Mind the doors

31 December 2016
Door test
Door test

An engineer tests the escape doors specially developed for the Gotthard Base Tunnel. (undated, Alptransit Gotthard Ltd)

The NRLA is a major innovation in transport technology, and also spawned numerous minor technological innovations. New escape doors were constructed for the Gotthard Base Tunnel which opened in 2016, spaced at intervals of 325 metres along its entire length. Existing models had failed to make the grade. These seemingly unremarkable sliding doors must require little effort to open in the event of a power outage and must close automatically afterwards. They must be corrosion-proof and able to cope with high levels of humidity; and they must withstand both fire and the blasts of air constantly generated by trains speeding through the tunnel, each of which subjects the steel doors to a pressure of 10 tonnes.

« Mr Welti proposes a new form of drive wheel, which he calls a flanged wheel. »

Karl Pestalozzi, Report, p. 20, 01.06.1869

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