TTR150 The last years of the old Gotthard part 2 south ramp

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The tunnel building contract for the Gotthard was let in 1872. It was won by a highly experienced railway engineer Loisis Favre. The construction period was set at eight years In fact the tunnel took an extra two years to build and cost the lives of 147 men including that of Favre. Work on the much longer 21st Cent. base tunnel started 1996. The basic tunnelling is now complete, it took about ten years - the same as Favre’s tunnel. The principal tools used by the Alp Transit teams were two vast tunnel boring machines. The 30 million sf piece of kit weighs 2,700 tons, is 450m long and was worked by a crew of 17. The machines were in service 18hrs a day 320 days a year. To build the tunnel 130,000 m3 of concrete have been used, 290km of rail are to be laid. Fitting out is expected to be completed in 2016 and handed over to SBB in 2017. Passenger trains will be able to run through at 250kph and freight trains up to 4,000 tons will be able to run hauled by just one, probably in practice two, high-tech locomotives. Having looked at Airolo and the old tunnel and the building of the new we follow the line south through Rodi-Fiesso and the Dazio Grande Spiral and later the Biaschina complex. Our journey concludes at Bellinzona. RT 60mins Published April 2012


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