Switzerland: BLS to Operate Mika Trains in the Lucerne West Region from 2024

Private Swiss rail operator BLS has agreed with transport authority Verkehrsverbund Luzern (VVL) to begin operating MIKA (Stadler FLIRT) trains in the Lucerne West region from December 2024.

Stadler FLIRT for BLS
Stadler FLIRT ‘MIKA’ for BLS

The MIKA (modern, innovative, compact, all-round) trains will begin operation on the RE line Lucerne-Wolhusen-Langnau i.E.-Bern and the S-Bahn lines S6 and S7 alongside a timetable change.

They will replace the current Lötschberger and NINA trains used by BLS.

The operator had originally planned to change the rolling stock used in the Lucerne West region from this December, replacing the NINA trains with Lötschberger vehicles on the S6 and S7 S-Bahn lines.

The latter have already been running on the RegioExpress Lucerne-Langnau iE-Bern and the S6 Lucerne-Langnau iE-Bern for approximately six years.

However, due to financial factors, new technical knowledge and operational restrictions related to renovation work at Bern station, this is no longer an option. The decision was then made to introduce the MIKA vehicles instead.

Because of the wing concept in Wolhusen, which was phased in from 2011, the lines in Lucerne West must be converted in one step, as the MIKA trains cannot be coupled with the Lötschberger and NINA trains. Therefore, the changeover had to be pushed back two years in order for Stadler to have delivered enough of the new vehicles.

BLS ordered 58 MIKA trains from Stadler in autumn 2020 and the first of these have been in passenger service since May 2021.

They’re currently being used on the RE route Lucerne-Langnau iE-Bern and the S6 Lucerne-Langnau, and on the S6/S7 S-Bahn (Lucerne-Wolhusen-Willisau-Langenthal).

Ueli Schäffeler, Deputy Head of Personal Mobility at BLS, said:

“BLS is looking forward to using its latest vehicles on the routes in Lucerne West from December 2024.

“With the modern MIKA trains, we offer our passengers a high level of travel comfort and many practical details, such as a bistro zone in the RegioExpress Luzern–Bern.

“Only on the S77 (Monday to Friday during the Willisau–Luzern peak hours) and on individual connections at off-peak times will NINA trains continue to be used.”

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