Thales Equips the World’s Longest Railway Tunnel
Thales Equips the World's Longest Railway Tunnel

The opening ceremony of the Gotthard Tunnel, the world’s longest railway tunnel, took place on June 1 in Switzerland. As a member of the Transtec Gotthard Consortium, Thales has integrated its cutting-edge train control system, ETCS Level 2, into the new Gotthard Tunnel. It will connect the Swiss-Italian and Swiss-German regions under the Alps.

Following the successful completion of the Lötschberg Tunnel, the Gotthard Tunnel will stretch over 57 km at a depth of 2.300 metres under the Alps. This new link will cut travel times from Zurich to Milan to under three hours (an hour less). It will shift transportation from road to rail, significantly reducing CO2 emissions and is expected to be used by thousands of passengers and freight trains every day – two-passenger train and six freight trains every hour.

“We are very proud to contribute to this exceptional project, which was the most important missing link of the European corridors, connecting Rotterdam to Genoa. In spite of the complexity of the programme, we have successfully delivered the whole railway system for the tunnel including Thales’s signalling system, one year in advance,” said Peter Huber, General Project Manager Transtec Gotthard.

Thales’s advanced ETCS signalling technology will allow for the circulation of more than 300 trains per day at speeds of up to 250km/h in both directions. This is the result of a global investment of 12 billion Swiss francs, including 1.9 billion for the railway equipment and 196 million for Thales’s contribution.

Thales’s involvement in the Gotthard project includes managing the development, production, installation, integration and homologation of the rail signalling systems within the overall system. It has also carried out all the testing procedures. These systems have been built up under realistic conditions in the company’s Gotthard laboratory in Zurich and are the result of eight years of work by a German-Italian bilingual team.


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