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Ventilation control with 800xA for Gotthard railway tunnel in Switzerland

Creating the world’s largest tunnel ventilation system

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Photo courtesy of Alptransit Gotthard

ABB has won a major order from AlpTransit Gotthard AG (ATG) to provide a ventilation system for the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, which will carry trains beneath the Alps. It is the world's largest railway tunnel project, with a route length of 57 km.

Cutting rail times through the Swiss Alps

The Lötschberg and Gotthard base tunnels are the focal points of a Swiss federal project to cut rail times through the Swiss Alps by constructing base tunnels several hundred meters below the existing tunnels. Construction crews cut through the last 180 cm of rock to reach the Gotthard base tunnel far below the peaks of the Alps on Oct. 15, to much fanfare.

The 34.6 km Lötschberg base tunnel is already in operation, having opened in December 2007. The tunnel supports the western transit link between Basel on the German border and Milan in northern Italy. Some 40 passenger trains and 110 freight trains pass through the tunnel every day.

ABB supplied the 50 Hz power distribution system for the entire tunnel infrastructure - lighting, signaling, communications, ventilation and air conditioning – as well as the 16.7 Hz traction power supply system that is designed to power up to six locomotives and freight trains of up to 1.5 km in length simultaneously.

Main facts

Industry Roads and tunnels infrastructure
Customer

AlpTransit Gotthard AG (ATG)

Country Switzerland
 Solution  System 800xA control system
 Partner  Consortium with TLT Turbo GmbH
The futuristic flat trajectory line will be part of the New Railway Link through the Alps, leading to an improvement in rail transit times between Switzerland and Italy.

The longest rail tunnel in the world

For the 57 km Gotthard base tunnel, which is scheduled to open in 2017 and will be the longest rail tunnel in the world, ABB is supplying a power distribution solution that will provide exceptional levels of reliability, availability and safety in the demanding operating conditions of the tunnel system. 

The tunnel system will consist of two 57 km tunnel tubes, one for each direction, linked every 325 meters by 40 m crossways that serve as escape routes. The ABB power equipment is located in these crossways. It has to withstand large variations in pressure caused by trains speeding past at 250 km/h, and unusually harsh operating conditions – salt deposits, brake dust, soot, and abraded material.

ABB equipment will provide exceptional levels of reliability, availability and safety in the demanding operating conditions of the tunnel system
The new routing of the tunnel permits the use of qualified freight trains, which can be twice as heavy as today’s freight trains and reach a maximum speed of up to 160 km/h in the tunnel. Passenger trains will run through the tunnel at up to 250 km/h. These new dimensions in transit capability are achieved by a lower gradient and greater curve radii than in the existing mountain line.

The tunnel system consists of two parallel single-track tunnels, joined every 325 m by a 40 m long connecting gallery. Trains can change tunnels at two multifunction stations in the system, which also serve as emergency stops with evacuation facilities.

The largest tunnel ventilation system ever built

Together with TLT Turbo GmbH, ABB represents a consortium responsible for developing, producing and installing what will be the largest tunnel ventilation system ever built, providing fresh air for the entire tunnel network. ABB technologies will ensure it operates at the highest levels of reliability and energy -efficiency.

ABB’s scope of supply includes medium- and low-voltage switchgear, other electrical equipment, System 800xA control systems, sensors, digital field devices to measure air flow and temperature, drive systems and other automation equipment. ABB is also responsible for cable design and delivery, as well the installation, assembly and commissioning of the other components.


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