Use of train paths and ancillary services
The TVS coordinates the orders for train paths and ancillary services for the lines under its responsibility and allocates rights of use. It operates across almost the entire Swiss standard-gauge network.
To ensure non-discriminatory access to the network, the TVS is active prior to receiving train path applications. It oversees and reviews the preparation of timetable studies and is involved in alternative planning in relation to major engineering projects. It also sets out the rules for ordering train paths and ancillary services from BLS, SBB (incl. HBS and STB) and SOB, which these IMs publish in their network statements. The TVS also intends to carry out this work for the other IMs under its responsibility soon. Currently, the access conditions of these IMs are published together here.
The IMs are able to conclude framework agreements with network users that guarantee the network user track capacity even beyond the duration of a timetable period. When these framework agreements are made available, the TVS draws up a framework capacity statement and oversees the process of issuing these agreements.
In the annual timetabling process, the TVS ensures non-discriminatory train path allocation. Applicants order some 17,000 train paths. With so many orders being placed, train path conflicts are inevitable. A train path conflict occurs when two or more network usage requests clash with or exclude each other and cannot therefore both be granted. When these conflicts occur, the TVS works with the railway undertakings and timetablers concerned to find alternatives that will allow all the trains to run. Such alternatives include changes to timetabled services, other routes and minor alterations to service concepts developed with the railway undertakings concerned. The TVS leads these negotiations as a neutral party. If no mutually acceptable solution to a conflict can be reached, the TVS decides which railway undertaking will be awarded the train path on the basis of the statutory framework, namely the priority rules.
Train paths and ancillary services can also be ordered during the running timetable. This applies mainly to new or amended freight services or special passenger trains. Train path orders made during the existing timetable are limited to the available residual capacity and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Network usage requests for the current timetable for all IMs under the responsibility of the TVS must be submitted to TVS. The TVS asks the IMs to carry out the timetable planning and then forwards the planning result to the applicants, or where applicable, allocates the train paths and ancillary services to them. The only exception to this is operational orders and allocations, and orders and allocations relating to special trains. In these very last-minute transactions, the orders and allocations are made directly between the RU and IM concerned, with the TVS checking retrospectively that the correct process has been followed. If requests cannot be granted as required, the TVS coordinates the requests and ensures that the best possible alternatives are made available.
Due to limitations of the current corresponding systems, the TVS processes as of the beginning of 2021 orders and allocations for the IMs BLS, SBB (incl. HBS and STB) and SOB. The other IMs are then successively included in the process. The network usage conditions of each IM describe the current ordering process.