Gotthard tunnel derailment: repair work extended until September 2024

The repair work needed after a freight train derailed in Switzerland’s Gotthard tunnel on 10 August will take longer than originally estimated, until September next year.

Gotthard tunnel derailmentThis new estimate was made public in a statement by the Swiss railway company CFF, as the entire 7 km of track needs to be replaced. According to information currently available, repairing the damage will cost between CHF 100 and 130 million.

SBB officials say they are looking into ways of speeding up the work so that trains can resume running through the world’s longest railway tunnel as soon as possible.

Since the derailment on 10 August, SBB has stepped up the pace of work in the Gotthard base tunnel. Every day, up to 80 employees from SBB and other companies are working intensively in the tunnel under difficult conditions. Since the end of September, some passenger trains have been able to cross the tunnel again at weekends.

Much railway equipment to be replaced after Gotthard tunnel derailment

In addition to replacing 7 km of track, more than 20 000 half-tracks, the concrete slabs on which they are fixed, two cranes and many other pieces of equipment essential for rail safety need to be replaced. Under these conditions, CFF estimates that the two Gotthard tunnels will not be fully operational until September 2024.

The world’s longest railway tunnel, the Gotthard, with a total length of 57 km, was severely damaged after 23 wagons of a freight train derailed on 10 August 2023. Initially, the Swiss railway company had hoped that trains would resume running on 16 August, less than a week after the serious rail accident. However, this was not possible, as shown above, due to much greater damage than expected.

The Swiss tunnel was completed in 2016, after 17 years of work and a $12 billion investment. The opening ceremony was attended by leading politicians at the time: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

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