Group earnings came to SFr 1.11bn ($US 1bn), up from SFr 1bn in 2017, with expenditure also rising from SFr 771.5m to SFr 828m.

Profit from the rail freight sector came to SFr 2.3m, down from SFr 6.5m in 2017, while the infrastructure sector recorded SFr 1.3m in profit, similar to that in 2017.

The company recorded a SFr 500,000 profit from the property sector, up from SFr 300,000 in 2017, and SFr 7.1m from the passenger sector, which also includes its ship, bus and car-shuttle services.

Despite these positive results, the year ended with a loss of SFr 12.6m due to the need to compensate for accrued interest rate differentials of SFr 29.4m and valuation adjustments for the shipping sector.

BLS and the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (BAV) have now agreed on a reduction in the amount of compensation it receives for regional traffic, and are discussing how the current agreement on calculating interest payments can be adjusted.

A total of 66.3 million passengers travelled with BLS during the year across all modes including ship, bus and car shuttle as well as rail services, more than ever before. BLS expects this figure to rise to around 90 million by 2040.