Ceneri Base Tunnel: two-year delay possible

Ongoing legal proceedings jeopardise the time schedule for construction of the Ceneri Base Tunnel. AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd (ATG) today comprehensively informed the NRLA Supervisory Delegation (NAD) about the possible further implementation scenarios. The most likely scenario is for opening to take place at the end of 2021 instead of the end of 2019 as originally planned. The associated additional costs can be absorbed by existing risk provisions within the overall NRLA credit.

In September 2013, appeals were lodged with the Swiss Federal Administrative Court against the awards made by AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd of the railway systems lots for the Ceneri Base Tunnel (Railway Track & Logistics and Railway Systems & Overall Coordination). In March 2014, the Federal Administrative Court partly upheld the appeals. The contested awards were annulled and the matter was referred back to ATG. Consequent on the judgements of the Federal Administrative Court, ATG decided to terminated its proceedings regarding award of the railway infrastructure systems for the Ceneri Base Tunnel and to issue a new invitation for tenders as soon as possible. In connection with the entire awards process, several appeals are currently pending with the Federal Administrative Court as well as the Federal Tribunal.

2019 only in the best case – 2021 most likely

At the regular meeting of the NRLA Supervisory Delegation (NAD), ATG today informed the ultimate parliamentary supervisory body about the possible further implementation scenarios for the Ceneri Base Tunnel and their effects on the costs and timing.

According to the current assessment of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd, the most likely scenario is for opening to take place in December 2021. This will apply if the legal proceedings result in new invitations to tender for both lots being issued before the end of 2014. In this case, the additional costs for longer availability of systems and installations as well organisational measures would amount to around 100 million Swiss francs.

According to ATG's analysis, the formerly planned date for opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel to coincide with revision of the railway timetable in December 2019 can only be met if, by the end of September 2014, the Federal Tribunal issues legally binding rulings that the awards shall be granted to the original recipients. The additional costs would then amount to around 10 million Swiss francs.

Depending on the Tribunal's decision, opening at the end of 2020, or only at the start of 2023, is also possible. According to ATG's analysis, in the worst case, additional costs of 144 million Swiss francs would be incurred.
As soon as the Tribunal's definitive ruling is published, the effects on the future traffic offerings must also be evaluated. In particular, the Ceneri Base Tunnel is the precondition for introduction of the half-hourly service interval between Lugano and Locarno to be possible. In addition, the Chiasso branch of the four-metre corridor for goods traffic can only become operational when trains can travel through the Ceneri Base Tunnel.