BAV is committed to safe rail freight transport 27/03/24

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Author: BAV



BAV is committed to safe rail freight transport


Switzerland is an important transit country for rail freight transport. To ensure that freight trains travel safely in Switzerland, they must be consistently checked and maintained throughout Europe in accordance with the applicable legal requirements. The Federal Office of Transport (BAV) has made representations to the European Railway Agency (ERA) in this regard.

A freight train in the evening light against the backdrop of the Bernese Alps with Niesen and Blüemlisalp.

Thanks to the Alpine Initiative, a large proportion of transalpine freight traffic is transported by rail. © UFT


In Europe, most freight wagons are handled and maintained in accordance with the General Contract for the Use of Freight Wagons (AVV). This is an industry standard that the railway companies used in 2006, following the railway reform, to regulate which requirements apply to the transport of freight wagons from external owners.

Since the AVV came into force, the legal framework has developed further. Today, various AVV requirements go much less far-reaching than the current requirements for the maintenance of freight wagons in EU law. Some AVV specifications cause ambiguity when it comes to the division of safety responsibility between railway companies, wagon keepers and maintenance departments. This applies, for example, to checks before new vehicles are put into operation and before trains depart, or the treatment of damage that occurs during the journey. This can lead to defects not being corrected or being corrected too late.

In a letter to the ERA, the BAV demands that the current legal requirements for the maintenance of freight wagons in Europe be consistently implemented. This is the only way to guarantee that rail freight transport in Europe and through Switzerland can be carried out safely.