Lausanne railway station: authorisation for construction granted

The Federal Administrative Court rejects the two appeals against the modification of Lausanne railway station. The development of the retail areas is in accordance with the law and the political wish to alleviate federal funds. In addition, the noise emissions generated complie with the relevant standards of the law.

Symbolbild Gare de Lausanne
Photo: Keystone

As part of the Léman 2030 project, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is expanding and modifying Lausanne railway station in order to meet future mobility challenges. On 3 June 2019, the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) approved the plans for Lausanne railway station, which are budgeted at more than CHF 1.25 billion. This decision was appealed twice to the Federal Administrative Court (FAC). The appellants contested the authority of the FOT to approve the plans for the "Epinettes" car park/building and for the retail areas. They believe that the retail areas are too large and they also cite violations of noise protection standards. They are not contesting the expansion of the railway platform.

Authority of the FOT
The FAC firstly examined the authority of the FOT to approve the plans for the Epinettes car park and the new retail areas. The car park is primarily intended for use by train passengers, not excluding the possibility of third parties using it to access shops and the new museum centre. The car park/building is to support tracks 8 and 9 and platforms 4 and 5. The planned retail areas are all connected to the station infrastructure, and on the other hand railway infrastructure managers have the right to set up retail areas in stations. The Epinettes car park and the retail areas therefore constitute railway installations for which the authority of approval lies with the FOT.

The retail areas
Retail areas are being installed in major swiss railway stations in fulfilment of an objective set for SBB by the Federal Council. The aim is to enable them to generate a profit, which must then be partly reinvested in railway infrastructure. The sixty or so retail areas planned for Lausanne railway station have been defined based on current and future numbers of visitors to the station and are in line with what is done at other major railway stations in Switzerland. The principle of proportionality has therefore been complied with. The installation of a shopping centre at the location in question also meets the needs set out by cantonal planning.

Noise protection
The expansion of the station and creation of retail areas will lead to an increase in road traffic and noise. However, the numerous protective measures that have been decided upon will ensure that the legal limits are observed.

The FAC rejects the appeals against the decision to approve the plans for Lausanne railway station. The authorisation for construction granted by the FOT on 3 June 2019 is confirmed. This judgement may be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court.

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