Gotthard tunnel open

Status
Not open for further replies.

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,615
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36423250

The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel has officially opened in Switzerland, after almost two decades of construction work.

The 57km (35-mile) twin-bore Gotthard base tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe.

Switzerland says it will revolutionise European freight transport.

Goods currently carried on the route by a million lorries a year will go by train instead.

The tunnel has overtaken Japan's 53.9km Seikan rail tunnel as the longest in the world and pushed the 50.5km Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France into third place.

Tehre is a video feature in the link also plus more about other tunnels in the world.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

themiller

Member
Joined
4 Dec 2011
Messages
835
Location
Cumbria, UK
There'll be no scheduled passenger trains through it until December though. Line speed through the tunnel will be 250KPH which is 50KPH higher than the Loetchberg Base Tunnel.
 

LeylandLen

Member
Joined
28 Oct 2013
Messages
771
Location
Leyland Lancs
Theres a clip of the opening ceremony on the BBC news site. It involves many male and female dancers ; some in those orange overalls . Obviously a 'thank you ' to all the work put in over the years . Apparently special trains entered each of the 2 portals at exactly the same time. Id have been happy with a simple ribbon cutting by a VIP !!
 
Last edited:

AM9

Established Member
Joined
13 May 2014
Messages
10,213
Location
St Albans
I like the way that the F&F gantries fit into the natural beauty of the mountains.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
16,013
Location
Mold, Clwyd
I like the way that the F&F gantries fit into the natural beauty of the mountains.

Well the 57 miles underground won't spoil the landscape much. ;)
There are quite long sections in the open at the tunnel mouths though, in grand scenery (which also hosts a spectacular motorway).

The picture with the loco suggests the OHLE is a slim, simple design, but then there are the tall bits which look ungainly.
At 250km/h, the line speed is greater than the GWML's 140mph, although little of it will be 4-track.

When I did the run on the old line a couple of years ago, I thought the sheer scale of the mountains dwarfed any of the man-made structures, unlike, say, the M6 in the Lune Valley.
 

Gordon

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
951
Location
Surrey
As usual there's some hyperbole in the various text. I can't quite see how 260 (ie 130 each way) freights a day would run through the tunnel unedr normal circumstances.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
16,013
Location
Mold, Clwyd
As usual there's some hyperbole in the various text. I can't quite see how 260 (ie 130 each way) freights a day would run through the tunnel unedr normal circumstances.

I think the 260 figure is the theoretical maximum capacity of the ETCS Level 2 signalling they are installing.
The approach routes will limit things a lot, and the main passenger route from Zürich still has 2 single track tunnel sections through the Zimmerberg - the Swiss have postponed/abandoned a proposed new tunnel there.
 

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,615
As usual there's some hyperbole in the various text. I can't quite see how 260 (ie 130 each way) freights a day would run through the tunnel unedr normal circumstances.

Thats only roughly 1train every 2 hours in each direction though so isnt a lot.
 

Polarbear

Established Member
Joined
24 May 2008
Messages
1,689
Location
Birkenhead
Yes, the current route will remain open. i understand that from December, the current service will be split at Erstfeld, so that there is a service from Zurich to Erstfeld, and a separate service from Erstfeld southward.
 

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,615
260 divided by 24 was over 10 when I went to school.

:oops::lol::oops: I guess I best go back there to check my eyesight and reading skills too :lol:

Still don't think that's a lot though - 5 each way as I would hazard a guess most freight would be outside peak passenger flows so with the signalling system it would be easy to shuffle that many through.
 

Mag_seven

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
1 Sep 2014
Messages
8,153
Location
here to eternity
I think the 260 figure is the theoretical maximum capacity of the ETCS Level 2 signalling they are installing.
The approach routes will limit things a lot, and the main passenger route from Zürich still has 2 single track tunnel sections through the Zimmerberg - the Swiss have postponed/abandoned a proposed new tunnel there.

Also all these freights will still have to travel over the "entry" route to the Gottard Line through Muri which as well as all the freights has to accommodate two passenger stopping services an hour in each direction!
 
Last edited:

Gordon

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
951
Location
Surrey
:oops::lol::oops:

Still don't think that's a lot though - 5 each way as I would hazard a guess most freight would be outside peak passenger flows

I still think it is a lot!

Assuming their 'per day' is 'per 24 hours', then it is a maximum of 11 freight trains each way every 2 hours, that is one every less than 15 minutes. That's a lot by anyone's standards isn't it?

In Switzerland there is no great differentiation between 'flows', and there is no 'peak passenger flow' on the Gotthard due to the even-ness of the Swiss regular interval timetable. Transalpine freight runs fairly evenly throughout the day. As it travels such long distances, it is not easy to, say, make sure it all runs in the middle of the night.




I think the 260 figure is the theoretical maximum capacity of the ETCS Level 2 signalling they are installing.
The approach routes will limit things a lot, and the main passenger route from Zürich still has 2 single track tunnel sections through the Zimmerberg - the Swiss have postponed/abandoned a proposed new tunnel there.


I agree re the ETCS and theoretical figures.

The passenger route from Zurich is largely irrelevant for the foreseeable future as the passenger service will be similar to now, only a proportion of passenger trains run from Zurich to the Gotthard, and most Gotthard freight runs south from Basel.





.
 
Last edited:

Clip

On Moderation
Joined
28 Jun 2010
Messages
10,615
I still think it is a lot!

Assuming their 'per day' is 'per 24 hours', then it is a maximum of 11 freight trains each way every 2 hours, that is one every less than 15 minutes. That's a lot by anyone's standards isn't it?

In Switzerland there is no great differentiation between 'flows', and there is no 'peak passenger flow' on the Gotthard due to the even-ness of the Swiss regular interval timetable. Transalpine freight runs fairly evenly throughout the day. As it travels such long distances, it is not easy to, say, make sure it all runs in the middle of the night.

I have no real idea about passengers services so sorry for that however the story has since been updated since I posted it and it seems the tunnel is mainly for freight according to this bit
About 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will pass through the tunnel each day in a journey taking as little as 17 minutes.

And surely the new signalling can manage that if not the rest of the infrastructure each side?
 

Gordon

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
951
Location
Surrey
As usual there's some hyperbole in the various text.

Returning to the standards of reporting, as usual some of the stuff produced by the BBC covering the event was amusingly erroneous.

For a start the BBC reporter and team decided they needed to go to a particularly spectacular location, so they went up the Schollenen gorge, and the reporter duly implied that train in the background (an MGB metre gauge train of course...) was the one being replaced by the tunnel!

see:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36423267
starts at 00:20


Another piece of text (not necessarily originated by the BBC) states:

"Where older alpine tunnels corkscrewed their way up through the mountains, the new railway line, from Zurich in the north all the way to Lugano in the south, is completely flat and straight."

Can't say I'd noticed the line from Zurich to Erstfeld is flat or straight!



the story has since been updated since I posted it and it seems the tunnel is mainly for freight

The 'mainly for freight' comment often crops up in relation to the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT).

In truth the GBT, like the Lötschberg base tunnel (LBT) benefits both passenger and freight.

Passenger benefits:
The GBT will cut passenger journey times between northern Switzerland and the Italian speaking Swiss Canton of Ticino, and onto Milan, by 45 minutes. This ties in with the Swiss aim to link all its major cities with shortest possible train journey times.

Freight benefits:
These are clear. removing the steep inclines means fewer locos are needed, thus cutting costs, a crucial factor in today's world. Freight trains will need to stop less often to be overtaken improving journey times.



.
 
Last edited:

axlecounter

Member
Joined
23 Feb 2016
Messages
402
Location
Switzerland
Freights are always brought up mainly because the idea behind this tunnel was to transfer as much as possible goods from road to rail.
 

Gordon

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
951
Location
Surrey
Freights are always brought up mainly because the idea behind this tunnel was to transfer as much as possible goods from road to rail.

The GBT is part of the overall 'Alptransit' package, which also includes the LBT.

The trouble seems to be that, at least so far, lots of traffic remains in individual lorries, as you can easily see by watching the Gotthard motorway, and comparing the roads with the loadings on the ROLA trains that go via the Lötschberg.

The 'removal of dirt and smells from the Alpine valleys' was a big theme for the journos at the opening, but there seems to be no immediate plan to 'force' lorries onto shuttle trains for the transalpine part of the north - south freight axis ie through the GBT

There have been suggestions that with other traffic removed, the old Gotthard tunnel could have its car shuttles reinstated, but that would not remove the pollution from the approach valleys as the road traffic would still only go on rail Göschenen - Airolo

For the ultimate aim of Alptransit to work for the Swiss, all transit lorries would need to be put on rail at Basel and offloaded at Chiasso.


.
 
Last edited:

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
16,013
Location
Mold, Clwyd
What's the main freight route to the Gotthard from Basel then?
Is it via Brugg or Olten (or both)?
Presumably in either case it then goes via Wohlen, Rotkeuz and Arth?
This is looking at the Schweers map.
I'll be passing through Olten tomorrow as it happens (Bern-Zurich) so will keep a look out.
 

axlecounter

Member
Joined
23 Feb 2016
Messages
402
Location
Switzerland
Both Olten and Brugg and then exactly what you said.

The GBT is part of the overall 'Alptransit' package, which also includes the LBT.

The trouble seems to be that, at least so far, lots of traffic remains in individual lorries, as you can easily see by watching the Gotthard motorway, and comparing the roads with the loadings on the ROLA trains that go via the Lötschberg.

The 'removal of dirt and smells from the Alpine valleys' was a big theme for the journos at the opening, but there seems to be no immediate plan to 'force' lorries onto shuttle trains for the transalpine part of the north - south freight axis ie through the GBT

There have been suggestions that with other traffic removed, the old Gotthard tunnel could have its car shuttles reinstated, but that would not remove the pollution from the approach valleys as the road traffic would still only go on rail Göschenen - Airolo

For the ultimate aim of Alptransit to work for the Swiss, all transit lorries would need to be put on rail at Basel and offloaded at Chiasso.

Beside the economical problems, we would need to find a place for a lot of freight trains that we currently don't have. Even with AlpTransit completed I'm not sure if that could be feasible.
As far as I know the car shuttle through the old tunnel was only a possible option instead of doubling the road tunnel, not a long term idea.
 

Gordon

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
951
Location
Surrey
Both Olten and Brugg and then exactly what you said.

To the best of my knowledge (and backed up by observation), the main and favoured Gotthard freight route is Basel (ie Muttenz) - Pratteln - Frick - Brugg avoiding line - Othmarsingen - Hendschicken - Wohlen - Rotkreuz - Arth Goldau - Erstfeld.

Some might go via Olten, but that route from Basel is mainly used for the Lötschberg freight AFAIK. I have not seen Gotthard freights take the Lenzburg - Hendschicken curve which is what they would have to do, because they can't go via Sursee, as there is no north - east chord from the Sursee line to the Rotkreuz line.




.
 

Shimbleshanks

Member
Joined
2 Jan 2012
Messages
769
Location
Purley
As usual there's some hyperbole in the various text. I can't quite see how 260 (ie 130 each way) freights a day would run through the tunnel unedr normal circumstances.

As I understand it, the 260 freights a day figure is only achievable when the Ceneri and the Lötschberg base tunnels are also open, expected in about 2020. This will complete New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA).
 

Gordon

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
951
Location
Surrey
.


Revenue freight will mainly use the base tunnel by "early September", which is irritating as I booked a trip ages ago for mid-September hoping that the base tunnel would not be fully up to speed until the Autumn!


As I understand it, the 260 freights a day figure is only achievable when the Ceneri and the Lötschberg base tunnels are also open,

Correct. Except that the Lötschberg base is already open

As the mania has settled down there is now a much more measured press release from SBB on this subject:

http://www.cff.ch/groupe/medias/communiques.newsdetail.2016-6-0306_1.html

available in French, German and Italian but not English


.
 

axlecounter

Member
Joined
23 Feb 2016
Messages
402
Location
Switzerland
Some might go via Olten, but that route from Basel is mainly used for the Lötschberg freight AFAIK. I have not seen Gotthard freights take the Lenzburg - Hendschicken curve which is what they would have to do, because they can't go via Sursee, as there is no north - east chord from the Sursee line to the Rotkreuz line.

You're right. I misunderstood and was thinking of freights in general. It is true though that some may be diverted via Olten.
 

Gordon

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
951
Location
Surrey
You're right. I misunderstood and was thinking of freights in general. It is true though that some may be diverted via Olten.

Agreed.

I have since checked the timetable graphic which confirms very little freight (correlating with my personal observations) is booked to run Lenzburg - Hendschiken under normal circumstances


.
 

Mag_seven

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
1 Sep 2014
Messages
8,153
Location
here to eternity
Agreed.

I have since checked the timetable graphic which confirms very little freight (correlating with my personal observations) is booked to run Lenzburg - Hendschiken under normal circumstances


.

Is the graphic publicly available?
 

ac6000cw

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2014
Messages
2,232
Location
Cambridge, UK
I spent a few hours at Göschenen (the north end of the original summit tunnel) last week - still plenty of freight and passenger trains running through there at the moment...


An Re420 + Re620 locomotive pair arrives with a southbound freight, to allow the rear banking loco to be detached (another Re420).

Goschenen_freight_2 by ac6044cw, on Flickr


A southbound freight approaches the Gotthard tunnel entrance. The photo was taken through the window of the (metre gauge, rack) train to Andermatt, as it climbed away from Göschenen.

Goschenen_freight_from_train_1 by ac6044cw, on Flickr


Quite a few SBB MaK/Vossloh G1700 diesel-hydraulics were running around on infrastructure related work:

Goschenen_MaK_1700_3 by ac6044cw, on Flickr


There were also plenty of modern DB and Railpool electric locos on freight, but I quite like the 'classic' Re420 and Re620 Swiss traction, spoked wheels, 10,700 hp on six axles and all :)
 
Last edited:

WatcherZero

Established Member
Joined
25 Feb 2010
Messages
9,594
Gotthard had its public opening ceremony June 1st, however it isn't open to regular traffic until December 11th.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top