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Milestones in the history of Swiss transport

Gotthard Base Tunnel comes into operation

With the timetable change on 11 December 2016, SBB placed the Gotthard Base Tunnel in operation, reducing the travel time on the north-south Gotthard corridor by around 30 minutes. Around 50 passenger trains travel through the tunnel of the century each day. The number of freight services will increase from 160 to 210 trains in future. 

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Künstlerische Aktionen Eröffnungsfeierlichkeiten

Am 1. Juni 2016 finden an den Portalen des Gotthardbasis-Tunnels künstlerische Aktionen statt. Mit musikalischen, choreographischen und bildnerischen Mitteln soll die Öffentlichkeit auf das Bauwerk und dessen Bedeutung sensibilisiert werden. Teile des künstlerischen Eröffnungsprogramms werden auch an den Publikumsanlässen (4. und 5. Juni 2016) zu sehen sein.

Das Team, welches die künstlerischen Aktionen durchführt, wird geleitet von Theaterregisseur Volker Hesse – in der Schweiz bekannt als Direktor des Zürcher Neumarkttheaters 1993-99, durch Inszenierungen in Bern und Basel, durch grosse Laienprojekte in der Innerschweiz (Einsiedler Welttheater 2000 und 2007, Altdorfer „Tell“ 2008 und 2012).

TV Spot Gottardo 2016

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The Gotthard Base Tunnel: from sketch to construction

With construction of the flat route under the Alps, Switzerland has written an important chapter in the history of transport. From the initial sketch in 1947 for a base tunnel between Amsteg and Bodio to the final breakthrough between Sedrun and Faido in 2010, the plans had to be repeatedly redrawn: the recession in the 1970s and the disagreement among proponents of the different variants blocked the tunnel project for decades.


Facts and figures

The initial plans were conceived 68 years ago...

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Back in 1947, the engineer and transport planner Carl Eduard Gruner sketched out his idea for a Gotthard base tunnel between Amsteg and Bodio. Many decades would go by until the project could be realised.


Facts and figures

11 years until final breakthrough...

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From approval by Swiss voters to the final breakthrough, it took as many as 2,400 workers at peak times to construct two 57-kilometre-long tunnel tubes. On 15 October 2010, the first breakthrough took place in the east tunnel.


Facts and figures

410-metre-long tunnel boring machine as a “rolling factory”...

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The tunnel boring machine for the Gotthard was as long as four football fields laid end-to-end. The rock was cut away with the boring head and removed via a bucket wheel on a conveyor belt. Various safety mechanisms protected against rock-fall hazards. All materials and equipment were located on board the machine, from the power supply of the tunnel borer to the removal of the excavated material.


Facts and figures

28.2 million tonnes of excavated rock...

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A large proportion of the excavated rock was returned to the mountain’s interior in the form of concrete. The remaining material was used for landscaping of the site or as fill for dams. In the Lake of Uri, three shallow-water nature reserves and three bathing islands were created.


Facts and figures

2,300 metres deep in the mountain...

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The Gotthard Base Tunnel is not only the world’s longest railway tunnel but also the deepest. In some places, there are 2,000 metres of rock between the tunnel and the earth’s surface.

2300m tief im Berg

Facts and figures

43,800 hours nonstop to lay the slab track...

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Over more than three years, 125 workers laboured in three shifts, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, to install the slab track in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. They used 131,000 cubic metres of concrete and laid 290 kilometres of track and 380,000 sleepers among other elements.

Feste Fahrbahn

Facts and figures

152-kilometre tunnel system within the rock...

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This is the total length of the Gotthard Base Tunnel when all the shafts, cross-passages and access tunnels are added together, along with the two tunnel tubes.

152km Tunnelsystem

Facts and figures

325 trains per day...

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In the future, some 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will traverse the Gotthard Tunnel each day. Freight trains will reach a maximum speed of 160 and passenger trains will travel at 200 km/h (even going up to 250 km/h in future). 


Facts and figures

45 minutes faster in Lugano...

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The reduction in travel time will gradually take effect starting in 2016. After completion of the work along the entire Gotthard axis (including the Ceneri Base Tunnel and access routes), travellers between Zurich and Lugano will save around 45 minutes.

Tunnel in der Nacht