Construction of Gotthard Base Tunnel railway infrastructure begins

After a year of intensive planning and project preparations, the first work on the railway infrastructure of the Gotthard Base Tunnel will start at Biasca on Monday, May 18, 2009. The railway infrastructure company Transtec Gotthard will begin constructing the access tracks from the railway station at Biasca to the railway infrastructure installation site south of Biasca.

At the end of April 2008, AlpTransit Gotthard AG and the Transtec Gotthard construction consortium signed the work contract for installation of the railway infrastructure equipment in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. With a contract value of around 1.7 billion Swiss francs, this is the largest contract awarded by AlpTransit Gotthard AG, and also one of the world's largest contracts for railway infrastructure.

Following a year of intensive planning and project preparations, the first work on the railway infrastructure of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is now starting in the canton of Ticino. Beginning on May 18 2009, the railway infrastructure contractor will construct the access tracks from Biasca railway station to the railway infrastructure installation site. As from summer 2009, on the approximately 60,000 square metres installation site construction will take place of accommodation for 230 workers, a canteen, assembly workshops for pre-assembly of the railway installation components, warehouses, open-air storage areas, a control centre to monitor the construction site traffic in the tunnel, and various construction site railway sidings. Installation of the railway installation equipment through the south portal at Bodio will start in May 2010.

Installation of the railway infrastructure in the Gotthard Base Tunnel is a complex and demanding task. Good coordination between the tunnel shell and equipment and the individual areas of the railway infrastructure is crucial for on-time, on-budget installation. Installation of the railway infrastructure, including commissioning of the entire system, will take about 7.5 years.

Renzo Simoni, CEO of AlpTransit Gotthard AG, is proud of how the work is progressing: "With the punctual start on the railway infrastructure, we have reached another important milestone in our project. Work on the tunnel shell is also on schedule."

More than 85% of the Gotthard Base Tunnel has already been excavated. Breakthrough between Erstfeld and Amsteg will take place in mid-June 2009, while the final breakthrough is scheduled for spring 2011.