CZ/SK verze

EXCITING: Gotthard Base Tunnel Set to Reopen After Year-Long Closure

EXCITING: Gotthard Base Tunnel Set to Reopen After Year-Long Closure
photo: SBB / Public domain/Gotthard Tunnel repair
02 / 07 / 2024

The Gotthard Base Tunnel, a critical rail link between Switzerland and Italy, has been closed since August 2023, causing significant disruption to the rail freight industry. The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has announced that the tunnel will fully reopen without limitations on September 2, 2024, a year after the incident.

The tunnel closure followed a derailment on August 10, 2023, near the Faido multifunction station. An SBB Cargo freight train derailed due to a broken wheel, causing extensive damage and destroying the gate between the tunnel’s western and eastern sections. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is the only route in the area capable of accommodating freight trains with a 4-meter profile, making its closure a severe bottleneck for rail freight operations.

To mitigate the impact, SBB reopened the undamaged eastern tunnel exclusively for freight trains, allowing around 100 trains to transit daily. However, re-routing other freight trains has been costly and complicated, especially for Italian operators. The financial toll is significant, with repair costs for the tunnel estimated between EUR 103 and 135 million. SBB assured that these costs would be covered by existing insurance provisions. The company has also implemented an interim timetable, increasing freight capacity on weekdays and maintaining mixed services on weekends until a complete reopening is achieved.