An extensive period of testing has started through the newly completed Gotthard Base Tunnel - the world's longest railway tunnel. Testing began on October 1 following approval from the Swiss Federal Office of Transport and will continue until the end of May next year. By the time the teams are done, they will have completed 5,000 different tests, operating trains through the tunnel at 275 km/h. Testing will initially focus on signalling and telecommunications before shifting to the interface between the track, train and overhead line. Preparing the tunnel for its official opening in June 2016 is a colossal undertaking, requiring a team of 160 drivers and engineers. AlpTransit has rented locomotives and crews from SBB to for the commissioning phase. In addition, it has leased Deutsche Bahn's ICE-S test train. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is due to open in June 1, 2016, but it won't see a commercial service running through it until December.
The facility will become TMH's only production site in Africa. It will be used to assemble, maintain and refurbish diesel and electric locomotives as well as coaches for South Africa and the rest of the continent.