Ceneri Base Tunnel

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Gotthard and Ceneri Base Tunnel. The route through Luino follows the lake shores.

The Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT) is a railway base tunnel under construction in Switzerland's Canton Ticino. It passes under Monte Ceneri between Camorino in the Magadino Flat and Vezia near Lugano, and will bypass the current high-level rail route through the Monte Ceneri Tunnel. It is composed of two single-track tunnels, each 15.4 km (9.6 mi) long.[1] It is another part of the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA) project. The final breakthroughs took place on 21 January 2016 (west tube) and 26 January 2016 (east tube). The tunnels are now being equipped and rail service is expected to start in December 2020.[2]

An exploration tunnel near Sigirino was excavated between 1999 and 2003 to gain geological data on the rock formations at the Ceneri Base Tunnel's level. Based on those data, it was decided to only drill a small part using a tunnel boring machine (TBM) while the rest was excavated with traditional blasting methods. Both the CBT and Gotthard Base Tunnels are being built under contract from the Swiss Federal Government by Alptransit Gotthard AG. Construction of the two single-track bores started during March 2006. The official start of the CBT's construction phase was celebrated on 2 June 2006 with the laying of a foundation stone.

On completion, the Ceneri Base Tunnel will be an important feeder in the south for the Gotthard Base Tunnel as the existing, proportionally steep track over Monte Ceneri is not suitable for high-speed rail or heavy freight trains. Another feeder is the Luino link along Lake Maggiore which is about to be upgraded by Italy in prospect of the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Both links meet in the Magadino Flat in the future Camorino Node (Italian: Nodo di Camorino). The CBT will ease local train traffic, mainly between the two major cities Locarno and Lugano but also between Bellinzona and Lugano. Travel time on the S-Bahn from Locarno to Lugano should drop from 50 to 22 minutes.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

The Ceneri Base Tunnel is a Swiss railway base tunnel under construction through Monte Ceneri between Camorino in the Magadino Flat and Vezia near Lugano, which shall allow traffic to bypass the conventional high-level railway running through the historic Monte Ceneri Tunnel.[3] It forms only one element of a wider effort, commonly referred to as the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) programme, which is being developed by AlpTransit Gotthard AG (ATG), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). Once completed, the Ceneri Base Tunnel and the larger Gotthard Base Tunnel shall work together to provide significantly shorter journey times between the northern city of Zurich and the Northern Italian city of Milan by providing a flatter route for freight trains than conventional lines have previously allowed for.[3][4]

In total, the Ceneri Base Tunnel carries a pair of parallel bores, each containing a single-track, set 40 meters apart from one another and connected by cross passages at evenly spaced intervals of 325 meters.[3] Stretching between the towns of Camorino and Vezia, it possesses a total length of 39.78km; the eastern bore has a length of 15.45km and the west bore is 15.28km long. An operations center controlling ventilation and logistical activities has been constructed at Sigirino.[3] Operationally, the Ceneri Base Tunnel has been anticipated to be used by in excess of 300 trains each day travelling in both directions. It shall be furnished with ETCS Level 2 signalling, allowing for trains to traverse it at speeds of up to 250 km/h.[5] For handling emergency situations in the Ceneri Base Tunnel, the Swiss Federal Railways has acquired a fleet of dedicated rescue trains; these are equipped with specialised fire fighting equipment and other useful facilities, such as independent air supplies.[6]

During July 2001, the proposed Ceneri Base Tunnel was approved by the Swiss Federal Council, clearing the way for detailing planning and eventual construction activity to proceed.[3] Further Parliamentary approval of the selected route for the tunnel was received in 2003, and the first funding towards construction was released during 2005.[7] During April 2007, AlpTransit Gotthard AG awarded a Sfr85m ($91.52m) contract for the construction of the first underground element of the tunnel to Consorzio Monte Ceneri (CMC) JV, a consortium of CSC, Lugano, Frutiger, Thun, Rothpletz, Lienhard & Cie, and Aarau.[3] During June 2009, the Board of Directors of AlpTransit Gotthard AG announced that it had awarded the principal contract for the tunnel's construction to the Consorzio Condotte Cossi consortium. At the time, the tunnel is expected to be operational by December 2020.[8] This contract was valued at Sfr987 million ($1.6 billion). The estimated total cost for the Ceneri Base Tunnel is Sfr2.4 billion ($2.58 billion).[3]

Construction[edit]

During June 2006, construction work on the tunnel officially commenced.[3] In November 2008, the excavation of a 2.4km-long (1.5 miles) adit tunnel was completed, it involved the excavation of 160,000m³ of hard rock. A tunnel boring machine (TBM), provided by Robbins Company and equipped with 483mm cutters, was used to bore the adit tunnel over the course of ten months during which it advanced at a rate of 18.5 meters per day.[9][3] During the spring of 2010, work commenced upon the boring of the Ceneri Base Tunnel itself. During March 2010, it was announced that blasting had begun on the main drives of the twin-bores.[10] By the end of the year, the rate of tunneling had reportedly attained its full speed.[citation needed] A combination of conventional drilling and blasting techniques were used to bore approximately 37.49km of the tunnel, while the remainder was bored using a tunnel boring machine TBM.[3]

Breakthrough in the west tube between Sigirino and Vezia occurred on 17 March 2015.[11][12] Breakthrough in the east tube between Sigirino and Vezia occurred on 30 March 2015.[citation needed] On 21 January 2016, breakthrough was achieved in the west bore between Sigirino and Vigana, while the breakthrough in the east bore between Sigirino and Vigana occurred on 26 January 2016.[3] That same day, it was announced that the excavation process had been completed, and the installation of railway infrastructure was the next major stage of the work.[3] During February 2017, the final concrete block was placed in a ceremony marking the tunnel becoming structurally complete.[13]

During August 2013, the Mons Ceneris Consortium, headed by Mancini & Marti, was awarded a Sfr96 million ($103.36 million) contract to provide railway track and logistics for the tunnel.[3] That same month, the Cablex-led CPC Consortium won a Sfr129 million ($138.89 million) contract to provide railway systems and overall tunnel co-ordination services. The planning, supply, installation and commissioning of the tunnel control systems, which are to be controlled from a control centre at Pollegio, has been contracted to Tunnel Control Systems.[3] The awarding of these contracts was not without controversy; a pair of appeals were subsequently upheld by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland regarding the awarding process. At one point, it looked as if completion of the Ceneri Base Tunnel may be delayed as a consequence of legal disputes.[14][15] However, the dispute was settled during September 2014, which unblocked the awarding of contracts as well as allowing for work to proceed.[16]

During 2017, the installation of this infrastructure, such as the track, catenary, electrical supply cables, telecommunications and radio systems, and various safety and control systems commenced.[3] During August 2017, the first sections of ballastless track were laid in the northern end of the eastern bore.[17]

Year   Month   Total excavated
km mi %[nb 1]
2010 1 January 7.600 4.72 18.9
1 February 7.637 4.75 19.0
1 March 7.673 4.77 19.1
1 April 7.731 4.80 19.4
1 May 7.880 4.90 19.8
1 June 8.101 5.03 20.4
1 July 8.344 5.18 21.0
1 August 8.816 5.48 22.2
1 September 9.102 5.66 22.9
1 October 9.466 5.88 23.8
1 November 9.962 6.19 25.0
1 December 10.460 6.50 26.3
2011 1 January 10.820 6.72 27.2
1 February 11.360 7.06 28.6
1 March 11.890 7.39 29.9
1 April 12.345 7.67 31.0
1 May 12.660 7.87 31.8
1 June 13.140 8.16 33.0
1 July 13.580 8.44 34.2
1 August 13.960 8.67 35.1
1 September 14.240 8.85 35.8
1 October 14.780 9.18 37.2
1 November 15.550 9.66 39.1
1 December 16.270 10.11 40.9
2012 1 January 16.800 10.44 42.4
1 February 17.390 10.81 43.7
1 March 17.900 11.12 45.2
1 April 18.600 11.56 46.9
1 May 19.200 11.93 48.3
1 June 20.000 12.43 50.3
1 July 20.600 12.80 51.8
1 August 21.100 13.11 53.1
1 September 21.300 13.24 53.7
1 October 21.800 13.55 54.8
1 November 22.300 13.86 56.0
1 December 22.800 14.17 57.3
2013 1 January 23.000 14.29 57.9
1 February 23.500 14.60 59.0
1 March 24.000 14.91 60.5
1 April 24.600 15.29 61.8
1 May 25.160 15.63 63.2
1 June 25.670 15.95 64.5
1 July 26.120 16.23 65.6
1 August 26.400 16.40 66.5
1 September 26.800 16.65 67.4
1 October 27.300 16.96 68.6
1 November 27.850 17.31 70.0
1 December 28.500 17.71 71.7
2014 1 January 28.500 17.71 71.7
1 February 29.400 18.27 73.9
1 March 29.700 18.45 74.8
1 April 30.230 18.78 76.0
1 May 30.620 19.03 76.9
1 June 31.280 19.44 78.6
1 July 31.930 19.84 80.2
1 August 32.590 20.25 81.9
1 September 32.830 20.40 82.5
1 October 33.490 20.81 84.1
1 November 33.980 21.11 85.4
1 December 34.400 21.38 86.4
2015 1 January 34.750 21.59 87.3
1 February 35.350 21.97 88.8
1 March 35.910 22.31 90.2
1 April 36.330 22.57 91.3
1 May 36.810 22.87 92.5
1 June 37.350 23.21 93.8
1 July 37.680 23.41 94.7
1 August 38.090 23.67 95.7
1 September 38.280 23.79 96.2
1 October 38.660 24.02 97.2
1 November 38.970 24.21 97.9
1 December 39.430 24.50 99.1
2016 1 January 39.670 24.65 99.7
1 February 39.780 24.72 100
Note:
  1. ^ percentage of 39.780 km (24.718 mi)

The monthly progress update graphic is available online.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ceneri Base Tunnel". AlpTransit AG. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Ceneri Base Tunnel: Operational opening expected in December 2020". AlpTransit AG. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 6 January 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Ceneri Base Tunnel." railway-technology.com, Retrieved: 10 June 2018.
  4. ^ "SBB prepares for Gotthard base tunnel opening." Railway Gazette, 1 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Thales awarded Ceneri Base Tunnel signalling contract." Railway Gazette, 16 September 2016.
  6. ^ "SBB orders rescue trains." Railway Gazette, 7 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Ceneri tunnel start." Railway Gazette, 1 August 2005.
  8. ^ "Ceneri Base Tunnel: Blast-driving the main tunnel from Sigirino begins". AlpTransit Gotthard AG. 10 March 2009. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Ceneri Base Tunnel." therobbinscompany.com, Retrieved: 10 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Ceneri base tunnel blasting begins ." Railway Gazette, 30 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "First Ceneri base tunnel breakthrough." Railway Gazette, 18 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Ceneri rail tunnel moves closer to completing new alpine rail link." thelocal.ch, 8 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Ceneri Base Tunnel: two-year delay possible." tunnel-online.info, Retrieved: 10 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Ceneri Base Tunnel: Swiss Supreme Court confirms Railway Infrastructure Awards." tunnel-online.info, June 2014.
  16. ^ "Ceneri base tunnel dispute resolved." Railway Gazette, 14 September 2014.
  17. ^ Barrow, Keith. "Tracklaying begins in Ceneri Base Tunnel." railjournal.com, 1 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 6, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°07′09″N 8°59′27″E / 46.11917°N 8.99083°E / 46.11917; 8.99083