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NEW Gotthard Tunnel set to open June 1, 2016

NEW Gotthard Tunnel set to open June 1, 2016

Old Jan 26, 16, 11:07 pm
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nrr
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NEW Gotthard Tunnel set to open June 1, 2016

On June 1, the NEW Gotthard Tunnel (about 35 miles long) is set to open.
For rail "buffs" this is an historic occasion. [Longest rail tunnel in the World]
Per the new Swiss Timetable, starting in Zurich (say) going to Goeshenen, some trips will require several train/bus changes, possibly affecting viewing (famous) Wassen Church seen from 3 different views as the train spiraled around the church.

Last edited by nrr; Jan 27, 16 at 7:03 am Reason: added undelined words
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Old Jan 27, 16, 3:06 am
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Do you know if there are public any events planned to tour the tunnel before its opening?
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Old Jan 27, 16, 6:59 am
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Originally Posted by Palal View Post
Do you know if there are public any events planned to tour the tunnel before its opening?
I'm on SBB's email list. They are/were running a promo: they are giving away 1000 seats on the 2 inaugural trains--the "contest" is only open to Swiss residents. I don't know about tours.
While doing the FIRST of anything is "exciting"(?), from INSIDE a tunnel, they all look like tunnels--not very scenic.
Hence, the allure of the (old) Wassen church route!
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Old Jan 27, 16, 7:39 am
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I am confused about what "opening" on June 1 means.

Is this like when Boeing rolled out the 787 two years before it actually flew?

Details I can find state that scheduled service wont start until December.

Commissioning the Gotthard Base Tunnel is highly complex and subdivided into phases. In sub-tests, each individual component and system is tested for its functionality.

On completion of installation and successful sub-testing of all components and installations, commissioning proper begins along the entire length of the tunnel. Commissioning is divided into two phases: test operation and trial operation.

In the test operation phase, from October 2015 to May 2016, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd, as constructor, is proving the functionality and fulfilment of the safety requirements. The interplay of all tunnel components is being thoroughly tested with train runs.

The subsequent trial operation will take place mainly under the responsibility of SFR as future operator of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Only when it has been demonstrated that operation with passenger and goods trains, personnel deployment, and incident management function perfectly, will the responsible Federal Office of Transport issue its operating permit for scheduled train services from December 2016.
What new Swiss timetable were you talking about. If I am looking for September trains, will they go over the old route or the new tunnel?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 11:11 am
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Originally Posted by Gotta Requalify View Post
What new Swiss timetable were you talking about. If I am looking for September trains, will they go over the old route or the new tunnel?
Every year all European (and some non-European) operators and infrastructure managers issue new timetables on December 10 of each year. Any major changes normally happen then.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 12:39 am
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Scheduled passenger services through the new Gotthard line will start with the new winter schedules in December 2016. The new line will require a total new set of schedules and they won't do that in the middle of the year.
I'm not sure how much fun it's going to be, sitting in a train traveling at 200 km/hr for 57 km in a tunnel with nothing to see. Convenient, yes, but honestly nothing to see.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 2:34 am
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I guess the experience will be quite a bit like taking the channel tunnel, only you won't have to change your watch at the other end!
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Old Jan 28, 16, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by Gotta Requalify View Post
I am confused about what "opening" on June 1 means.

Is this like when Boeing rolled out the 787 two years before it actually flew?

Details I can find state that scheduled service wont start until December.



What new Swiss timetable were you talking about. If I am looking for September trains, will they go over the old route or the new tunnel?

Thanks.
Passengers will still have to get to Goeshenen, to take the (shuttle) train to Andermatt, to connect to the line between Chur and Brig via Andermatt--the new tunnel bypasses that whole area. So, I'm assuming that the old route will not be totally shut down.
I'm guessing the majority of the trains will use the new route, with the old route as a (sort of) local service.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 6:05 am
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
Passengers will still have to get to Goeshenen, to take the (shuttle) train to Andermatt, to connect to the line between Chur and Brig via Andermatt--the new tunnel bypasses that whole area. So, I'm assuming that the old route will not be totally shut down.
I'm guessing the majority of the trains will use the new route, with the old route as a (sort of) local service.
I found a PDF somewhere (Can't find it again) that states that the old line will have hourly local service. Which will also require a change of trains. So doable, but not as easy as it is at the moment with multiple trains per hour all with different sources going through the route.

We will have luggage, so the less number of connections we make from Lucerne on the way to Como the better.
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Old Jan 29, 16, 4:44 am
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It will be a bit like going through the Loetschberg base tunnel, which was the previous long tunnel to open. You just sit there speeding through an endless tunnel for what feels like a long time (by today's extremely short attention span standards) then you come out again at the other end!

The next plan is to have an underground tunnel connecting all major Swiss centers in which freight will be transported (by magnetic induction?) thus relieving the roads and rail of all or most cargo transport. Only the Swiss have enough money to throw at such projects.
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Old Feb 2, 16, 10:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Palal View Post
Do you know if there are public any events planned to tour the tunnel before its opening?
At http://www.gottardo2016.ch/en the "festivities" (for the general public) will take place on the weekend June 4-5. The opening day seems to be reserved for "special people".
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Old Feb 12, 16, 5:30 am
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For those worried about the old route: It will become similar than the Lötschberg already is: Scenic and local access route, probably hourly regional/IR trains. They might even keep the IR connection from/to Locarno (once per hour, switching between ZRH and BSL as final destination)

The SBB definitely will NOT let it die, at least not in the current environment (you never know whats in 20years, so an absolute statement would be too much)

Good thing is you could do a day trip to Ticino: Morning departure from ZRH, enjoy the scenic ride, have lunch at Lago Maggiore, enjoy the afternoon sun, maybe a little boat ride, have dinner in a Grotto, and jump in the direct train just after 9pm to be home in ZRH before 11pm.

Anyone won tickets for the "opening"? I played but didn't won..
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Old May 17, 16, 10:57 am
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updated NEW Gotthard info

On June 4 and June 5, they are having special events. They anticipate 50,000 to 100,000 visitors [one can travel N to S or S to N, so I guess not everyone will be going to Erstfeld (North end).]
It seems, you must still buy a ticket to participate.
I'm getting this info via www.sbb.ch. As much as I'd like to participate, the crowds they anticipate are a big turn-off.
But, from August 2 to Nov. 27, they are running (except Mondays), special excursion trains (presumably no crowds), which will allow a stop in the tunnel to explore.
Any other info would be appreciated.
PS: I'll be in Switz. on the weekend of June 4 and again in late August.
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Old May 17, 16, 4:58 pm
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And on the morning of 5th June some of us are taking an unusual flight from Lugano to Sion, having also taken the flight from Zurich to Lugano earlier that morning. The ZRH-LUG route will probably become history once the tunnel is fully operational, so do it while you can!

The LUG-SIR connection is a total first, as those two cities have never had a flight between them before. Operated by Etihad Regional operated by Darwin Airline, it is a positioning flight for a travel agent charter from Sion to Palma and back. They decided to open the positioning flight up for sale instead of letting the plane fly empty. Interestingly, to get from Lugano to Sion the train takes between 5 and 6 hours, and the flight takes 30 minutes, flying over many of Switzerland's 4,000 meter peaks.
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Old May 18, 16, 3:11 am
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
The LUG-SIR connection is a total first, as those two cities have never had a flight between them before.
Having spend a lot of time in that part of Switzerland, I imagine that the inflight-views are going to be impressive.
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