WHITE PLAINS, NY — (MARKET WIRE) — 12/15/2005 — Switzerland became the latest European country to implement a smoking ban on its national rail network December 11, joining Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, according to an announcement from Rail Europe, a subsidiary of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).
“In addition to protecting non-smoking passengers and staff from passive smoke, the ban will also free up more seats, as smoking compartments — typically underutilized — are currently being converted into non-smoking ones,” notes Fabrice Morel, President and CEO of the Rail Europe Group. Within 6 months, all ashtrays will be removed from SBB trains, a process that has already begun. Smoking is prohibited in Swiss rail stations except in designated areas and on the outdoor platforms.
Other countries are approaching a complete smoking ban: French TGVs became smoke-free in 2004 and in 2006 all French trains will follow suit. Finland and Spain only allow smoking on long-distance trains, and the UK’s Great North Eastern Railway (up the east coast of England and Scotland) banned smoking this past August (editors note: the British rail system is privatized, so each train operator company determines its own rules). Germany and Austria have made local and regional trains smoke-free, as well as reducing the number of smoking seats on long-distance trains.
For more information on rail travel or to book tickets/passes for trains throughout Europe and the UK, log on to www.raileurope.com, contact your travel agent or call 1-888-382-7245 (U.S.) or 1-800-361-7245 (Canada) to speak with one of Rail Europe’s experienced reservation agents.