Before scheduled train services can travel through the Ceneri Base Tunnel, all of its systems must be thoroughly tested, test kilometres must be completed with trains, and personnel must be trained. Only when everything functions smoothly will Swiss Federal Railways receive authorisation for commercial operations from the Swiss government.

On completion of installation and successful sub-testing of all components and installations, commissioning proper begins along the entire length of the tunnel. This is subdivided into:

Overall integration test
Before test operation begins, it must be ensured that the installed equipment and systems fulfil the requirements, deliver the specified performance, and function faultlessly, under all operating conditions. Within the framework of a so-called overall integration test, the interplay of all components and subsystems, as well as their integration into the overarching control systems and their connection to the rest of the Swiss Federal Railways network, is therefore systematically tested and verified.

Test operation
AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd, as constructor, proves the functionality and fulfilment of the safety requirements. In test operation, first of all, detailed measurement data from specific subsystems are recorded and analysed in measurement runs, after which, in further train runs, the interplay of all tunnel components is extensively tested.

Trial operation
The subsequent trial operation will take place under the principal responsibility of the future operator, Swiss Federal Railways. Only when it has been demonstrated that operation with passengers and goods trains, as well as personnel deployment and incident management, function perfectly, will the responsible Federal Office of Transport issue the operating permit for commercial operation.