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Old July 7th, 2005, 01:22 AM   #1
hkskyline
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World's Longest Tunnel to Provide Fillip for Swiss Skiers

World's longest tunnel to provide fillip for Switzerland's skiers
By HAIG SIMONIAN
4 July 2005
Financial Times

A skiers' paradise could become a rail travellers' headache after the Swiss government last week offered its support for a huge new railway station deep below the Alps.

The proposed Porta Alpina beneath the Gotthard massif would allow travellers from Zurich or Milan to reach the heart of the mountains in just 50 minutes.

That is less than half current journey times and infinitely more convenient, as the station would be within skiing distance of resorts such as Andermatt in central Switzerland.

"It would be fantastic for us and neighbouring resorts", said Urs Elmiger, head of administration at Andermatt's cable car company. "People could get out of the train, snap on their skis and be here in minutes."

But the project has aroused mixed feelings among backers of Switzerland's SFr16bn (Euros 10.3bn, Dollars 12.3bn, Pounds 7bn) trans-alpine rail projects. Railway officials decline to express themselves publicly. But most believe that stopping trains to serve a small interest group is hard to justify when spending billions to slash intercity journey times.

Switzerland is building two new tunnels under the Alps to accelerate travel between northern and southern Europe and, it is hoped, take trucks off the roads.

The first link, the 35km Lotschberg tunnel, should be opened by December 2007, easing congestion in the western Alps by reducing pressure on the current, much shorter tunnel.

Eight years later, the Lotschberg will be overshadowed by the new Gotthard link. The 57km tunnel, 3km longer that Japan's Sei-kan tunnel, currently the world's longest, is being dug from four different points to speed construction times.

The project is overwhelming from every angle. At Bodio, in Italian-speaking Switzerland, one of the world's biggest boring machines is inching its way forward in sweltering temperatures close to the mountain's core. "This is one of the world's most exciting projects", said Albert Schmid, German site manager. For safety, the tunnel will have two emergency stations deep inside the Alps.

The cavernous stops, cathedrals inside the mountain, will have full length platforms and even allow trains to change tracks between the single bore tunnels.

Since its inception, regional politicians have pressed for one of the emergency stations to be transformed into a commercial stop - called the Porta Alpina.

Doing so will involve only an additional SFr50m in spending, to convert to passenger use the 800m deep lift shaft that has been excavated to provide access for construction workers.

After a two-minute journey, the 80 travellers in each lift car will be able to alight at the mountain top near the ski resort of Sedrun, snap on their skis, and be off.

Moritz Leuenberger, Switzerland's transport minister, said the scheme would be a huge boost to regional development.

"But it's not meant to be a way of encouraging day trippers from Milan to pick loads of mushrooms in our valleys", he said.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 01:52 AM   #2
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Go Switzerland!
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Old July 7th, 2005, 02:18 AM   #3
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About the complains about the trains taking more time, not all the trains have to stop, so I don't see that as a problem!
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Old November 5th, 2005, 03:42 AM   #4
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SWITZERLAND | Gotthard Base Tunnel

Fresh news from this amazing project:


Communiqué of 04.11.2005

52.9 percent of the Gotthard Base Tunnel excavated

On all construction sites of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. the work is continuing at full speed. Of the total of 153.5 km of tunnels, shafts and passages, on November 1, 2005, 81.237 km, or 52.9 percent, had already been excavated.





The Alpine crossing


Geology


Tunnel system


Amsteg West single-track tunnel TBM Gabi II


Amsteg West single-track tunnel TBM Gabi II


Faido - Breakthrough in the connecting gallery


East single-track tunnel backward drive


Control cab of tunnel boring machine


Backup train of tunnel boring machine


Monorail of tunnel boring machine


West single-track tunnel


Maintenance to cutting head of tunnel boring machine


Service train


Overview of Sedrun construction site


Shaft head


Hoisting gear


Shaft bottom


Steel inserts


East single-track tunnel south




Last edited by Deadeye; November 15th, 2005 at 03:57 PM.
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Old November 5th, 2005, 06:50 AM   #5
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Been thru that once, was bloody creepy.
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Old November 5th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #6
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cool!
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Old November 5th, 2005, 01:47 PM   #7
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My tip, go to

English: http://www.alptransit.ch/pages/e/service/prospekte.php
Deutsch: http://www.alptransit.ch/pages/d/service/prospekte.php
Francais: http://www.alptransit.ch/pages/f/service/prospekte.php
Italiano: http://www.alptransit.ch/pages/f/service/prospekte.php

Here you can get "free" brochures from the project, they send them to me in Holland.

Some more news:
*It looks like the Porta Alpina station, on the place of the "Multifunktionsstelle Sedrun" will be build. It will serve the Surselva tourist area in Graubunden. In the vertical tunnel build for the construction there will be a lift of almost 800 meters high. link (in German): http://www.visiun-porta-alpina.ch/

*South of the Gotthard tunnel between Bellinzona and Lugano the Ceneri base tunnel will be build, this one will be only 15,4 kilometer but is an important part of the project.

@ HariR

It's not finished yet. Have you been through the old tunnel or did you visit a open day?
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Old November 5th, 2005, 08:59 PM   #8
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Maybe he visited a open day

The building sites have become a major tourist attraction.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #9
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Webcams on the Sedrun construction site
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Old November 21st, 2005, 10:01 PM   #10
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Amazing what they do in Switzerland !
The Porta Alpina station is out of this world
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Old November 21st, 2005, 10:14 PM   #11
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That's not all - a second tunnel is almost finish. The Lötschberg base tunnel runs from Frutigen in the Kandertal/Bernese Overland to Raron in the Valais. It is 34.6 km long and is designed as a two-tube, single-track rail tunnel, with each tube carrying trains running in opposite directions; it will come into operation in 2007. It is planned to adapt the tunnel to increasing needs in several stages.
The new Lötschberg-Basistunnel (base tunnel) between Frutigen and Raron lowers the This tunnel is part of the NEAT projects, together with the Gotthard base tunnel, and will be integrated into a European network of high speed trains, like TGV and ICE. The tunnel will allow speed around 250 km/h. It is a two-tube, single-track rail tunnel. This means that each tube is carrying trains running in one direction. The advantage is clear: trains can be scheduled continuously in both directions, the will be no waiting time. The distance between two trains depends on the security concept, and may be minimized in the future by new technologies.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 02:30 AM   #12
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amazing work~~

can't wait to use this tunnel!!
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 04:01 AM   #13
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Is it for high speed trains or normal trains?
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 08:02 PM   #14
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It's both for normal and for high speed trains, the maximum speed is 250 km/h. Normal passenger trains will have a speed of 200 km/h. But it will also be heavily used by freight trains, these will travel 100-160 km/h through the tunnel.
The High Speed trains that gonna use the tunnel are the new pendolino's from Alstom for the Cisalpino services. There will be no regional services to the tunnel.

The old route will stil be operated by regional and interregional and light and/or slow freighttrains.

@ greg
The, adapt to increasing needs means that the Lötschberg-Basistunnel, will be partly a single track line. In first intance there will probally be some waiting time, probally for freight trains.
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Old December 10th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #15
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Communiqué of 01.12.2005

54.1 percent of the Gotthard Base Tunnel excavated

On all construction sites of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. the work is continuing at full speed. Of the total of 153.5 km of tunnels, shafts and passages, on Dezember 1st, 2005, 83.163 km, or 54.1 percent, had already been excavated.

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Old December 13th, 2005, 02:56 PM   #16
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Here is a map of the Lötschberg Basistunnel - it is a financial catastrophy (although a great engineering project) but had to be built for federation reasons. Bern and the Romandie also wanted to have a direct fast connection to the south. So they had to build in the same time a parallel alpine transit line to the Gotthard.




And as 100 years ago, it's not the Swiss that build these modern wonders of the world, but cheap labarours from the south (in the 19th century it was manly Italians that had to work (and often die) like slaves - one of the reason for the high Italian pop in northern Switzerland)... the circumstances nowadays are a bit better, but... not that much

"North and South Switzerland join"
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Old December 14th, 2005, 04:00 PM   #17
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Ive seen this on Discovery, if this tunnel is completed, the connecion of High speed trains will be much better. Cool tunnel.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 05:33 AM   #18
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Any updates?
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Old February 19th, 2006, 07:35 AM   #19
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Switzerland To Provide 4.8 Mln Euro Funding for Porta Alpina Project
19 October 2005
Swiss News Digest

Switzerland will provide 7.5 mln Swiss francs ($5.8 mln/4.8 mln euro) support for a project for the construction of an underground station in the Gotthard tunnel near Sedrun, it was reported on October 19, 2005.

The remaining 7.5 mln francs ($5.8 mln/4.8 mln euro) for the Porta Alpina project will be allocated by the Graubuenden canton.

[Editor's note: The Porta Alpina project provides for the construction of an underground train station near Sedrun, halfway between Zurich and Milan, the Swiss news digest reported. Originally, the station was planned as an emergency stop, but a feasibility study showed it could be transformed into a regional railway hub against an additional investment of 50 mln francs ($38.4 mln/32.2 mln euro). The station will be accessible through an elevator that will lift passengers 800 m up.

According to the Swiss Transport Department, the station will halve the time needed to reach Sedrun from Zurich, Lucerne, Lugano, and Milan.]

The Swiss Federal Council issued a general approval for the project at the end of June 2005.

The Tujetsch community at the alpine pass Oberalppass will arrange a credit of 3.0 mln francs ($2.3 mln/1.9 mln euro) to support the construction.

http://www.aargauer-zeitung.ch
http://www.aiidatapro.com
Source: Aargauer Zeitung, AII Data Processing Ltd.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 04:41 AM   #20
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I don't get the mushroom comment, is it a big concern?

""But it's not meant to be a way of encouraging day trippers from Milan to pick loads of mushrooms in our valleys", he said."
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