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Old November 3rd, 2014, 05:22 AM   #921
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And I assume that testing will start sometime before February?
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Old November 3rd, 2014, 01:28 PM   #922
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From the article:

"Other elements such as the overhead electrification and signalling are due to be commissioned over the next 12 months, ready for the start of full test running through the tunnel in the autumn of 2015."
So, while the rails are laid there are still systems that need to be installed before final testing.
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Old November 5th, 2014, 12:30 AM   #923
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GBT infrastructure is now 90% installed. They're averaging 2% a month presently so it should all be installed by 2015.
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Old February 1st, 2015, 05:24 PM   #924
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There is no particular news since some time, however the first breakthrough of the CBT will be in the next few days or weeks.

Meanwhile, upgrade of the other sections of the Gotthard railway is in progress. Tomorrow work will start on lowering tracks under Molino tunnel which, at 7 m, is the shortest tunnel in Switzerland (together with these). I suppose it is considered a tunnel, and not a bridge, because above it there is a small river (other than a local road). Despite it negligible length, lowering the tracks by around 60 cm* over a legth of 200 m will require 4 months of works, one track at a time with some disruption.

The bigger problem will, however, be enlarging Svitto (290 m) and Dragonato (30 m) tunnels near Bellinzona, which are short but heavily used. 400 trains a day will have to alternate on a single track which will make train dispatchers' life harder for a couple of years around 2017. A third track, with two additional single track tunnels, is planned on this section (Bellinzona-Giubiasco) by 2025 or so.

*only in Molino tunnel, because of some technical problems, other tunnels will be enlarged by 20 cm only

[IMG]http://i57.************/2hnrp80.jpg[/IMG]
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Old February 1st, 2015, 05:28 PM   #925
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Why do these tunnels need to be enlarged? Is it because future freight trains will be higher?
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Old February 1st, 2015, 06:25 PM   #926
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The project is known to the public as "4-metre corridor", technically it means enlarging the loading gauge to Swiss EBV 3 or EBV 4 standards, that allow intermodal transport profiles P400/C80. These numbers denotes the heigh in cm above a certain standard heigh for containers-swap bodies and semitrailers respectively. In the latter case 400 shows the heigh in cm at the corner for semitrailers carried on standard wagons (27 cm above top of rail IIRC), that's why the project to increase loading gauge to that is called the 4-metre corridor. All AlpTransit tunnels are built with an even bigger loading gauge, equivalent to intermodal profile P420/C99. Around 5 km of various double track tunnels need to be heavily widened, and other 10 km or so of single track tunnels require minor modifications (single track tunnels have been built with a different shape than double track tunnels, so they are usually already big enough). At least one track on the Simplon-Lötschberg line already allows P400 trains. The Gotthard railway today allows only P385/C60 trains.

http://www.sbb.ch/en/group/the-compa...-corridor.html

Quote:
The 4-metre corridor on the Gotthard route.

In order to further increase the volume of transalpine freight carried by rail rather than road, SBB will on behalf of the federal government upgrade the Gotthard route to a 4-metre corridor by 2020. This allows even semitrailers with a 4-metre headroom to be carried.

The project, estimated to cost CHF 940 million, is an important component of Switzerland's transport policy. In order to create a 4-metre corridor along the entire length of the Gotthard route, some 20 tunnels need to be enlarged and 150 alterations made to platforms, traction current systems, signalling installations and overpasses.
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Old February 1st, 2015, 06:35 PM   #927
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So all the way from Basel to Chiasso? How about corresponding connections in Germany and Italy - do they already allow those larger containers to be transported? If not these Swiss improvements will be of marginal use...
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Old February 1st, 2015, 08:18 PM   #928
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Most of railways Germany and eastern Europe already have this gauge, or even bigger, so this is not a problem. Most of railways in northern France do not, however as there there aren't many tunnels adapting them would not be difficult. british loading gauge is even smaller than the Italian one, so small that continental rail vehicles aren't allowed in Britain at all (sure, the inverse is possible and is done).

In Italy, the railways from the Swiss border to Novara and Busto-Gallarate terminals (roughly this) will be adapted using Swiss funds (280 millions CHF were allocated by Swiss parliament, 230 millions EUR at the time, 280 now - which may be an advantage?), while others mainlines in Italy north of the Turin-Milan-Bologna-Venice-Trieste area (including the Brenner and Pontebbana-Tarvisio transalpine raiwlays) are already or are being enlarged by Italy (although there are basically no old tunnels to be adapted there - for instance, on the entire Turin-Trieste railway there are just two old tunnels, and just a few on other lines). Italy is also adapting the Adriatic line until Bari or so, where tunnels are more numerous.

You should note, however, that most containers (up to the 9'6'' high cube ones) just need the C45 profile (smaller than the C60 on the existing Gotthard railway). However, most railways south of the Turin-Piacenza-Bologna axis are smaller than C45 (C22 on Florence-Rome IIRC...), so higher containers must use low floor wagons, which are more expensive.

For 4 m trucks, however, only the P400/C80 profile is a good alternative, there are low floor wagons that allow them to be carried on C45 lines like the Modalohr but these are much more expensive.

A map of the European intermodal profiles can be seen here: http://www.intermodale24-rail.net/IM...0IU%202011.pdf (apparently I was mistaken - the P xx/C yyy system to denote profiles is more complicated than I remembered, it is partly explained in the map's legend)

****

I noticed just now the orange thing on the bottom left of my photo. It is an automatic alarm (both lights and sounds), there are many of them linked together with the cables along the right track, and they are activated by any passing train to warn workers on the other track.

****

Finally, SBB ordered 4 additional ETR 610/RABe 503 sets, which will bring the total to 19 sets (+7 belonging to Trenitalia, today used on Frecciargento services but which may come back to EuroCitys). They will be used on the Gotthard line, and should be replaced/helped there by the 29 new EC250 trains ordered from Stadler.
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Old February 1st, 2015, 08:42 PM   #929
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Thanks for explanation. Can't wait till all this infrastructure is finally in operation.
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Old February 2nd, 2015, 09:19 AM   #930
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
I noticed just now the orange thing on the bottom left of my photo. It is an automatic alarm (both lights and sounds), there are many of them linked together with the cables along the right track, and they are activated by any passing train to warn workers on the other track.
Oh, that's an old thing... I remember having seen that for the first time when
I was doing a weekly commute between Belgium and Switzerland, around 1985
or so. SNCF was enlarging the tunnels between Metz and Strasbourg, and
such devices were fit for several km, including in the tunnels. That made
enough noise to wake up everyone in the night train, even if, of course,
the works were not active during the night...
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Old February 2nd, 2015, 10:35 AM   #931
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
There is no particular news since some time, however the first breakthrough of the CBT will be in the next few days or weeks.
I think that the CBT breakthroughs to the south are still about two months away. At last count (26 Jan), there's 180 m in the east tube and 151 m in the west tube, with an average of 19-20 m of progress per week.
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Old February 4th, 2015, 02:00 PM   #932
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Progress to the Southern CBT portals, as at 30 Jan 2015

Now only 164 m remaining in the East tube and 133 m in the West.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 05:18 PM   #933
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Webcam #7 has been repositioned to show progress of the installation towards the double tunnel entrance.

You can see most of the ground in front of that tunnel entrance has been cleared in preparation of the next stage.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 05:40 PM   #934
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By the way any of you know more about this potential "South corridor, link to Italy" for which space has been left in CBT?
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Old February 8th, 2015, 06:22 PM   #935
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It is a planned extension of the CBT until Chiasso. Two maps can eb found here on pages 2 and 4:

http://www.bav.admin.ch/themen/02957..._JjKbNoKSn6A--

There is no financing yet, and no planned date, except that they will be built after 2030.

Crossing of Lake Lugano would be in a 1200 m immersed tunnel. An option which included an underwater bridge (with pillars, not a floating one like one option for the Sognefjord in Norway) has been excluded because it would be complex, an option with an open air bridge because it would be visually disruptive.

Another option is a new Cadenazzo-Luino-Laveno line, basically a second CBT parallel to the first (but this time longer at ~20 km and single track, other tunnels would add another 15 km underground):

http://www.bav.admin.ch/themen/02957..._JjKbNoKSn6A--

It will be single track only because of costs and because the existing single track line would remain in operation, as would the Chiasso branch. Doubling the existing Luino line would be hard both politically (noise, demolition of many buildings, ...) and technically (the mountains plunge abruptly into the lake, with sometimes no space at all to build a second track). A link between the two lines would be built near Luino, and the southern connection near Laveno is not clearly defined.

The maps also show the partial doubling of the Locarno branch (in orange), which has no freight traffic and is dead-end. This should be built within 10 years together with the first 3 km from Contone of the Luino line (that's the easy part - entirely flat...).

The texts are only in Italian but they don't add any real information, they are just short descriptions of the projects and normative references (municipalities involved, ...).
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Old February 8th, 2015, 07:04 PM   #936
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Thanks, one of those things which may or may not happen in a distant future…

It's quite a common practice in Switzerland and elsewhere to make some preliminary works for future extensions, but I do wonder how often does it prove useful. It's difficult to predict a future and in 2030 perhaps there will be very different transport priorities.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 08:19 PM   #937
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Building tunnel stubs now is far easier and cheaper than enlarging the tunnels to connect a branch later, not counting disruptions. The cost of two caverns and a few hundred metres of tunnels built together with 40 km of others tunnels is negligible.

And in the case of the CBT, any option to build a new line to Chiasso from outside the tunnel itself would be much more harder-this alternative has been evaluated and rejected when the decision to build the stubs was taken.

There are such stubs also in the GBT (for this and this), in the LBT, finally in the ZBT (Zimmerberg base tunnel). There are stubs also in this tunnel for an eastward extension. And in the Innsbruck bypass tunnel, where works to the tunnels connecting to them were awarded recently-meaning that these stubs will be used more than 30 years after their construction.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 08:40 PM   #938
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A tunnel stub can also stay there for decades, before being put into use. There are examples of tunnels brought back to service (maybe a different service) after more than a century from their origin.

They don't come for free, but even considering the interest rate they're still more convenient after many years (considering the disruptions mentioned by Cocco).

Also, for rail corridors going through a valley there's always a limited number of options, so the chances to actually use those stubs even in different future projects is still high.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 08:50 PM   #939
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I agree with you that the practice is a good one. I was just curious how often they actually prove useful later.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 09:04 PM   #940
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A rich example is Berlin, with its complicated history. A large number of stubs for metro and S-Bahn lines; some are being used now after a good 50 years, some will be used after at least 70-80 years from completion. I would not be surprised to see some "ghost stations" operational after one century.
There's also a large number of stubs that will probably never see any use, but that's mainly due to the radical changes of "administration" over time.
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