In the second of a two-part feature, KEITH FENDER focuses on the operational side of the new tunnel beneath the Alps
Following the completion of construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT), construction body AlpTransit handed the tunnel to Swiss national operator SBB in early 2016. This followed over 500 test runs, the fastest at 275km/h using the DB ICE-S test train.
The GBT was formally opened on 1 June 2016 with great celebration by the Swiss government with invited guests from all over the world. It did not open immediately to all traffic in June 2016 – instead six months of trial operation was planned, with some but not all freight trains using the new route at times. On some days in late 2016 all traffic was routed via the old mountain line and on others almost all traffic via the GBT.