Berner Oberland Bahnen AG
The Bernese Oberland Railway provides access to both Lütschinen valleys quickly, safely and comfortably from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. The Schynige Platte Railway offers nostalgia and romance of the railway amidst the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG (BOB) has formed a strategic alliance with Jungfraubahn Holding AG (JBH) to exploit synergies. BOB shares are publicly traded on the Berner Kantonalbank's OTC X.
Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG is a regionally based transportation company that is committed to serving the public. Since BOB operates a part of the public transport network, the federal and cantonal governments purchased a clear majority of shares. The core business of the BOB is the marketing of the two segments: Bernese Oberland Railways and Schynige Platte Railway. The latter operates in the tourist sector. It is of fundamental importance to work closely with the Jungfrau Railway Group. The combination of the two business segments in its core business, the Schynige Platte nature experience and the synergies from the alliance with Jungfraubahn Holding AG, are the success factors of the stock corporation.
Modernism and nostalgia
The Bernese Oberland Railway operates as modern regional railway with feeder function for the destinations of the Jungfrau Region. The trains run every half hour (off-peak times and off-season with hourly service) and reach a capacity of 800 and 900 persons, respectively, per hour on the lines from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. The objective is comfortable access to the Lütschinen valleys. This represents an important service that is provided in the public interest.
From Wilderswil, the Schynige Platte Railway travels to Schynige Platte, 1,967 metres above sea level. The fundamental technical design of the historic cog railway remains the same as it was during the First World War. It runs from late May to late October and offers a nostalgic mountain experience with an alpine panorama. The destination is marketed under the slogan Top of Swissness. A nature cinema and daily live performances from alphorn players underline the positioning.
Strategy, objective and new projects
The objective is the cost-conscious operation of the railways, easing the burden on the public regarding reimbursement requirements and maintenance of the Schynige Platte Railway by means of its own resources. The close collaboration with the Jungfrau Railway Group guarantees BOB a competitive advantage compared with its benchmarks. The primary focus is on public service and rounding out the mountain rail service in the region. In addition, BOB seeks organic growth through better utilisation of the daily off-peak periods and the off-season. Along with their partners within the Jungfrau Railways, they support the "10-month high season" initiative.
The new construction of the 700-metre long "Buechitunnel" was opened in November 2015. On the route between Zweilütschinen and Grindelwald, the risks of service interruptions caused by natural hazards have been put to an end, increasing the comfort of the ride as well as timetable stability. Another significant investment project is the connection of the BOB as part of the V-Cableway project to the Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen ski area by means of a new Rothenegg station in Grindelwald. Likewise part of the V-project is the procurement of new rolling stock from BOB. For a total of CHF 77.7 million six new three-part multiple unit trains and three control cars have been ordered. The new vehicles will be put into operation in 2017.