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Rockslide in Switzerland: Gotthard line blocked for about a month

The effects of the recent landslide in Gurtnellen (Switzerland) on Tuesday, 5 June 2012 are more drastically than initially assumed. It is expected to take approximately one month to secure the slope and remove all debris on the affected area of the Gotthard rail line.

For rail freight transportation, the event will lead to significant delays and interferences. Freight trains transiting Switzerland are been diverted via Lötschberg or Brenner, if possible. Domestic, import as well as export freight wagons destined for Ticino via Gotthard can neither be delivered to nor retrieved from customers. They are stopped in Northern Switzerland or in Ticino. Rail Infrastructure Managers of Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany are looking for solutions together with the concerned Railway Undertakings.

In the area of the rockslide, first superficial measurements with geo-radar were positive; further larger rockslides could not be detected. However, the situation still remains tense. On 6 June clearing work began above the termination point. Blasting works are not possible until the monitored rock wall has kept still for several days, only then restoration works can begin. Afterwards experts will clean up the dam, remove loose rocks and repair the damaged rail infrastructure. Works will take about one month before the Gotthard line can be reopened for rail traffic.

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