\ Tunneling and Track Laying Complete on Swiss Rail Tunnel

Tunneling and Track Laying Complete on Swiss Rail Tunnel

AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd.

Including all cross-passages, access tunnels and shafts, the total length of the tunnel system is over 152 km.
(© AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd.)

Excavation on the 57-km Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest rail tunnel, has been completed. According to Loop21.com, the boring machine broke through the last segment on Aug. 21, following 11 years of excavation.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel consists of two 57-km single-track tubes. These are connected together every 325 m by cross passages. Including all cross-passages, access tunnels and shafts, the total length of the tunnel system is over 152 km. It joins the north portal at Erstfeld to the south portal at Bodio. The tunnel has a rock overburden of up to 2,300 m.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel surpasses Japan’s 23-km Seikan Tunnel as the world’s deepest railway tunnel constructed to date.

Construction of the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) is creating a fast and efficient railway link. At its heart are the two base tunnels under the Gotthard and Ceneri. The new railway link crosses the Alps with minimal gradients and wide curves. At only 550 m above sea level, the highest point is no higher than the city of Berne.

The flat route allows efficient rail transport of goods as well as shorter journey times in national and international passenger traffic. The new routes cut passenger travelling times substantially. The new Gotthard route is a high-speed rail link. Passenger trains can traverse its almost 60 km length at maximum speeds of up to 250 km per hour. This is enabled by the straight route with no tight curves and no level crossings on the overground sections.

Opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is scheduled for June 2016.

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