Installation of the railway systems at the north portal of the Gotthard Base Tunnel has begun. In the next four years, a large part of the railway infrastructure, such as railway tracks and catenaries, as well as the electric power supply , telecommunication and safety systems, will be installed from Erstfeld. Work throughout the Gotthard Base Tunnel is progressing rapidly. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will be ready for scheduled train services in 2016.
Since autumn 2010, work on the Railway Installation Site (North) at Erstfeld has been progressing at full speed. On the approximately 65,000-square-metres site, large halls, workshops and offices have been erected as the logistical base for installation. From September 2011, installation of the railway infrastructure systems in the north of the Gotthard Base Tunnel will also begin. The Erstfeld-Amsteg-Sedrun East section will be the first to receive the railway infrastructure systems. The work will start with pulling-in cables and installing temporary systems. The ballastless permanent trackbed will then be concreted. In spring 2012 work will also begin in the west tube.
Installation of the railway infrastructure in the Gotthard Base Tunnel is taking place in parallel with completion of the concrete shell in other sections of the tunnel. Installation and commissioning will take a total of seven years. "The logistical challenge is enormous", comments Renzo Simoni, Chief Executive Officer of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. The only feasible access points for bringing the infrastructure equipment into the tunnel are the two portals. Virtually all transportation therefore takes place by rail from the two installation sites in the north and south.
Installation of the railway infrastructure systems in the Faido-Bodio West section already began in June 2010. Test runs at speeds of up to 230 kph will take place on this approximately 16-kilometres-long section from 2013. These will allow the complex interaction of the railway infrastructure systems in the Gotthard Base Tunnel to be extensively tested. The logistical base for installation of the railway infrastructure in this section of the tunnel is the Installation Site (South) at Biasca.
At peak times more than 700 people will be involved in installing the railway infrastructure systems. The level of complexity is high. "More than 1,000 technical interfaces must be coordinated with each other to make trouble-free rail traffic in the Gotthard Base Tunnel possible", explains Rolf Brunner, Chairman of the Construction Committee of Transtec Gotthard.