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Rapperswil is a railway station located in the city of Rapperswil in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen. The station is situated on the north shore of Lake Zürich at the northern of the Seedamm which separates the Obersee (upper Lake Zürich) from the main body of the lake.
Because the Seedamm carries both rail and road connections from the south shore of the lake, and because Rapperswil is the meeting point of three separate line from the northern side of the lake, the station is a major nodal point on the local rail network. The first railway opened in 1859.
Rapperswil harbour, Schloss and Altstadt, the first station buildings to the right (~ 1867)
In early 1859 the first steam train ran from Rapperswil – as a hub of railway lines from Rapperswil to Rüti and from Rapperswil to Schmerikon. Turntables and cranes were used to move cargo to/from the vessels at the harbour situated at nearby Fischmarktplatz.
In 1875 the Lake Zürich left bank line from Zürich Hauptbahnhof to Ziegelbrücke opened along the south shore of the lake. In railway terms, this was linked to Rapperswil in 1878, when the Gotthardbahn established the line across the Seedamm. The Rapperswil shore of Lake Zürich had to wait until 1895 for the opening of the Lake Zürich right bank line (Rechtsufrige Zürichseebahn).
The famous Orient Express stopped in Rapperswil on its way from Varna to Zürich, Basel, Paris and Calais.
Since 1877 Rapperswil has been a major hub of what is now the Südostbahn (SOB), with a large depot. The current station building in Renaissance Revival architecture style was built in 1894/95, planned by architect Karl August Hiller, underlining the growing importance of tourism. The railway station's infrastructure, including the bus terminal and the station building, were renewed in 2007/8, and the rail tracks and the infrastructure by June/July 2016.
Railway station area, Schloss Rapperswil and St. John's Church to the right, Seedamm and railway station building in the background (to the left)
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Lines and services
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Rapperswil railway station is an important junction station, where the Südostbahn line across the Seedamm meets with the Lake Zürich right bank line, the Wallisellen to Rapperswil via Uster line and the Rapperswil to Ziegelbrücke line.
Rapperswil is served by lines S5, S7, S15 and S40 of the Zürich S-Bahn. Connections from Zürich via either the right bank line (S7) or Uster line (S5/15) are very frequent, and the ride takes only 36 minutes. The S40 provides a local link to Pfäffikon and Einsiedeln.
Rapperswil is a calling point of the Voralpen Express, an InterRegio train operated by the SOB and providing an hourly direct link between St. Gallen and Lucerne. Rapperswil is also the terminus of the hourly St. Gallen S-Bahn service S6 that operates south-east to Schwanden via Ziegelbrücke.
Buses provided by the Verkehrsbetriebe Zürichsee und Oberland (VZO) link the station to the upper northern shore of Lake Zürich and the Zürcher Oberland, and also operate the city's own Stadtbus Rapperswil-Jona. Rapperswil harbour is adjacent to the station, and lake shipping services of the Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft connect with trains, providing alternative, if rather slower, routes to Zürich and other lakeside towns.
Rapperswil is also an important depot for the rolling stock of the Zürich S-Bahn. Due to the station's hub status, one of the few SBB-CFF-FFS firefighting and rescue trains is based in Rapperswil.
Werner Stutz: Bahnhöfe der Schweiz von den Anfängen bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg. Orell Füssli, Zürich 1983. ISBN 3-280-01405-0.