Ceneri Base Tunnel: Operational opening expected in December 2020

The legal dispute concerning the award of the railway systems for the Ceneri Base Tunnel has consequences. An intensive review by the constructor, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd, has concluded that operational opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel should now be planned for 2020 instead of 2019. AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd comprehensively informed the NRLA Supervisory Delegation (NAD) today.

In September 2013, appeals were lodged against the awards made by AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd of the railway systems lots "Railway Track & Logistics" and "Railway Systems and Overall Coordination". In September 2014, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court confirmed the awards made by AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. The duration of the legal proceedings, amounting in total to around 12 months, delayed the overall time schedule for the two railway system lots by one year.

During the last few months, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd has explored with the contractors whether with acceleration measures the delay of 12 months can be made up and operational opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel in December 2019 secured. The finding of this intensive review is that the date of 2019 is considered by the contractors to be feasible but the associated risks are regarded by AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd as unacceptable. Renzo Simoni, Chief Executive Officer of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd: "Despite high outlay, there would be a danger of not meeting the 2019 date for operational opening".

The 15.4-kilometres-long Ceneri Base Tunnel is now expected to become operational to coincide with revision of the railway timetable in December 2020. The present status is that driving to the north is progressing rapidly. Until the breakthrough point at Vigana, the distance remaining to be cut in the west tube is 1,085 metres and in the east tube 1,160 metres. If all goes as it should, final breakthrough of the Ceneri Base Tunnel will take place at the start of 2016. Both breakthroughs to the south already took place in March 2015.