Switzerland: first transit in the Gotthard base tunnel
Premiere on the Gotthard: For the first time on 30. August 2013 the entire Gotthard base tunnel has been passed from Bodio to Erstfeld. Together with the main contractors involved on the structural work, project authors and the railway engineering consortium, the constructor AlpTransit Gotthard guided the media representatives through the longest tunnel in the world. They went by train, buses and by foot on the 57 kilometer long road. Until the tunnel will be operational and handed over to the federal government another 1000 days have to pass.
The first transit from Bodio to Erstfeld took six hours. Still, the way through the longest railway tunnel in the world is difficult due to the many construction sites. In 2016 trains will cover the same distance in about 20 minutes. Within each section, the responsible persons informed about the current status of the work. In autumn 2013, the last structural work will be completed. The installation of the railway technology is progressing according to the plan. End of August 2013, 55% of the railway technology was installed in the Gotthard Base Tunnel.
From the end of 2013, test drives with speeds up to 220 km/h on the 16 km rail section Bodio West will take place. With the test drives, the complex interplay of all rail engineering systems in the Gotthard base tunnel can be tested. Renzo Simoni, Chief Executive Officer of Alp Transit Gotthard AG, informed that the works are on schedule. "For us the countdown begins today: in 1000 days, we have to hand over the tunnel to the federal government and SBB for test runs."
While the structural work on the Gotthard will soon be completed, the excavation works continue to run on full speeds at the Ceneri base tunnel. From the 40-kilometer tunnel system 65 percent are already caved. The Alp Transit Gotthard AG is confident that the Ceneri base tunnel will be ready for commercial operation in 2019 (press release Alp Transit, 02.09.13).