Geneva / Zurich, Switzerland, January 19, 2016 - The new Gotthard Base Tunnel, the longest rail tunnel in the world, will be officially opened in June this year. A wide range of innovative and energy-efficient ABB technologies ensuring the power supply of the infrastructure and the ventilation are critical elements used in the new tunnel.
As a main partner of the project "Gottardo 2016" ABB is also supporting the celebrations surrounding the opening of this construction project of the century. To highlight this partnership, an ABB branded Lok 2000 will be running on the Swiss rail network from January 20th. Like other locomotives of the same type it will also be equipped with ABB drive packages and electrical equipment.
"This ABB branded locomotive also stands for ABB's contribution of components installed for the implementation of this project of the century. The tunnel contains a broad range of ABB technologies," said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer at the locomotive's christening in Geneva.
There will be several festivities in 2016: the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in June, but also the 125 years of ABB in Switzerland. "With the motto 'On track to the future' in our anniversary year, the locomotive indicates how proud ABB is of its success story in rail transport and the long-standing partnership with SBB," added Remo Lütolf, Country Manager ABB Switzerland.
ABB rail transport solutions
SBB is a very important customer of ABB, with a relationship going back a hundred years. In 2014 ABB landed a contract and contract options amounting to nearly 70 million Swiss francs from SBB for the delivery of the latest generation of power converters to its fleet. The ABB branded SBB locomotive is equipped with latest generation drive packages and electrical equipment from ABB. Even the locomotive of the RE 460 type - commonly called Lok 2000 - is a prime example of the energy-efficient rail transport. SBB has been using this type of locomotive for about 20 years and each year for at least 300,000 kilometers. Thanks to retrofits from ABB, as they are used in the current fleet of locomotives of SBB, energy efficiency and reliability of locomotives can be increased and the service life can be extended by another 20 years. This way the fleet saves 27 gigawatt hours of energy each year thanks to new traction converters and other modernization measures. This corresponds to the average power consumption of more than 6,700 Swiss households.
The partnership between ABB and SBB in the context of the century-old construction project Gotthard Base Tunnel emphasizes the great innovative strength and high expertise of ABB in the rail industry and is another important chapter in the long and successful collaboration between the two leading companies.
"We are pleased to have a long-standing and reliable partner for rail engineering and electrification on board for the June 2016 opening of this construction project of the century, the Gotthard Base Tunnel," said SBB CEO Andreas Meyer at the locomotive's christening in Geneva.
Since its founding 125 years ago, ABB has been closely linked to rail travel in Switzerland. The predecessor companies of ABB made significant contributions to the electrification of the railway. At the start of 20th century, ABB electrified the Simplon and old Lötschberg Tunnel as well as the old Gotthard tunnel and thereby contributed significantly to the major expansion of railroads through the Alps. The circle was completed with the acquisition of Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO). The MFO had produced electric locomotives - like BBC - such as the legendary "Crocodile" for goods transport on the steep Gotthard route, which each railway fan the world over recognizes today from its silhouette.
A wide range of ABB technologies that ensure the power supply of the infrastructure and the ventilation are used in the new tunnel. For well over 17 years the century-long construction project was being built; the first train will cross the new tunnel this summer. With 57 kilometers the Gotthard Base Tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world and is one of the most important north-south links in Europe. Thanks to the new tunnel, there is more capacity to transport goods by rail and both the individual parts of Switzerland and the neighboring countries Germany and Italy come closer because of shorter traveling times.
Contribution to sustainable mobility
Since 125 years, ABB is contributing to technical progress in the field of energy efficiency and increase in industrial productivity in Switzerland and worldwide. This also applies to innovations in the railway sector that enable sustainable mobility. This tradition has continued until today: Traction converters are developed and produced in Aargau (Turgi), traction transformers at Geneva location. In addition, ABB also manufactures and maintains all components and subsystems that are used on rail networks of commuter and mainline railway systems and high-speed railway systems. ABB has a huge installed base the world over and also offers various Life Cycle Services, including maintenance, upgrades and retrofits.
ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies. In the area of energy supply and the industry, the company enables its customers to improve their performance while reducing environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies is operating in around 100 countries and employs about 140,000 employees, of whom around 6,550 in Switzerland.