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Even though Switzerland is one of the world’s great fans of the free market, most Swiss people don’t seem to mind that a state-controlled company monopolises their railways and underground. Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is considered an institution to defend and be proud of. SBB typifies everything good about Switzerland – efficiency, precision and Mitteleuropean sophistication.

The successful formula is simple: the government decides policy and finance, sets four-year performance agreements that are approved by parliament, elects (and dismisses)…



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