Successful Pilot Operation in the Gotthard Base Tunnel

More than 650 successful runs on 78 test days: that is the positive balance of pilot operation in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Pilot operation took place from December 2013 to mid-June 2014, between the south portal at Bodio and the multifunction station at Faido. On this 13-kilometres-long section of tunnel, trains travelled at up to 220 km/h. Pilot operation provided important findings for test operation of the complete tunnel system, which will begin in autumn 2015, and for opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel to commercial operations in December 2016.

"We are very satisfied with the processes and the results of the various measurements. We have obtained initial confirmation that the entire tunnel system meets the specified requirements. There were no noteworthy discrepancies or incidents“, is how Oliver Bratschi, Head of Commissioning at AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd (ATG), summarises the approximately six-months-long pilot operation phase. The complex interplay between the various processes, systems and equipment, comprising the track, overhead conductor, power supply, safety systems and tunnel control systems, as well as security and internal communication, functioned.

Tests through the complete tunnel from autumn 2015

Pilot operation took place under the leadership of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd leased the locomotive personnel and rolling stock from Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). During the next few months, ATG and SBB will jointly evaluate the results of the pilot operation phase. The findings that are obtained will then be input to the test operation phase, which begins in autumn 2015. In test operation, the full length of both tubes of the 57-kilometres-long Gotthard Base Tunnel will be travelled through. At the official opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel on June 2, 2016, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd will hand over the world's longest tunnel to Swiss Federal Railways. Commercial operation with scheduled train services will begin in December 2016.