Gotthard tunnel testing complete

Testing has come to an end along a section of the Gotthard Base Tunnel after 78 days and 650 trial runs.

A series of 220 km/h runs have now been completed through a 13-kilometre section of the western tunnel between Bodio and Faido as part of an initial period of testing.

Further trials will be carried out through the entire tunnel in autumn 2015 ahead of the route’s full commissioning on June 2, 2016, but the authority leading the line’s construction said these initial tests provided several ” important insights”.

Throughout the past few months, Alp Transit Gotthard AG (ATG) and SBB have assessed the route’s catenary and power systems, the security systems, the tunnel control systems and the communication systems.

Oliver Bratschi, head of commissioning at ATG, said: “We are very satisfied with the procedures and the results of the different measurements.

“We have received the first confirmation that the entire tunnel system meets the requirements. There were no significant deviations or abnormalities.”

At 57 kilometres, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which will travel through the Alps between the northern portal of Erstfeld and Bodio in the south, will become the longest rail tunnel in the world once complete, stripping the title from Japan’s 53.85 kilometre Seikan Tunnel.