Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR: Jungfrau Railway Group recorded successful first half year / CEO Urs Kessler to step down in June 2025

In an ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 of the Listing Rules, Jungfraubahn Holding AG reports that the Jungfrau Railway Group performed well in the first half of the year. Both Jungfraujoch and the Experience Mountains recorded a good increase in guests. Operating income amounted to CHF 132.5 million, with a half-yearly profit of CHF 35 million. CEO Urs Kessler has decided to step down from his office as Chief Executive Officer after the General Meeting of Jungfraubahn Holding AG in June 2025, now that the Jungfrau Railway Group is debt-free and back on track. This period allows sufficient time to ensure an orderly succes-sion process.

In the first six months of 2023, the Jungfrau Railway Group finally overcame the pandemic. Guests from India, Southeast Asia, South Korea and the USA in particular made up for many trips that had not been possible during the COVID-19 years.





Change in %

Jungfraujoch (ascent)




Skier visits Jungfrau Ski Region





in CHF thousand

in CHF thousand

Change in %

Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe




Experience Mountains




Winter Sports




Total transport income




The company generated operating income of CHF 132.5 million and an EBITDA of CHF 63.1 million. In the first half of 2023, the Jungfrau Railway Group achieved its best half-yearly profit to date of CHF 35.0 million. In the record year of 2019, half-yearly profit had amounted to CHF 23.9 million.

Rising frequencies at Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe

Year on year, Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe saw a significantly higher number of guests and are thus significantly higher than in the same period of the previous year. However, the number was still 11% behind the record year of 2019. This was due to weaker group business resulting from the lack of flights and bottlenecks in the issuing of visas.

Net transport income in the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe segment amounted to CHF 55.7 million, a year-on-year increase of 109.5%. The growth was supported especially by the guest mix, with a higher share of international individual travellers.

More guests on the Experience Mountains – a successful winter season

In its Experience Mountains segment, the Jungfrau Railway Group generated net transport income of CHF 13.1 million, an increase of 48.5%. The number of guests on the Experience Mountains rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, except for the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren mountain rail and cableway. In June 2023, the First gondola and the Harder funicular achieved new records. In the first half of 2023, the Harder funicular recorded 302,900 ascents and descents, an increase of 56.0% compared to the same period in the previous year. The First gondola recorded 253,400 passengers (ascent) in the first six months, a year-on-year surge of 68.9%. The Lauterbrunnen-Mürren mountain rail- and cableway (BLM) transported 149,900 passengers, a year-on-year increase of 38.2%.

In the first six months of 2023, the Winter Sports segment recorded 929,900 skier visits, 12.1% fewer first entries than in the corresponding period in 2022. The net transport income share of the Jungfrau Railway Group from the Winter Sports segment in the period under review underwent a slight year-on-year decline of 7.1% from the record figure of CHF 27.5 million to CHF 25.5 million. 

The first half of 2023 demonstrated the importance of the new V-Cableway with the Eiger Express and Männlichen gondola, not only to winter sports but also to spring and summer guests. The vision of having 12 months of peak season is gradually materialising. Thanks to quick and comfortable access by public transport, the entire Jungfrau region has become more attractive.

Urs Kessler: “The time is ripe for a change”

Urs Kessler has decided to step down from his office as Chief Executive Officer after the General Meeting of Jungfraubahn Holding AG in June 2025. Kessler, who has been with Jungfrau Railways for 36 years and served as Chief Executive Officer for the last 15 years, says: “The time is ripe for a change at the top of Switzerland’s most important mountain railway company. My idea was to successfully complete the V-Cableway project and to supervise the operational rollout for one or two years before moving on to new challenges outside the company.” However, the pandemic thwarted his plans. “In coordination with the Board of Directors, my new plan is to step down as of June 2025,” he explains. “I wanted the company to be debt-free again, which has been the case since the end of 2022. What is more, we have outperformed the highest half-yearly profit to date from the record year of 2019. Thus, I will be able to hand over my operational leadership responsibilities with a clear conscience in June 2025, and there is enough time left to arrange for an orderly succession.”

With their tireless efforts, Urs Kessler and his team have regularly guided the Jungfrau Railway Group to fresh success. For example, new markets have been developed, the Experience Mountains have been clearly positioned, and record results have been achieved. The extraordinary sports and music events on Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, at an altitude of 3,454 meters above sea level, have reached people around the globe.

Urs Kessler was born in Gsteigwiler and completed an apprenticeship as an operational dispatcher. In 1987, he joined Jungfrau Railways as Head of Sales Promotion and started travelling the markets in Asia, where he established a network of agents and developed the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe brand. 

“What we particularly admire about Urs Kessler is his closeness to his approximately 900 colleagues, virtually all of whom he knows by name, his intense contact with the population in the Jungfrau region and his innovative drive, which he most recently demonstrated with the successful rollout of the V-Cableway,” says Heinz Karrer, Chairman of the Board of Directors. The members of the Board of Directors of Jungfraubahn Holding AG and Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG wish him success as he continues to fulfil his duties as Chief Executive Officer until he leaves in June 2025. The succession process will soon be launched. Urs Kessler’s successor is to be determined by the end of 2024 at the latest. 

Sustainable travelling: more rail, less road

Henceforth, the car-free villages Wengen and Mürren will have even better access to public transport. Work on the Grütschalp-Mürren adhesion railway at the Lauterbrunnen-Mürren mountain rail- and cableway (BLM) has reached an advanced stage. Due to the delayed delivery of the rolling stock, the go-live of the refurbished mountain railway will be postponed from December 2023 to June 2024. However, the “Wengen Shuttle” between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen will go live as of the timetable change in December 2023 as planned. The stop and Park+Ride Matten near Interlaken, a project of its alliance partner Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG, will commence operations at the same time. These measures are intended to cut down on motorised traffic in the Lütschine valleys to an even greater extent.

Promoting rail instead of road is also a key element of the sustainability strategy of the Jungfrau Railway Group. In the first half of the year, the focus was on the further development of integrated sustainability management. ISO 14001 certification, which determines the requirements for an environmental management system, is to take place in autumn. Moreover, reporting for 2023 will be prepared in accordance with the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which includes the determination of key topics by means of a materiality analysis.


The trend of the first six months of 2023 continued in the peak-season months of July and August. Business performance in the second half of 2023 will continue to be overshadowed by global uncertainties that are beyond the company’s control, such as the war in Ukraine, general global economic, price and currency development, and bottlenecks regarding intercontinental flights and the issuing of visas in some Asian countries. 

The Jungfrau Railway Group hopes to take the last step towards normality in the financial year 2023. For this though, the international travel markets need to continue to normalise, especially regarding group travel.

Link to the half-yearly report