Construction is now underway on the Ligerz tunnel in Bern, Switzerland.
This is part of a project to eliminate a bottleneck between La Neuveville and Twann: a 4.5-kilometre-long section of single track and the last of its kind on the southern Jura line.
By expanding this section to double track and constructing the 2.1km-long tunnel, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) will be able to increase rail capacity and improve timetable stability.
The tunnel will also help minimise railway noise for local residents.
Funded by the Railway Infrastructure Fund (BIF), the estimated cost of the project is approximately 431 million CHF (426.2m euros | 464m USD).
Preparatory work on the expansion project began at the end of 2021 including earthworks around the location of the future tunnel’s west portal.
Track geometry is also currently being adjusted in a curve near Poudeille in order to enable trains to run faster on this section and work on the cut-and-cover section of the tunnel, using bored piles, will begin this summer.
Tunnel construction will start in earnest next year. Due to restrictions related to its location, the tunnel will be excavated using conventional blasting in order to reuse as much of the excavated material as possible.
SBB is taking numerous measures to protect residents from construction noise including building sound-absorbing walls around construction site areas and night-time work will be kept to a minimum.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the tunnel was recently attended by Christoph Neuhaus from the Canton of Bern government, Anna Barbara Remund, Deputy Director of the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) and Peter Kummer, Head of the SBB Infrastructure Division.
Here they unveiled a digital impression of the future western tunnel portal.
This project has been a long time coming. Plans for a double-track expansion of the Jura-Südfusslinie was put forward by SBB back in 1942, however the expansion of the cantonal road in La Neuveville was considered a bigger priority.
After several attempts, the project was finally relaunched by SBB in 2013.
Construction of the double track expansion and Ligerz tunnel is scheduled for completion by the end of 2026.
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The Rhaetian Railway (RhB) has inaugurated two new fire and rescue vehicles (LöReF) for use in the Vereina tunnel in eastern Switzerland.
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Berner Oberland-Bahnen has ordered six ABeh 4/8 multiple units from Stadler to expand the Bernese Oberland Railway's existing rolling stock.
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Private Swiss rail operator BLS will begin operating MIKA (Stadler FLIRT) trains in the Lucerne West region from December 2024.
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On Sunday, 13 December, timetabled passenger and freight services started operating through the Ceneri Base Tunnel, completing the NRLA.
Zurich will get a further 40 FLEXITY trams as VBZ has signed a contract with Bombardier based on an option in the original 2017 contract.
Passengers had to be evacuated from their train in the Ceneri Base Tunnel due to technical problems with the vehicle.
BLS and Stadler have rolled out the first of the new generation FLIRT trains, named MIKA. The total order is for 58 units.
The Ceneri Base Tunnel has formally opened, completing the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA). Regular services will begin in December.
SBB has received the authorisation for test operations in the Ceneri Base Tunnel. SBB will run passenger and freight services from September.
The partial upgrade of the Lötschberg Base Tunnel has entered the next phase, with public consultations on the plans beginning on 17 August.
The first Stadler Geaf 2/2 battery electric shunting locomotive has entered service for Rhaetian Railway at Chur station.
BLS will begin its refurbishment of the Lötschberg Base Tunnel in September following water and sand ingress earlier this year.
The Swiss Federal Office of Transport has confirmed that it will be able to issue the operating licence for the Ceneri Base Tunnel on time.
BLS Cargo has announced it is buying 25 Siemens Vectron multi-system locomotives to operate in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.
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Alstom has delivered the first five Coradia Polyvalent Léman Express trains to SNCF. They are due to enter service on 15 December 2019.
SOB and SBB presented their co-operation for two railway lines in Bern. They also presented the Traverso, which will run on the routes.
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