Startup of Ceneri Base Tunnel boring machine

On Friday, February 15, 2008, the miners of the Ceneri Base Tunnel started the tunnel boring machine for the window adit. The startup took place during an official ceremony at Sigirino.
From Sigirino, the 2.3-kilometers-long window adit will be cut with a tunnel boring machine. The cutting head has a diameter of 9.7 metres. At the end of the adit, the installations caverns will then be excavated. Subsequently, starting from these caverns, the two tunnels of the Ceneri Base Tunnel will be excavated. The access adit will then become the logistical artery for the work of driving the tunnel.
Excavation of the window adit and installation caverns will take approximately two years. The work will be performed by the Consorzio Monte Ceneri (CMC) consortium. The consortium is composed of the Swiss companies CSC, Lugano; Frutiger SA, Thun; and Rothpletz, Lienhard + Cie, Aarau. The contract value is approximately 85 million Swiss francs (excluding value added tax).
Participants at the TBM startup ceremony included the Board of Directors of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. (ATG), and member of the Ticino cantonal government Marco Borradori. One minute's silence was observed in memory of Peter Testoni, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of ATG, who recently died. The great personal commitment with which Peter Testoni contributed substantially to the construction of the New Rail Link through the Alps was underscored by Renzo Simoni, CEO of ATG, in his speech.