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Zürich Hauptbahnhof

Zürich Hauptbahnhof
(Zürich HB)
Zürich Hauptbahnhof viewed from the east.
Location Bahnhofplatz 15,
City of Zürich,
Canton of Zürich,
Owned by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)
Operated by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)
Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn (SZU)
Platforms 26
Connections Zürich trams
Zürich trolleybuses
Zürich buses
Limmat river cruise
Architect Jakob Friedrich Wanner
Opened 9 August 1847 (1847-08-09)
Rebuilt 1871, 1990
Electrified 5 February 1923 (1923-02-05)
Passengers 414,000 per day
Preceding station   Swiss rail network   Following station
Zürich Oerlikon   Zürich S-Bahn
S2 line
  Zürich Wiedikon
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S3 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Terminus   Zürich S-Bahn
S4 line
  Zürich Selnau
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S5 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S6 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S7 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Oerlikon   Zürich S-Bahn
S8 line
  Zürich Wiedikon
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S9 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Terminus   Zürich S-Bahn
S10 line
  Zürich Selnau
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S11 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S12 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Oerlikon   Zürich S-Bahn
S14 line
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S15 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Zürich Hardbrücke   Zürich S-Bahn
S16 line
  Zürich Stadelhofen
Terminus   Zürich S-Bahn
S21 line
  Zürich Wiedikon
Zürich Wipkingen   Zürich S-Bahn
S24 line
  Zürich Wiedikon
Terminus   Zürich S-Bahn
S25 line
Zürich HB
Zürich HB
Zürich HB (Switzerland)

Zürich Hauptbahnhof (often shortened to Zürich HB; English: Zürich Main Station or Zürich Central Station[1]) is the largest railway station in Switzerland. Zürich is a major railway hub, with services to and from across Switzerland and neighbouring European countries such as Germany, Italy, Austria and France. Constructed as the terminus of the Spanisch Brötli Bahn, the first railway built completely within Switzerland, it is the second oldest railway station in Switzerland. Serving up to 2,915 trains per day, Zürich HB is one of the busiest railway stations in the world.

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 under the station in a tunnel. 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.[2]


  • History 1
    • The first station 1.1
    • The 1871 station 1.2
    • Shopville and S-Bahn 1.3
    • Löwenstrasse station 1.4
  • Layout and facilities 2
    • Layout 2.1
    • Facilities 2.2
    • Station bells, clock and lights 2.3
  • Operation 3
    • Tracks 3.1
    • International services 3.2
    • Domestic long-distance traffic 3.3
    • S-Bahn services 3.4
    • Urban public transport 3.5
    • Train operations 3.6
    • Station operations 3.7
    • Flood risk 3.8
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The first station

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, on what were then the north-western outskirts of the city. It occupied a piece of land between the Limmat and Sihl rivers, 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 departing and departing from the east, 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 contemperaneous and nearby Grand Duchy of Baden State Railway.[3]

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

Construction of the train shed in 1870.
Photo of the new Hauptbahnhof 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. Its stone walls with arches and arched windows portrayed a simple, monumental impression of space.

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, 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

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 Autonomen 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.[4] 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 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 the, 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

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. 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 HB.[5]

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.[6]

Layout and facilities


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.[7]

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.[7]

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 river, 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.[7]

At the lowest level, there are three groups of underground platforms. The most southerly are terminal tracks 21 and 22, 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.[7]



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.[8]

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 is 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.[9]

Station bells, clock and lights

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.[10]


The surface platforms (3-18)
The Löwenstrasse platforms (31-34)
The Museumstrasse platforms (41-44)

Zürich HB is served by more than 2,900 trains daily.[11] In 2012, it had an average of 414,000 passengers each working day.[12] 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 all day and all night as part of the ZVV Nachtnetz (night network).


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

  • Tracks 3 to 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.
  • Tracks 21 and 22 are underground terminal tracks, served by a single island platform, and located on the southern side of the station. These are used by SZU S-Bahn trains, heading west and south towards Üetliberg and the Sihl valley.
  • Tracks 31 to 34 are underground through platforms, served by a pair of island platforms, and located just to the north of tracks 21 and 22. These are used by long-distance and S-Bahn trains running to and from Oerlikon station via the Weinberg Tunnel.
  • Tracks 41 to 44 are underground through platforms, 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.

International services

  • CNL Zürich – Basel – Amsterdam / Hannover / Hamburg / Berlin / Leipzig / Dresden / Praha
  • EC Zürich – Zug – Arth-Goldau – Bellinzona – Lugano – Milano
  • EC (Chur –) Zürich – Basel – Freiburg im Breisgau – Mainz – Köln – Dortmund – Bremen – Hamburg
  • RJ Zürich – Sargans – Innsbruck – Salzburg - Wien - Budapest
  • EC Zürich – Winterthur – St. Gallen – Bregenz – Lindau – München
  • EN Zürich – Sargans – Innsbruck – Graz / – Zagreb – Beograd
  • EN Zürich – Sargans – Innsbruck – Linz – Wien – Budapest
  • ICE Zürich – Basel – Freiburg im Breisgau – Frankfurt am Main – Hannover – Hamburg (– Kiel)
  • ICE Zürich – Basel – Freiburg im Breisgau – Frankfurt am Main – Kassel - Berlin
  • IC Zürich – Schaffhausen – Stuttgart (– Frankfurt am Main)
  • TGV Zürich – Basel – Dijon – Paris

Domestic long-distance traffic

  • IC St. Gallen – Winterthur – Zürich – Bern – Fribourg – Lausanne – Genève
  • IC Romanshorn – Winterthur – Zürich – Bern – Thun – Visp – Brig
  • IC/ICN Chur – Sargans – Zürich – Basel
  • IC Zürich – Basel
  • ICN St. Gallen – Winterthur – Zürich – Olten – Biel/Bienne – Neuchâtel - Genève
  • ICN St. Gallen - Winterthur - Zürich - Olten - Biel/Bienne - Neuchâtel - Lausanne
  • ICN/EC Zürich – Zug – Arth-Goldau – Bellinzona – Lugano – Chiasso
  • IR Konstanz – Winterthur – Zürich – Olten – Biel/Bienne
  • IR Schaffhausen – Zürich
  • RE Schaffhausen – Bülach – Zürich
  • IR Zürich – Olten – Burgdorf – Bern
  • IR Zürich – Baden – Brugg – Aarau – Olten – Bern
  • IR Zürich – Lenzburg – Aarau – Liestal – Basel
  • IR Zürich – Baden – Brugg – Frick – Stein Säckingen – Rheinfelden – Basel
  • IR Zürich Flughafen – Zürich HB – Zug – Luzern
  • IR Zürich – Zug – Rotkreuz – Luzern
  • IR Zürich – Zug – Arth-Goldau – Bellinzona – Locarno
  • RE Zürich – Lenzburg – Aarau
  • RE Zürich – Pfäffikon SZ – Sargans – Chur

S-Bahn services

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, S24 and S25, the Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn (S4 and S10) and Zürich trams interconnect.

Urban public transport

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 to the north, tram lines 4 and 13;
  • Bahnhofquai to the east, tram lines 4, 11, 14, 14 and trolleybus 46;
  • Bahnhofplatz to the south, tram lines 3, 6, 10, 14 and trolleybus 31;
  • Bahnhofstrasse just south of Bahnhofplatz, tram lines 6, 7, 11 and 13;
  • Sihlpost to the south-west, tram lines 3, 14 and trolleybus 31.

Train operations

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).

Station operations

Operation of the railway tracks is handled by train traffic controllers (German: Zugverkehrsleiter (ZVL)), who are based in the central signal box. Their individual workstations are divided into sectors, and include the tracks in the passenger terminal, the station throat and the access routes. Train movements are normally set automatically by a central computer, on the basis of preset routes, and with the assistance of a conflict detector (resulting in timely and trouble-free traffic). Whenever necessary, the train traffic controllers optimize train routes, so that as many trips as possible operate simultaneously. In addition, all of the approximately 5,000 shunting movements must be set manually by the train traffic controllers, so as not to affect other train movements.

The above ground terminating tracks are served by three train traffic controllers:

  • The ZVL "Mitte" is responsible for tracks 3-12 and the long-distance lines towards Thalwil (Zimmerberg Tunnel) Viaduct (Wipkingen) and the so-called "south entrance" from Altstetten.
  • The ZVL "Nord" controls the points and signals of tracks 13-18, the long-distance lines to Altstetten via the Hardbrücke station and the eastern part of the stabling area between the Langstrasse and Hardbrücke.
  • The ZVL "Süd" operates the tracks of the Hauptbahnhof's "Sihlpost"-section and the line towards Viaduct (Wipkingen).

Another ZVL is responsible for remote control of the S-Bahn. He serves the entire trunk route from Stettbach via Zürichberg Tunnel to Stadelhofen, Zürich HB and on to Hardbrücke and the right shore Lake Zürich railway from Küsnacht to Stadelhofen.

The station throat area is divided between ZVL "West" and "Vorbahnhof". The so-called "south entrance" leads most of the long distance traffic from Altstetten towards Hauptbahnhof right through the centre of the station throat. One special feature of the station throat is a level crossing with barrier, over which twelve tracks pass. It is located just east of Duttweilerbrücke. As this is a non-public access way, the barrier is usually closed.

The entrance to the Herdern maintenance facility has its own signal box, from which the stabling tracks 400, 800 and 900 are controlled. The Herdern stabling area looks towards Hardbrücke (S-Bahn tracks), over the so-called "Überwerfung Mitte" towards the station throat and a connecting track to Altstetten. In addition, the ZVL Herdern controls the former Nord signal box, which is part of an area including the field groups J (Ida) and H (Heiri), as well as access for maintenance annexe G (UAG), which is controlled by a point operator.

The train traffic control team is headed by a team leader, the so-called "station supervisor" (German: Bahnhofüberwacher or just Bue). He does not work directly on the points and signals, but is responsible primarily for making decisions to ensure connections, and about track utilization in the event of delays and disruptions. The station supervisor is also a focal point in the operations control centre for any kind of irregularity. Due to the sometimes very hectic operations, the position of station supervisor is occupied by two people during the morning and evening rush hours. Support for the station supervisor is provided by a BUe assistant, who performs mainly administrative duties. He is also responsible for updating the electronic train data with short-term changes, and supports the station supervisor in case of failure, for example by filling out the checklist, or by recording emergency operations on the panoramic wall.

In the Zürich central signal box is the "Hirzel" area, the remote control system for the Zürich HB–Thalwil–Pfäffikon SZ and Thalwil–Zug–Cham lines. Since the integration of remote train control in late 2007, this area is no longer in the control room on the 5th floor of the signal box, but on the ground floor. The remote control system is divided into a "Zimmerberg" section (Zürich Wiedikon to Oberrieden/Oberrieden Dorf), "Etzel" (Horgen bis Altendorf) and two "Zug" sections (Zug railway station and the remainder of the Stadtbahn remote control system).

Flood risk

The Sihl river 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.[13][14]

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 lead the City of Zürich to develop, publish and test evacuation plans for the affected areas of the city, and especially the station area.[15]



  1. ^ Both are used in English sources.
  2. ^ "Schweizerisches Inventar der Kulturgüter von nationaler Bedeutung - Zürich" [Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National Significance - Zürich] (PDF) (in German). Swiss Confederation. 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Monika Burri, Kilian T Elsasser, David Gugerli. "Die Internationalität der Eisenbahn 1850 - 1970" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2012. pp. 64–65.  
  5. ^ "DML – Cross-city link Zurich.". SBB-CFF-FFS website. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Berlin Hauptbahnhof und Bahnhof Zürich HB schließen Partnerschaft" [Berlin Hauptbahnhof and Bahnhof Zürich HB agree to a partnership]. website. 25 December 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Innenplan Bahnhof Zürich HB" (PDF). SBB. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "SBB: Die SBB-Lounge" [SBB: the SBB-Lounge]. SBB-CFF-FFS website (in Deutsch). SBB-CFF-FFS. 
  10. ^ "Mit NOVA Perspektiven verändern" [Alter perspectives with NOVA] (in Deutsch). Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. 25 December 2007. 
  11. ^ Schweizerische Bundesbahn (June 2004). "Durchmesserlinie Altstetten–Zürich HB–Oerlikon" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  12. ^ "Transparenz über die Zahl der Ein- und Aussteigenden".  
  13. ^ "Physical model experiments on the Sihl River culverts at Zurich main station". ETH Zürich. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Visualizing flood forecasting uncertainty: some current European EPS platforms—COST731 working group 3". John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "Wasseralarm Sihlsee" (PDF) (in German). Stadt Zürich. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 

Further reading


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


  • Baumann, Ruedi (8 November 2011). "Die Geschichte des Hauptbahnhofs: Von der Fehlplanung zum Stadtzentrum".  

External links

  • Station data from SBB web site
  • Station plan from SBB web site
  • Shopville RailCity Zürich pages from SBB web site
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