The first timetabled trains will travel through the Gotthard Base Tunnel on December 11, 2016, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has announced.
SBB is planning to hold an official opening ceremony in June 2016 before services start in December.
At 57 kilometres, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which will travel through the Alps between the northern portal of Erstfeld and Bodio in the south, will become the longest rail tunnel in the world once complete, stripping the title from Japan’s 53.85 kilometre Seikan Tunnel.
SBB has said that up to five freight services and two passenger trains will operate through the tunnel per hour in each direction. In November, contractor Transtec Gotthard completed the installation of 290 kilometres of slab track in the tunnel. Commissioning is now well underway, including a huge staff training programme and the switch over to ETCS Level 2.
Since last month, eight new ETR 610 train sets have been progressively brought into service on the route and from the end of 2019, 29 new Stadler-built trains will be introduced onto the north-south corridor.