Porta Alpina ("Alpine Gate") was a proposed railway station to be located in the middle of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in southern Switzerland. Intended to promote tourism and the economy in the region of Graubünden, the project was put on hold as uneconomical in 2007, and then indefinitely shelved by the Swiss authorities in 2012.
The station was proposed to be located near a crossover between the northbound and southbound tunnels and to be linked to the surface by the world's highest elevator, using shafts built near the village of Sedrun for the construction of the tunnel. Construction costs were estimated at 40-50 million Swiss francs, with annual operating costs of 2.5 million francs. It was initially projected to be opened in 2016 after the Base Tunnel was scheduled to come into service.
Proponents of Porta Alpina viewed it both as a potential tourist attraction in its own right, and as a useful transport link to assist the economically challenged Graubuenden region. The station would have connected the North/South Gotthard railway line with the East/West Rhaetian Railway/Matterhorn-Gotthard Railway, which would link to the elevator by means of local buses to Sedrun station (MGB) and Disentis station (RhB). This was to have been the fastest public transport link between Zürich and the canton of Graubünden.
The project was initially positively received, and the Swiss parliament approved CHF 7.5 million of startup funding in 2005. However, further studies indicated substantial problems including the questionable feasibility of the elevators, the negative impact on tunnel rail capacity and the unprofitability of the whole enterprise. The Swiss Federal Council and the government of the canton of Graubünden announced in September 2007 that the project was put on indefinite hold.
Following renewed interest by private investors in 2012, the Federal Council decided to forgo construction for the time being, while leaving open the possibility of a similar project being implemented by a later generation. A government report stated that the Porta Alpina would have reduced the base tunnel's freight capacity (unless a passing loop would be built, at a very large cost for additional tunneling) and would have been uneconomical to operate, requiring CHF 9 million of annual public subsidies.
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