Lötschberg Base Tunnel
The Lötschberg Base Tunnel (LBT) is a 34.577 km (21.5 mile) long new railway
tunnelon the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon railwaycutting through the Alps of Switzerlandsome 400 m below the existing Lötschberg Tunnel. It is the longest land tunnel in the world, accommodating both passenger and freight trains, and running between Frutigen, Berne and Raron, Valais. Breakthrough was made in April 2005, and construction ended in 2006. The opening ceremony of the tunnel took place on Friday 15 June 2007. [cite news| title=Swiss Open World's Longest Land Tunnel| publisher=Washington Post| date= 2007-06-15| url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/15/AR2007061500763.html| ] [cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6755953.stm| title=Huge Swiss tunnel opens in Alps| publisher=BBC| date= 2007-06-15| accessdate=2007-06-19| ] Full scale operation began on 9 December 2007. [TSR Journal 15/06/2007, édition du 19h30]
Built to ease truck traffic on Swiss roads, this tunnel allows an increased number of trucks and trailers to be loaded onto trains in
Germany, pass through Switzerland on rail, and be unloaded in Italy. It also cuts down travel time for German tourists heading for Swiss ski resorts and puts the Valaisinto commutingdistance to Bernedue to a travel time reduction by 50%. The total cost (including an $840 million cost overrun) has come to 3.5 billion dollars. Along with the Gotthard Base Tunnel, this is part of the Swiss AlpTransitinitiative.
Track construction inside the Lötschberg base tunnel was completed on
24 July 2006. Extensive testing was taking place including more than one thousand test runs and testing for the use of the ETCS Level 2 system. After the opening ceremony in June 2007 until December 2007, some regular freight will make use of the tunnel. It has also been decided that some international and InterCity passenger trains without stops between Spiez and Brig will use it, using however the old timetable (the travel time between Spiez and Brig will be considered 56 minutes until December 2007 even if using the base tunnel the travel time will be about 30 minutes).
As of February 2008, the tunnel is used for normal InterCity routes. The travel time between Visp and Spiez is about 28 minutes, of which about 16 minutes is inside the tunnel.
The project also includes two parallel bridges over the Rhône river in canton Valais, the 2.6 km (1.6 mile) Engstlige tunnel (built with cut-and-cover method, the two tracks are divided by a wall). However, due to the soaring costs of the AlpTransit initiative, funds have had to be diverted to the more prestigious Gotthard Base Tunnel; therefore the Lötschberg Base Tunnel is only half finished. The fully completed tunnel will consist of two single-track bores side by side from portal to portal that are connected about every 300 metres with cross cuts, enabling the other tunnel to be used for escape. [TSR [http://www.tsr.ch/tsr/index.html?siteSect=500000#bcid=502890;vid=7857769 "Gotthard: From Dream to Nightmare"] "Temps Present"
24 May 2007] Currently from South to North one third of the tunnel is double track, one third single track with the second bore in place, and one third with only one single track railway tunnel, the parallel exploration adit providing emergency egress. The construction has been divided into three phases, only phase 1 has been completed so far:
*"Phase 1": construction of about 3/4 of the length of the West tube and the complete East tube of the main tunnel, the Engstlige tunnel, the two bridges across the Rhône, and the branch bore from Steg. Tracks are laid in the Eastern tubes of Lötschberg Basis and Engstlige tunnels, and for a dozen of km in the western tube of Lötschberg Basis, starting from the South.
*"Phase 2": laying of tracks in the bored but not equipped part of the western tube of LBT, and in the western tube of Engstlige tunnel.
*"Phase 3": construction of the remaining 8 km of western tube, laying of tracks on the Steg branch, and connection of this branch to the main line Brig-Lausanne, but towards Lausanne.
Phases 2 and 3 may be done at the same time. Completing the tunnel is estimated to cost about a billion
It is planned to run 110 trains a day through the new base tunnel, and 66 through the old mountain tunnel, because of the single track. Of the 110 trains which will pass the base tunnel, 30 will be passenger trains and 80 will be freight trains including
intermodal freight transportas well as heavy freight trains with a maximum weight of 4000 tons and a maximum length of 1500 metres which are unable to pass the existing mountain track.
As there are about 21 km of single track without passing loops, a train that is more than 7 minutes late will be sent on the old line incurring further delay, whether it is a freight or passenger train, or will have to wait for the next available timetable slot in the base tunnel.
*Regular freight trains: 100
*Qualified freight trains: 160 km/h (~100 mph)
*Passenger trains: 200 km/h (~120 mph)
*Tilting passenger trains: 250 km/h (~160 mph)
Ceneri Base Tunnel
Gotthard Base Tunnel
Treno Alta Velocità
Zimmerberg Base Tunnel
List of tunnels by length
List of tunnels by location
* [http://www.blsalptransit.ch/en/frameset_e.htm Official site of the project]
* [http://www.btloetschberg.ch Official site of the "ARGE Bahntechnik Lötschberg" the general contractor for the railway technology]
* [http://www.bahntechnik.com/Englisch/01loetschberg.html Site with a movie documentation about the engineering and the works] (railway technology)
* [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7668041/ MSNBC report on the tunnel breakthrough, 28 April 2005]
* [http://www.BauNetz.de/sixcms_4/sixcms_upload/media/293/48_57_bahntechnik.pdf Rail Technology in the Lötschberg Base Tunnel]
* [http://www.btloetschberg.ch/Linienbaustelle.795.0.html Image Gallery on a contractors site]
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