After two years of pandemic, Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG is back on track: transport income at the Bernese Oberland Railway increased by 98 per cent to 14.8 million Swiss francs in 2022. The Schynige Platte Railway even reached a new all-time high with transport income of CHF 4.7 million.
Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG has found its way out of the crisis after two difficult, pandemic-affected years. Normality returned rapidly from the second quarter of 2022. This was reflected in the transport income, which amounted to 14.8 million Swiss francs for the Bernese Oberland Railway (BOB), an increase of 98 per cent. At the Schynige Platte Railway (SPB), transport revenue rose by 47.3 per cent to 4.7 million Swiss francs - an all-time record. Overall, the transport income of Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG increased by CHF 8.8 million to CHF 19.5 million.
In 2022, the Swiss government and the Canton of Bern paid compensation of CHF 23.5 million for passenger transport and infrastructure, an increase of CHF 8.7 million (+59 per cent) on the previous year.
Profit of 7.8 million Swiss francs The results are just as high. Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG achieved an annual profit of CHF 7.8 million, of which CHF 6.8 million came from the “Regional Passenger Transport” division, CHF 0.9 million from the “Schynige Platte Railway” division and the remainder from the “Infrastructure” and “Ancillary Business” divisions. The high profit in the “Regional Passenger Transport” division, which is entitled to compensation, is due to the unexpectedly rapid recovery after the pandemic. Only a few months after the last pandemic measures were lifted, pre-crisis levels were reached.
A successful winter sports season, which equalled the record season of 2007/2008, and the fine weather in summer contributed to the good results of Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG. The Schynige Platte Railway was 42.4 per cent up on the previous year with 243,594 passengers. The implementation of the parking guidance system and the integration of the BOB into the ski pass (from Interlaken Ost) also showed the first positive effects.
Amounts in CHF (1000s)
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Transport revenue, Bernese Oberland Railway
Transport revenue, Schynige Platte Railway
Total operating income
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Investments of CHF 33.4 million Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG invested a total of CHF 33.4 million in 2022. Of this amount, 12.8 million Swiss francs were invested in the “Infrastructure” division, mainly in the Zweilütschinen railway station conversion, Sandweidli flood protection measures, Wilderswil airfield junction, and the Matten bus stop and Park+Ride facility projects. In the “Regional Passenger Transport” division, the investment volume amounted to CHF 20.4 million. This included an initial down payment of CHF 18.5 million for six additional trains, which are scheduled to enter service in 2025. These were ordered at the end of March 2022.
In spring 2022 the start of the reconstruction of Zweilütschinen station took place. The first stage, comprising the adaptation of the platform edge along the new platform 1 and the bus stop with turning area, was implemented in time for the timetable change in December 2022.
Outlook The goal of the board of directors and the executive board is to operate the railway in a cost-conscious manner and to preserve the SPB as a historical jewel. The close collaboration with the Jungfrau Railway Group as part of an alliance guarantees the Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG a competitive advantage. A primary focus is on public services and rounding out the mountain railway service in the Jungfrau Region. The aim is to improve capacity utilisation in the daily off-peak hours.
As part of the reconstruction of Zweilütschinen station, construction of the second stage with the underpass/ramp to the central platform and the access on the depot side began in early 2023. It will open at the timetable change on 9 December 2023. The Matten stop and the Park+Ride facility will be put into operation at the same time. In this way, the BOB is making a further contribution as an efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly service provider for the Lütschinen valleys.
The programme for the Schynige Platte Railway includes the renovation of the Wilderswil workshop and the complete renewal of the tracks, some of which date back to the Wilhelminian era. Work started in spring 2023 and is expected to take six years, spread over several stages. The SPB will therefore start a shortened season on 1 July 2023.
Core business and successful cooperation Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG is a regionally based transportation company that is committed to serving the public. The Swiss government and the Canton hold a clear majority of shares, as Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG covers part of the public transport network.
The Bernese Oberland Railway (BOB) provides access to the two Lütschinen valleys from Interlaken Ost. It transports guests on the routes from Interlaken East to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. As a modern regional railway, the BOB has an important feeder function for the Lütschinen valleys and the excursion destinations in the Jungfrau region. Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG also operates the tourism-focused Schynige Platte Railway that leads from Wilderswil to the Schynige Platte.
In the operational area, subsidiaries of Jungfraubahn Holding AG (JBH) collaborate closely with Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG. BOB has transferred operational management to Jungfraubahnen Management AG, of which it owns a 33 per cent stake.
The annual report of Berner Oberland-Bahnen AG is available here.