Brenner Base Tunnel: The next Challenge for mechanized Tunnelling

The oft-mentioned Brenner Base Tunnel is Europe’s next mega-rail project in the making. Including the Innsbruck bypass, the 64 km long tunnel route will run from Innsbruck, Austria to Fortezza, Italy, making it arguably one of the longest – if not the longest – underground railway tunnels in the world. The tunnel route is a challenging one, traveling below the Brenner Pass in the Alps mountain range with a maximum cover of around 1600 m. When complete in 2025, twin 8.1 m i.d. tubes will run single-track trains just 70 m apart from one another, connected every 333 m by cross passages.

The authors of this article believe that the best methods for excavation of the Brenner Base Tunnel are mechanized – specifically using either open-type or shielded hard rock tunnel boring machines. These types of machines have proven themselves in deep tunnels worldwide, and are frequently faster, safer, and more cost-effective than conventional drill & blast headings. Obviously, the use of specialized ground support to adapt to the challenging rock condition will have to be integrated into the TBM design and operation as well.

Mammoth Proportions

Excavation on the massive scale required to...

Related articles:

Issue 03/2013

Next Generation of Hybrid TBMs for Mixed Ground

In a mixed and unpredictable underground environment the increasing use of hybrid TBMs is one that goes with the territory. Where multiple machine types might have once been used for different...

Issue 02/2020

Sustainable TBM Design for Long-Term Usage

Introduction: The TBM Life Cycle It is essential to consider the total life cycle of a machine, even in its early design stages – this is by far the most economical and sustainable way of thinking....

Issue 02/2019 Turkey

TBM-Excavation of Turkey’s longest Water Tunnel

Excavation of Turkey’s longest water tunnel came to an end in December 2018. To get there, a 5.56 m diameter Robbins Crossover (XRE) TBM and the contractor JV of Kolin/Limak had to overcome dozens of...

Issue 06/2011

Mechanical and process-technical Characterisation of the Rock influenced by interactive Behaviour of Machine – Ground

1 Introduction In the case of TBM drives the excavated material is subject to numerous processes of change while being extracted by the cutting wheel right up to being discharged at the portal, which...