Zürich Hauptbahnhof had been electrified.

In 1933, the station's simple concourse and the iron and glass train shed were created with seven and a half arches to cover 16 tracks. As part of that work, the main shed was shortened by two segments.

In the 1940s, the line between Zürich and Geneva served as a "parade route". The first lightweight steel express train had entered service on this route in 1937. By 11 June 1960, the SBB network was largely electrified. In the following year, the SBB introduced its first four-system electric trains under the Trans Europ Express banner, and thereby increased the Zürich Hauptbahnhof's international importance.

In 1963, about 500 metres before the concourse, an imposing six-storey concrete cube arose in the station yard. It was designed by SBB architect Max Vogt [de], and it has been the home of the Zentralstellwerk Zürich (central signalling control) since 1966. The then state-of-the-art relay-controlled interlocking system replaced the decentralised mechanical and electro-mechanical signal boxes in the station throat, including the Stellwerk «Seufzerbrücke» ("Bridge of Sighs" signal box), which had spanned the entire station throat just east of the Langstrasse.

The signalling control system was modernised to coincide with the commissioning of the Zürich S-Bahn. It is equipped with a computerised controller that performs the standard operations. Apart from the tracks and points (switches) of the "Sihlpost station" (which are controlled by an electronic control system), the entire control of the points and signals in the Langstrasse–Concourse section is still largely under relay control, in some cases with the original relay sets installed in 1966.

The immense station yard, with its platform tracks and station building, is a bottleneck for the city of Zürich. The Limmat and the Sihl were further bottlenecks, and the combination of the three led to gridlock in the 1950s and 1960s. In parallel, there were plans for a subway system. Although the people voted against it in 1962, the city's Civil Engineering Department had already started to convert the Bahnhofplatz for the purpose of a possible underground line.

ShopVille and S-Bahn[edit]

View from the Bahnhofstrasse, with Richard Kissling's monumental fountain depicting Alfred Escher in the foreground.

On 1 October 1970, construction of the Bahnhofplatz, as well as the pedestrian and shopping arcade ShopVille was completed. Upon its opening, the Bahnhofplatz became a pedestrian-free zone, and the underground ShopVille the only access to the station. Contrary to expectations, ShopVille did not capture the support of the people, who, in 1973, voted even more emphatically to reject a subway system.

In the 1980s, ShopVille became a drug-dealing hub, due to its proximity to the Autonomes Jugendzentrum Zürich ("Autonomous Youth Center Zürich"). Its low point was reached at the end of the decade, when travellers avoided all parts of it other than the concourse and the tram stop. Consequently, there were several night-time closures by mesh fences. However, the solution to this problem was foreseeable, as the people had agreed on 29 November 1981 to the construction of the Zürich S-Bahn and the extension of the Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn to the Hauptbahnhof.

The 2.1 km (1.3 mi) long Hirschengraben Tunnel was built for the S-Bahn from the Hauptbahnhof to Zürich Stadelhofen. This new line continued through the Zürichberg Tunnel to Stettbach, with connections to the existing lines to Dietlikon and Dübendorf.[5] In the Hauptbahnhof, two underground stations were constructed. For the S-Bahn, a four-track station with the working title Museumstrasse was built, and the Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn was extended to the Zürich HB SZU station, which had once been intended for the never-realized U-Bahn.

The opening of the S-Bahn was on 27 May 1990, and since then, the ShopVille arcades have connected the two underground stations with the main hall. Black and white striped marble walls and granite floors are the main design features of what is one of the largest shopping centres in Switzerland. In 1996, the main hall was cleared of its temporary installations. In 1997, the train shed was fitted on both sides with pitched roofs on sloping concrete supports, designed by local architects Marcel Meili and Markus Peter.

Löwenstrasse station[edit]

Löwenstrasse station in March 2014

The planning of the S-Bahn and the Rail 2000 long-haul project raised the idea of building the Weinberg Tunnel, a through route from Zürich Hauptbahnhof to Oerlikon. That proposal was initially postponed, but the great success of the S-Bahn led to an expansion of services and, consequently, to capacity constraints. Plans were made to expand existing rail lines within Zürich leading to the north, but this encountered resistance from the population living near those rail lines. As an alternative the construction of the Weinberg tunnel and four additional underground tracks in the railway station was suggested and confirmed by a referendum.

In 2002, an architectural competition was held for the new Löwenstrasse transit station, won by the architect Jean-Pierre Dürig [de]. On 22 December 2006, the Federal Office of Transport approved the building of the tunnel and a third underground four-track Löwenstrasse station. In September 2007, construction began on the project, nicknamed Durchmesserlinie (cross-city link). On 14 June 2014, the new platforms and tunnels were opened.

The new line runs from the Altstetten railway station, crosses the Zürich HB station throat on a bridge, and leads into the underground Löwenstrasse station. From there, it goes through the new, approximately 5 km (3.1 mi) long Weinberg Tunnel in a long left-hand curve under the existing Zürich HB–Stadelhofen line. It then ends at the level of the portals of the existing Wipkinger Tunnels in Oerlikon, where it connects with the northbound lines, including the line to Zürich Airport and Winterthur.[6]

In 2007, the SBB and Deutsche Bahn entered into a station partnership between the Zürich HB and the Berlin Hauptbahnhof to promote knowledge sharing between operators of similarly sized stations.[7]

Layout and facilities[edit]


View down into the busy Haupthalle, with the Querhalle and surface platforms just visible at top of shot

The station is aligned approximately east to west, at the northern edge of the city centre and the northern end of Bahnhofstrasse, the city's main shopping street. It is split over three principal levels, with the ground level housing sixteen terminal platform tracks and the station's main concourse. Below this level are a series of pedestrian passageways, the ShopVille shopping centre, and the course of the Sihl river. At the lowest level, and parallel to the terminal platforms at ground level, are ten underground platform tracks, of which two are terminal and eight are through.[8]

The station's main concourse itself comprises two sections. To the east is the Haupthalle (Main Hall), which was the train hall of the 1871 station but is now a pedestrian circulation space. The Haupthalle is surrounded on three sides by station buildings, whilst to the west it opens onto the Querhalle (Cross Hall), which stretches across the head of the ground level terminal platforms. These platforms, comprising two side platforms and seven island platforms, are sheltered by the 1933-built train shed and are served by tracks numbered 3 to 18.[8]

At the middle level, the station site is crossed north to south by four pedestrian passageways. The eastern three of these, the Passage Bahnhofstrasse, the Passage Löwenstrasse and the Passage Gessnerallee, form an interconnected complex with the ShopVille shopping complex and give direct access to all the station's platforms as well as to the surrounding streets. An intermediate underground level, immediately below the Haupthalle, connects these passageways with the concourse. The westernmost passage, the Passage Sihlquai, lies to the west of the Sihl, which passes under the station from north to south at the same level as the passageways. Because of the presence of the river channel, the Sihlquai passage has no direct connection to the other passageways, but it connects to streets to the north and south of the station, and to all platforms except that serving tracks 21 and 22.[8]

At the lowest level, there are three groups of underground platforms. The most southerly are terminal tracks 21 and 22 of the Zürich HB SZU station, with a single island platform, and accessible only to trains on the SZU's Uetliberg and Sihltal lines. To the north of these are two island platforms serving tracks 31 to 34, known as the Löwenstrasse station, which link to the station's western rail approaches, and to an eastern approach via the Weinberg tunnel from Oerlikon station. Some distance to the north of these are two further island platforms serving tracks 41 to 44, known as the Museumstrasse station, which also link to the station's western approaches, and to an eastern approach via the Hirschengraben Tunnel from Stadelhofen station.[8]



Underneath the Bahnhofplatz and the station is the large underground shopping centre called "ShopVille" of over 200 shops or other businesses. It benefits from the Swiss employment law rule that while generally labour on Sundays is not allowed, it is allowed in "centres of public transport". The huge underground "Rail City" is, therefore, usually bustling on Sundays even while the streets of Zurich are largely empty.[9]

Events take place regularly in the Haupthalle, including "open air" cinema; vegetable, flea and Christmas markets; and events such as skating, beach volleyball and the "warm up" for the Street Parade.

Since 8 June 2009, Zürich HB has been the site of the first SBB Lounge. This waiting room was exclusively for holders of a first-class general subscription or a valid international first-class ticket or for frequent traveller program members of the Railteam partner railways.[10] However, the lounge was closed in 2016.

The station also has its own chapel, jointly run by the Evangelical Reformed and the Roman Catholic churches, but open to travellers of all denominations or religions. The chapel is located on the intermediate underground level, immediately below the Haupthalle.[11]

Station bells, clock and lights[edit]

There are station bells above the rear exit of the large hall. In the 1847 station, bells rang before each departure of the Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn. The signal order prescribed as follows: "10 minutes before the departure of a train, one [bell]; 5 minutes before the same, two [bells]; and immediately prior to departure, three bells". For the 1871 renovations, the architect Jakob Friedrich Wanner gave the station clock the place of honour in the portal above the main entrance, and the bells were placed in a small tower in the east facade.

On 12 September 2006, to commemorate the station's 150th anniversary, the ETH Zürich installed the NOVA, a three-dimensional, bivalent display, which consists of 25,000 individually addressable light balls. It represents a play of light of several colours, but can also represent cinematic sequences. It is expected to remain hanging in the station until further notice.[12]


Zürich HB is served by more than 2,900 trains daily.[13] In 2018, it had an average of 471,300 passengers each working day.[1] The station is busy at all times, with trains running from 05:00 until 01:00 during the week. From Friday night to Sunday morning, trains run also all night as part of the ZVV Nachtnetz (nighttime network).[14]


The station has four distinct groups of tracks (Gleis), giving a total of 26 tracks:

  • Tracks 3–18 are terminal tracks located at ground level, served by two side platforms and seven island platforms. These are used by long-distance trains from throughout Switzerland, and by international trains such as the EuroCity, Cisalpino, InterCityExpress and TGV. A few S-Bahn services (S21, S24, S25, S42) also depart from these tracks.
  • Tracks 21 and 22 are underground terminal tracks, served by a single island platform, and located on the southern side of the station. This platform is known as Zürich HB SZU and is used by SZU operated S-Bahn services S4 and S10, heading south and west towards Sihl valley and Uetliberg, respectively.
  • Tracks 31–34 (Löwenstrasse station) are underground through tracks, served by a pair of island platforms, and located just to the north of tracks 21 and 22. These are used by long-distance trains and S-Bahn services S2 S8 S14 and S19 running to and from Oerlikon station via the Weinberg Tunnel.
  • Tracks 41–44 (Museumstrasse station) are underground through tracks, served by a pair of island platforms, and located on the northern side of the station. These are used by S-Bahn trains running via the Hirschengraben Tunnel and Zürich Stadelhofen station (services S3, S5, S6, S7, S9, S11, S12, S15, S16, S20, S23).

International services[edit]

The following international services call at Zürich Hauptbahnhof:[15]

Domestic long-distance traffic[edit]

The following long-distance services call at Zürich Hauptbahnhof:[15]

  • EuroCity/InterCity: half-hourly service over the Lake Zürich left-bank line to Lugano (EuroCity continues to Milano).
  • InterCity:
  • Half-hourly service over the Zürich–Baden and Zürich–Winterthur lines between Geneva Airport/Lausanne and Rorschach.
  • Hourly service over the Zürich–Baden and Lake Zürich left-bank lines between Basel SBB and Chur.
  • Hourly service over the Zürich–Baden line to Lausanne.
  • Hourly service over the Zürich–Baden and Zürich–Winterthur lines between Spiez and Romanshorn; service every two hours from Spiez to Brig and Interlaken Ost.
  • Hourly service over the Lake Zürich left-bank line to Chur.
  • Hourly service over the Zürich–Baden and Zürich–Winterthur lines between Basel SBB and Zürich Airport.
  • Two trains per hour over the Zürich–Baden line to Bern.
  • Hourly service over the Zürich–Baden line to Basel SBB.
  • Half-hourly service over the Lake Zürich left-bank line to Lucerne.
  • Service every two hours over the Lake Zürich left-bank line to Locarno.
  • Hourly service over the Zürich–Baden line to Schaffhausen.
  • Hourly service over the Zürich–Baden line to Aarau.

S-Bahn services[edit]

Since the commissioning of the Zürich S-Bahn in May 1990, the Hauptbahnhof has been the central node of the Zürich S-Bahn Stammnetz (core network). As such, it is the nodal point where S-Bahn lines S2, S3, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, S12, S14, S15, S16, S19, S20, S21, S24 and S25, the Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn (S4 and S10) and Zürich trams interconnect.

During weekends, there are seven nighttime S-Bahn services (SN1, SN4, SN5, SN6, SN7, SN8, SN9) calling at the Hauptbahnhof, offered by ZVV:[16]

Urban public transport[edit]

Around the station, the trams and trolleybuses of the Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich (VBZ) provide local public transport services. The Hauptbahnhof is one of the most important nodes of the Zürich tramway network.

The main station is accessible from five tram and bus stops:

  • Sihlquai|HB to the north next to exit Sihlquai via the most western underpass, tram lines 4, 13, and 17;
  • Bahnhofquai|HB to the east via the main hall, tram lines 4, 11, 13, 14, 17 and trolleybus 46;
  • Bahnhofplatz|HB to the south via traverse hall, main hall, or underground ShopVille, tram lines 3, 6, 10, 14 and trolleybus 31;
  • Bahnhofstrasse|HB just south of Bahnhofplatz via main hall or underground ShopVille, tram lines 6, 7, 11, 13 and 17;
  • Sihlpost|HB 300m to the south-west from exit Europaallee via the most western underpass, tram lines 3, 14 and trolleybus 31.

Train operations[edit]

Due to its central location in Switzerland and in Europe, the station was quickly able to establish itself as an important railway junction. Most trains running through several European countries operated through Switzerland. In addition, a majority of Swiss mainline trains travelled to or from Zürich. For the clock-face timetable introduced to Switzerland in 1982, Zürich is the "pacemaker". Delays and other disruptions at Zürich Hauptbahnhof sometimes affect the whole of Switzerland.

Long-distance trains meet in Zürich on the hour and half-hour, and thus connect with each other. In cases of delays, connecting trains wait a maximum of 3 minutes beyond the scheduled departure time, except for some international trains and the late night trains. S-Bahn services do not wait for late connecting trains, but the long-distance trains - contrary to popular opinion - usually wait for delayed S-Bahn trains (also for a maximum of 3 minutes).

Flood risk[edit]

The Sihl passes through the station in a tunnel, with platforms above and below the river, and public circulation areas to either side. The tunnel comprises 5 culverts with a length of 190 metres (623 ft) and a clear opening of 12 metres (39 ft) by 3 metres (10 ft) each. This limits the river's flow capacity, raising concerns about the capacity of the tunnel to deal with extreme flood events. Additionally, during the building of the new Löwenstrasse platforms, it was necessary to temporarily close part of this tunnel, thus reducing the capacity even further.[17][18]

Some 50 kilometres (31 mi) upstream of the station lies the Sihlsee, Switzerland's largest artificial lake, which is impounded by a 33-metre (108 ft) high dam. Studies showed that a failure of this dam could lead to an 8-metre (26 ft) high flood wave reaching the Hauptbahnhof within 2 hours. This threat has led the City of Zürich to develop, publish and test evacuation plans for the affected areas of the city, and especially the station area.[19]


Zurich main station is, for customs purposes, a border station for passengers arriving from Germany. As such, customs checks may be performed in the station by Swiss customs officials.[20][21][22] Systematic passport controls were abolished, however, when Switzerland joined the Schengen Area in 2008.[23][24]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Passagierfrequenz". Berne, Switzerland: SBB CFF FFS. September 2019. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2021 – via data.sbb.ch – SBB DATA PORTAL.
  2. ^ "Zurich ranked second-best European railway station". swissinfo.ch. 18 February 2020. Archived from the original on 23 August 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Schweizerisches Inventar der Kulturgüter von nationaler Bedeutung - Zürich" [Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National Significance - Zürich] (PDF) (in German). Swiss Confederation. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  4. ^ Monika Burri; Kilian T Elsasser; David Gugerli. "Die Internationalität der Eisenbahn 1850 - 1970" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. ^ Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2012. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-3-89494-130-7.
  6. ^ "DML – Cross-city link Zurich". SBB-CFF-FFS website. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Berlin Hauptbahnhof und Bahnhof Zürich HB schließen Partnerschaft" [Berlin Hauptbahnhof and Bahnhof Zürich HB agree to a partnership]. touristikpresse.net website. touristikpresse.net. 25 December 2007. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  8. ^ a b c d "Innenplan Bahnhof Zürich HB" (PDF). SBB. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Bundesgesetz über die Arbeit in Industrie, Gewerbe und Handel - Article 27" [Federal law on working in industry, trade and commerce - Article 27] (in German). Swiss Confederation. 13 March 1964. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  10. ^ "SBB: Die SBB-Lounge" [SBB: the SBB-Lounge]. SBB-CFF-FFS website (in German). SBB-CFF-FFS. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  11. ^ "Bahnhofkirche" [Station Church] (in German). Bahnhofkirche. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Mit NOVA Perspektiven verändern" [Alter perspectives with NOVA] (in German). Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. 25 December 2007. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  13. ^ Schweizerische Bundesbahn (June 2004). "Durchmesserlinie Altstetten–Zürich HB–Oerlikon" (PDF) (in German). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
  14. ^ "Night timetable and line network". ZVV. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  15. ^ a b "Abfahrt: Bahnhof Zürich HB" (PDF). Swiss Federal Railways (in German). 12 December 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 December 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  16. ^ ZVV (10 December 2023). "Nachtnetz | an Wochenenden" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  17. ^ "Physical model experiments on the Sihl culverts at Zurich main station". ETH Zürich. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  18. ^ Bruen, M.; Krahe, P.; Zappa, M.; Olsson, J.; Vehvilainen, B.; Kok, K.; Daamen, K. (2010). "Visualizing flood forecasting uncertainty: some current European EPS platforms—COST731 working group 3" (PDF). Atmospheric Science Letters. 11 (2): 92–99. Bibcode:2010AtScL..11...92B. doi:10.1002/asl.258. hdl:10197/2330.
  19. ^ "Wasseralarm Sihlsee" (PDF) (in German). Stadt Zürich. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  20. ^ Doelly, Roger (21 August 2013). "Der Bahnhof ist auch ein Zoll". K-Tipp [de]. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  21. ^ Schoop, Florian (17 July 2013). "Der Zürcher Hauptbahnhof ist jetzt auch ein Zoll". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  22. ^ "Zoll-Box am Zürcher HB zum Verzollen von im Ausland gekaufter Waren". htr.ch. 16 July 2013. Archived from the original on 25 September 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  23. ^ Allen, Matthew (27 March 2009). "Switzerland's Schengen entry finally complete". swissinfo.ch. Archived from the original on 21 March 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Land borders open as Switzerland enters Schengen zone". France24. 12 December 2008. Archived from the original on 31 July 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.

Further reading[edit]


  • Bosshard, Martin (2004). Der Zimmerberg-Basistunnel: Zürich HB – Thalwil; Bahn 2000 [The Zimmerberg-Base Tunnel: Zürich HB – Thalwil; Bahn 2000] (in German). Zürich: Projekt-Management Zimmerberg, SBB. ISBN 978-3-033-00226-5.
  • Loriol, Christine (2005). HB Zürich – mehr als ein Bahnhof [Zürich HB – More than a Station] (in German). Zürich: Kuk-Bild-&-Wort. ISBN 978-3-033-00611-9.
  • Stutz, Werner (2005). Schweizerische Kunstführer GSK, Band 774: Der Hauptbahnhof Zürich [Swiss Art Guide GSK, Vol 774: Zürich Hauptbahnhof] (in German). Bern: Gesellschaft für Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte. ISBN 978-3-85782-774-7.
  • Walker, Martin (2011). Zürich HB, Portrait eines faszinierenden Kosmos [Zürich HB, Portrait of a Fascinating Cosmos] (in German). Lenzburg: Faro im Fona Verlag AG. ISBN 978-3-03781-029-3.


External links[edit]