Ceneri Base Tunnel

Lugano, Switzerland

Ceneri Base Tunnel

The Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT, Italian: Galleria di base del Monte Ceneri) is a Swiss railway base tunnel in the canton of Ticino. It passes under Monte Ceneri between Camorino in the Magadino Flat and Vezia near Lugano; it bypasses the former high-altitude rail route through the Monte Ceneri Tunnel. It is composed of two single-track tunnels, each 15.4 km (9.6 mi) long. It is part of the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA) project for faster north-south rail links across the Swiss Alps.

An exploration tunnel near Sigirino was excavated between 1999 and 2003 to gain geological data on the rock formations at the Ceneri Base Tunnel's level. Based on those data, it was decided to excavate most of the tunnel with traditional blasting methods and only drill a small part using a faster tunnel boring machine (TBM). Both the CBT and Gotthard Base Tunnels were built under contract from the Swiss Federal Government by Alptransit Gotthard AG. Construction of the two single-track bores started during March 2006. The official start of the CBT's construction phase was celebrated on 2 June 2006 with the laying of a foundation stone. The final breakthroughs took place on 21 January 2016 (west tube) and 26 January 2016 (east tube). Rail service started on 4 September 2020 and was operationalised for freight in December 2020.

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