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Gotthard Base Tunnel: Serious Damage, Normal Operation Expected as of September 2024

The derailment of a cargo train in the Gotthard Base Tunnel on 10 August 2023 caused considerably more serious damage than initially assumed. The repair work will therefore take much longer than originally expected.

SBB has estimated that the tunnel will not be fully reopened for passenger and cargo trains until September 2024. From the timetable change on 10 December 2023, SBB intends to increase capacity for freight transport during the week and for passenger transport at weekends.

Following the extensive damage clearance and retrieval work, SBB has spent the last few weeks assessing the damage caused by the derailment of the goods train in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Based on the latest findings, it estimates the amount of damage, including loss of revenue, at around 100 to 130 million Swiss francs.

The damage in the tunnel is much more serious than it initially appeared. The carriageway has to be completely renewed over 7 kilometres. This involves replacing the rails along this entire stretch, as well as over 20 000 sleeper blocks and the concrete layer in which they are cast. In addition, the damaged track change gate, two high-speed switches and many other safety and operationally relevant system components need to be replaced.

Up to 80 SBB and third-party employees are working in three shifts every day. Under very demanding logistical and climatic conditions, around 300 metres of the 7 kilometres of damaged track are currently being renewed every week. The installation of the track change gate and the two high-speed switches at the Faido multifunction station will also take several weeks. The repair work will be followed by thorough acceptance and testing work as well as test runs.

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