- After the derailment around two weeks ago, the first freight trains drove back through the Gotthard Base Tunnel on Wednesday morning.
- By 7.30 a.m. there had been 21 trains.
- The operation is going according to plan, says an SBB spokesman at the request of the Keystone-SDA news agency.
The east tube was put into operation as planned at midnight, the spokesman said. The cadence will be increased throughout the day until four trains per hour can run in both directions in the afternoon. That corresponds to almost 100 freight trains per day.
Two weeks after the accident: status of the work
On August 10, a freight train with a total of 30 wagons from Italy to Germany derailed in the Gotthard base tunnel. The infrastructure was damaged over a distance of eight kilometers.
Most of the derailed 16 cars are still in the tunnel, reports the SBB. Several of them were so badly damaged that they had to be dismantled before they could be transported away. The railway system also needs to be repaired. This work is likely to take several months.
According to SBB, the mobile gate as a replacement for the damaged lane change gate has proven its worth. This ensures “safe operation of freight traffic in the east tube and safe work at the accident site in the west tube”.
The SBB announced that a RailCare composition was the first train to travel from the south through the east tube. This was followed by a mail train from Härkingen SO to Cadenazzo TI. In addition, three double-decker trains that had been blocked in Ticino since the accident on August 10 were returned to German-speaking Switzerland.
The cadence will be continuously increased during the day until four trains per hour can run in both directions in the afternoon. That corresponds to almost 100 freight trains per day. In addition, 30 freight trains would be diverted via the panorama route. This would allow 130 freight trains to run every day.
More passenger capacity
There should also be improvements in passenger transport, as the SBB writes in a statement. This will continue to be diverted via the panoramic route. But from Thursday, more trains could run at maximum length. This means more seats are available. In addition, SBB is again offering supersaver tickets to Ticino. And from September 29th, travelers can reserve seats and bicycle spaces again.
Also from Thursday, most international passenger trains could run directly again. This increases the travel time by only 60 minutes instead of the previous 120 minutes. Due to construction work on the Italian network, the Eurocity trains via Simplon would be replaced by buses between Domodossola and Milan until September 10th. This increases the travel time by two hours.