Gotthard Base Tunnel: Clearing and Rescue Operations Will Last Until End of September 2023

On 10 August 2023, a cargo train derailed in the west tube of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Major material damage was caused. The repair work will take several months. 22 wagons and two locomotives were removed from the tunnel by 6 September. At that time, 8 wagons were still in the tunnel. Several wagons were so badly damaged that they had to be dismantled in the tunnel before they could be removed. Since 23 August, freight traffic has been allowed to pass through the undamaged east tunnel again.

No Official Information Yet on Cause of Derailment and Extent of Damage

The incident in the Gotthard Base Tunnel occurred in the early afternoon at the Faido multifunction station. The freight train involved was travelling north. The derailment caused severe damage to the track system and a lane-changing gate in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. SBB has not yet given any information about the cause of the accident or the extent of the damage. The derailment is said to have been caused by a broken wheel. The Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board (STSB) is examining the causes of the damage.

The extensive clearing and recovery work at the accident site in the west tunnel is expected to last until the end of September. Work is being carried out in two shifts, seven days a week. 22 wagons and two locomotives have already been removed from the tunnel. Currently, 8 wagons are still in the tunnel. Several wagons were so badly damaged that they have to be dismantled in the tunnel before they can be removed. The wagons are being salvaged via the south portal, which is about 15 km away from the accident site. For this purpose, a temporary track had to be constructed in places.

Parallel to this work, the SBB is working on a detailed survey of the damage caused. The aim is to be able to start repairing the damaged railway facilities immediately after the end of the clearance and salvage work at the end of September.

Freight Traffic Runs Through Base Tunnel With Restrictions

Since 23 August, four freight trains at a time have been able to travel through the undamaged east tunnel. These are followed by four freight trains from the opposite direction. Currently, about 90 of a maximum of 100 freight trains per day travel through the Gotthard Base Tunnel. An additional 15 to 20 freight trains per day run via the Gotthard panorama route. Passenger trains are still diverted via the Gotthard Panorama Route and are thus an hour longer on the way.


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