The 2018 European Railway Award has been presented to the Gotthard Base Tunnel Project, for delivering the world’s longest railway tunnel, shifting freight to rail.
Peter Jedelhauser, former Head of the Gotthard North South Corridor Project at SBB, and Renzo Simoni, former CEO of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd accepted the award on behalf of the European workforce who brought the project to life.
This is the eleventh edition of the European Railway Award, where, since 2007, the European rail sector has celebrated and recognised the political and technical contributions of accomplished individuals to the sector. The ceremony, which took place at the Square Meeting Centre in Brussels, was followed by the joint CER-UNIFE Annual Reception and attracted more than 500 guests from all over Europe, including high-level politicians and transport stakeholders.
The evening started off with a round-table discussion among top EU transport policymakers and stakeholders. Representing the European Parliament, MEP Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR), Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, underlined:
“2018 is going to be a very challenging year for rail sector at EU level. There is a common will between the European Commission and the European Parliament to promote passengers’ traffic and freight, in order to decarbonise transports and to better connect European citizens. But this transition will only be possible if we implement the fourth railway package for the benefit of passengers and workers of the rail industry, and if passengers feel better protected by the passenger rights’ directive that is being currently recast. Brexit will also be at the heart of the rail connectivity discussions given the European Union shares, under water, a rail interconnection with the British island. We have rich discussions ahead of us and I thank CER and UNIFE for setting up this new edition of the European Railway Award.”
The longest rail tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, officially entered into service on 11 December 2016. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is an outstanding example of shifting freight transport to more environmentally friendly modes of transport, by relying on public support and a fair financing system. The tunnel is at the heart of Europe’s most important rail freight axis – the Rhine-Alpine corridor boosting rail freight traffic from Rotterdam to Genoa. Rail passengers are enjoying reduced travel times and more seats. From 9 000 daily passengers in 2015, the Gotthard passenger traffic is expected to nearly double to 15 000 daily passengers in 2021.
Renzo Simoni, former CEO of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd, highlighted:
“The great achievement is that, with the Gotthard Base Tunnel, we have a genuinely transalpine flat-rail route at our disposal. Even though it runs right through the middle of the Alps, at its highest point it’s only 550 metres above sea level.”
The Gotthard Base Tunnel in figures: 57 km length; up to 2300 m deep; 28.2 million tonnes total volume of excavated material; 2600 persons employed and 3900 persons trained; 17 years construction/commissioning time; 11 billion euros cost; 249 km/h max. travel speed; less than 20 min. travel time through the tunnel; max. 260 freight and 65 passenger trains per day.
The award was accompanied by a donation of €10,000 to the charity of the laureate’s choice. Peter Jedelhauser gave his prize money to Stiftung Personalfonds SBB, and Renzo Simoni gave his to ARGO (Foundation for integration of people with disabilities).
Original press release © European Railway Award.
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