Results for Base tunnel

1916

The first base tunnel

Long before the Gotthard and Lötschberg, the first base tunnel in Swiss rail history is driven through the hills at Hauenstein near Olten.

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1947

The Europe-Africa Express

An engineer has a vision: from Basel to Chiasso by rail in just two hours – time enough for a shower, a haircut and some telephone calls.

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31 January 1962

The Gotthard Base Tunnel

The Confederation moots the idea of a «Gotthard Base Rail Tunnel», and commissions Elektro-Watt to develop a project.

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20 June 1970

The tunnel plan

Specialists arguing for a Gotthard Base Tunnel point to Switzerland’s important position as a European transit nation.

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1971

The abortive project begins

The plan for the first Gotthard Base Tunnel is thwarted by the economic crisis of the mid-1970s.

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1985

The Gotthard myth

The Gotthard enjoys mythical status in Switzerland. It symbolises Switzerland’s defensive potential, but also its transit function.

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1985

A dissertation revives a railway

Rarely has an academic dissertation caused such a political stir. Hans-Jörg Bertschi’s work lends new momentum to the NRLA.

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12 July 1988

Five options

Lötschberg-Simplon, Gotthard, Ypsilon or one of two Splügen options? The Federal Council decides to pursue the Gotthard and Lötschberg-Simplon options.

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4 October 1991

Parliament backs the NRLA

Parliament’s backing for the construction of the NRLA is based on regional, environmental and European policy arguments.

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27 September 1992

Yes to the NRLA

Swiss voters approve the NRLA proposal by a clear majority, paving the way for construction of the new Gotthard, Ceneri and Lötschberg tunnels.

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1993

Tunnel vision

The NRLA is architecture. A minimalist formal language pervades its every construction, even down to the barely visible tunnels.

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4 October 1993

Work begins

The NRLA is far more than just the Gotthard Base Tunnel, but the first exploratory boring for the NRLA project takes place at the Gotthard.

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20 February 1995

Green light for the network option

The Federal Council confirms the network option for the NRLA, clearing the way for construction of the Gotthard-Ceneri and Lötschberg axes.

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18 April 1996

Uri’s concerns

The canton of Uri is particularly affected by construction of the Gotthard axis. It wants the approach route to the rail tunnel to run underground. Negotiations with the Confederation run far from smoothly.

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5 July 1999

Construction begins

Although work actually began earlier, the first blasting at the Lötschberg is regarded as the official start of NRLA construction.

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27 November 2000

Geology and surveying

Tunnel construction depends on scientific knowledge. Geology helps to find ways through the rock.

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17 December 2003

Yes to the Ceneri Base Tunnel

Funding for the Ceneri tunnel is controversial. Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger argues strongly in its favour.

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2005

Control in the tunnel

A new control system transmits movement commands via a digital radio network to a screen in the driver’s cab.

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2 June 2006

Construction of the Ceneri tunnel

The Ceneri Base Tunnel is the third major project forming part of the NRLA. Although somewhat overshadowed by the Gotthard and Lötschberg tunnels, it will usher in a new era for regional transport in Ticino.

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6 September 2006

Breakthrough in the Gotthard

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is the centrepiece of the NRLA. The first breakthrough by a boring machine takes place in the east bore.

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9 December 2007

The Lötschberg enters operation

With the opening of the Lötschberg Base Tunnel, a first section of the NRLA becomes operational.

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15 October 2008

Traversing the Piora Basin

The Piora Basin, with its sugar-grain rock, threatens to endanger construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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2016

Tunnels of the world

Whose tunnel is the longest? Tunnel construction is a never-ending competition for the world record.

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1 June 2016

High-profile guests at the opening ceremony

No expense is spared at the Gotthard Base Tunnel inauguration ceremony in 2016. Merkel, Hollande and Renzi are in attendance, but not the heads of the EU.

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2017

43,152 trains

In the opening months, traffic in the new Gotthard Base Tunnel occasionally grinds to a halt. The SBB lay on extra trains to cope.

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1 January 2017

Mind the doors

The escape doors installed in the Gotthard tunnel are the best there is. They owe their construction to the NRLA. One major innovation led to multiple minor innovations.

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2017

The train feels the strain

The Lötschberg Base Tunnel becomes a victim of its own success. Planning for an expansion is already under way.

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2020

Ceneri, the third base tunnel

The NRLA is more than its three tunnels, but they are convenient media labels for the project stages. Completion of the Ceneri Base Tunnel in 2020 marks the end of the NRLA.

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2021

Whither the mountain routes?

Not everyone is a winner from the NRLA. The future of the world-famous Gotthard mountain route through the Urseren Valley and the Leventina is still undecided.

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