Tunnelling - Articles and news items
Issue 5 2012 / 19 September 2012 /
Construction of the 64km-long Brenner Base Tunnel is in full swing. Two sections of the exploratory tunnel are completed, the access tunnel in Mules now connects the exploratory tunnel with the surface, and two more logistic tunnels are ready for use.
The Brenner Base Tunnel (BBT) is a straight, flat railway tunnel connecting Austria and Italy. It runs from Innsbruck to Fortezza (55km) and connects to the existing Innsbruck bypass, where a further parallel rescue tunnel is being built as part of this project. If you add the Innsbruck railway bypass, which has already been built and which is the endpoint for the Brenner Base Tunnel, the length of the entire tunnel through the Alps is 64km. Once finished, it will be the longest underground railway infrastructure in the world.
The BBT constitutes the centrepiece of the high-capacity railway line between Munich and Verona. At the same time, it represents the key element of the European Corridor No. 1 Berlin–Palermo which runs for 2,200km from North to South, also known as the TEN-1 axis. The European Union supports the expansion of this transnational stretch and considers it a top priority. (more…)
Issue 4 2012 / 1 August 2012 /
Throughout 2012, SBB Infrastructure is undertaking a number of construction projects across Switzerland: in the two largest Swiss cities, Zurich and Geneva, in the St. Gallen and Schaffhausen conurbations, in the canton of Ticino, in the Alps, and even beyond Switzerland’s borders. This article presents an overview of the major ongoing construction projects, describing the progress achieved so far and what work still lies ahead.
The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) network is the world’s busiest rail network, carrying approxi – mately 9,800 trains every day to all parts of Switzerland and, not surprisingly, the network is edging ever closer to its capacity limits. Zurich’s main station – serving almost 400,000 passengers a day, and thus by far the busiest station in Switzerland – is already a major bottleneck, while capacity expansion in other parts of Switzerland is also urgently needed. SBB Infrastructure is responsible for operating, maintaining, expanding and renewing SBB’s rail network. With the exception of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, SBB Infrastructure is in charge of all major railway upgrades in Switzerland. Projects demanding a wide range of construction techniques are underway all across Switzerland, and some even extend into neighbouring countries. The largest, most important and most spectacular of SBB Infrastructure’s current expansion projects1 include the following: (more…)
Issue 4 2012 / 1 August 2012 /
Since the second final breakthrough on 23 March 2011, fitting-out of the Gotthard Base Tunnel has made rapid progress, and since September 2011, installation of the railway systems has been taking place from the north. Elsewhere in the Ceneri Base Tunnel, work has begun on the main drives from the intermediate heading at Sigirino. The inward drives from both portals have already been completed.
Status of work on the Gotthard Base Tunnel
Installation of the railway infrastructure systems from the north is progressing rapidly and the ballastless track is currently being laid from Erstfeld.
Along the overground approach line to the Gotthard Base Tunnel, various constructions such as underpasses, bridges, passages and retaining walls are being built. This work is already at an advanced stage.
In the autumn of 2010, work began on the northern railway installations site at Erstfeld. The site occupies approximately 65,000m2 and large halls, workshops and offices have been erected as the logistical base for installation. (more…)
Issue 4 2011 / 4 August 2011 /
On 23 March 2011, between Faido and Sedrun in Switzerland, miners excavated the last metres of rock of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Both single-track tubes are therefore now continuously bored over their full length of 57 kilometres. In the Ceneri Base tunnel, the main drives from the Sigirino intermediate heading, as well as the inward drives from both portals, are in progress.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel
Since the second final breakthrough on 23 March 2011, the Gotthard Base Tunnel is completely cut. Lining work in the Erstfeld, Sedrun and Faido sections is progressing according to plan. At Bodio West, installation of the railway infrastructure for the test section is in progress. (more…)
Rail industry news / 16 May 2011 /
Crossrail today announced that six of the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) required to deliver the new rail tunnels will be manufactured by Herrenknecht AG, Germany. (more…)
Rail industry news / 13 October 2010 /
Work is set to start on a new academy which will give thousands of young people the skills and training needed to kick-start a career in construction after VolkerFitzpatrick was notified of Crossrail’s intention to award the contract to them. (more…)
Issue 5 2010 / 17 September 2010 /
The remarkable volume of tunnelling on a worldwide basis during the last two or three decades (see Figure 1) is not defined by the demands to improve the railway networks in many countries. Stimulation in this direction is especially given by the generally highly ranked socio-political requirement of improved mobility – both for persons and goods – achieving at the same time a better environmental balance. (more…)
Rail industry news / 2 September 2010 /
Crossrail today announced the shortlist for the refurbishment of the Connaught Tunnel, a major part of the Abbey Wood branch, and the Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal. (more…)
Issue 4 2010 / 4 August 2010 /
Construction of the new Gotthard line with the Gotthard and Ceneri Base Tunnels is on course. In October 2010, a further milestone will be the final breakthrough of the Gotthard: the miners will excavate the last stretch of rock between the portals at Erstfeld and Bodio/Pollegio. On the Ceneri, in March 2010, driving towards the north and south began from the intermediate heading at Sigirino. Both construction projects have therefore taken a major step forward towards their respective scheduled openings in 2017 (Gotthard) and 2019 (Ceneri). (more…)
Issue 4 2010 / 4 August 2010 /
Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Zurich main station, or Zurich HB) is the central hub for rail traffic in Switzerland. Trains pull in and out of the station virtually every minute, and over 300,000 passengers depart, arrive or change trains here daily. Commuter traffic is forecast to grow in the coming years, and over half a million passengers and passers-by are expected to be using the station every day – exceeding its current capacity limits.
Together with other infrastructure expansion projects, the new 9.6km cross-city link will soon ease the bottleneck, enabling new service patterns to be implemented for suburban (S-Bahn) rail traffic from the end of 2013 and for long-distance services as of 2015. The improved services and new connections will be of particular benefit to users of Zurich’s local S-Bahn network and to rail passengers travelling on the Geneva–Berne–Zurich Airport–St. Gallen route. (more…)
Rail industry news / 5 February 2010 /
With the start of a new year, Europe’s largest infrastructure project, Crossrail, is moving ahead with preparatory work now underway for the railway’s future tunnel entrance at Royal Oak in west London. (more…)
Issue 1 2010, Past issues / 28 January 2010 /
Infrabel, the Belgian railway infrastructure manager, is busy working on building a direct rail link between the Left and the Right Bank in the Port of Antwerp: the Liefkenshoek rail link. In mid-January 2010, the project company LOCORAIL NV started boring the first of two tunnel shafts. In a conversation with European Railway Review, Luc Vansteenkiste, Infrabel’s Director General of Access to the Network, explains this spectacular work, the safety aspects and the importance of this prestigious project for Infrabel and the Port of Antwerp. (more…)