New Swiss mountain tunnel to open 2020

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MARC Rider

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Well, as they say, if you want to see German efficiency, go to Switzerland. :)

Think they'll ever do something like that in the US? If so, what would be the most likely route?
 
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Interesting speculation. We aren't a country of densely populated mountains like Europe, but perhaps the California High Speed trains. I could see it in the east through the mountains, say Nashville-Atlanta for example. But way in the future...
 

MARC Rider

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Interesting speculation. We aren't a country of densely populated mountains like Europe, but perhaps the California High Speed trains. I could see it in the east through the mountains, say Nashville-Atlanta for example. But way in the future...
I could see doing a base tunnel under the Sierra Nevada, which would allow them to think seriously about extending the Capital Corridor to Reno. It would also increase freight capacity and make running trains across the mountains cheaper. No grades, no curves.

The Appalachians are such a wide mountain range that you'd need a series of tunnels, cuts, viaducts, etc to straighten and flatten the route, but it would be nice to do that between DC and Pittsburgh. and between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. If cost were truly no object, they could reroute the Pennslyvania Main Line between Lewistown and Tyrone, by building a humongous tunnel under the 7 mountains and Bald Eagle Mountain with a 150 foot deep underground station in State College. But they would have to electrify the whole route to make that practical. Also, the karst geology in the Nittany Valley might make a tunnel well below the eater table unfeasible. Not to mention the fact that this is all fantasy anyway, because nobody is going to spend that kind of money.
 

jis

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Here is an article with photos and diagrams illistrating the "base tunnel" construction design building the railroad tracks from "valley to valley under the mountains".

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095809918303187
This completes the "base tunneling" of the entire Gotthard Line. This will enable Switzerland to ban Italy to Germany transiting trucks completely and carry them efficiently on rail flat cars across Switzerland instead. The biggest impetus for funding this in the national referendum was to get trucks off Swiss roads, i.e. for more efficient and environmentally friendly handling of transit freight. The rest comes as incidental bonus.

Fortunately they are keeping the Classic Line in service for local passenger trains, so the spectacular scenery will still be accessible from trains. Unfortunately the Italy (Milano) to Zurich/Basel and on to Germany express trains will be routed through the base tunnels and riders will no longer be able to see most of the spectacular scenery, nor traverse the Airolo Loops and such. On the plus side their running times in the schedules will be significantly shorter than before.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Get the trucks off those roads is well worth the funds. Hope they enforce it.

As for the Express Train going by tunnel, that will be interesting to see how the ridership works out.
 

jis

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Get the trucks off those roads is well worth the funds. Hope they enforce it.

As for the Express Train going by tunnel, that will be interesting to see how the ridership works out.
Many of them traverse that portion at night anyway. In any case irrespective of what time of day they run at, unlike Amtrak LD service, those trains are fast, and getting faster and most people just use those trains to get from point A to point B, not for scenery. They run full during travel season now and will continue to do so. Most will be happy with the saved time. There will still be local trains around for sightseeing.
 
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cirdan

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This completes the "base tunneling" of the entire Gotthard Line. This will enable Switzerland to ban Italy to Germany transiting trucks completely and carry them efficiently on rail flat cars across Switzerland instead. The biggest impetus for funding this in the national referendum was to get trucks off Swiss roads, i.e. for more efficient and environmentally friendly handling of transit freight. The rest comes as incidental bonus.
Technically there is still the Zimmerberg base tunnel. This is the bit that will eventually connect the new line to Zurich. Or more precisely a project for a new line between Zurich and Zug, which would be mostly in tunnel. The line was proposed as a portion of the Zurich to Milano high speed project and was to be realized together with the other two base tunnels. It was then later postponed to compensate for cost overruns on the more important Gotthard base tunnel. Actually the first phase was built, going from Zurich to Thalwil (where it reconnects to the old route), but the extension onwards to Zug was then postponed. However, the government has repeatedly announced that they are still pursuing the project. So expect to see it built some time.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Fortunately they are keeping the Classic Line in service for local passenger trains, so the spectacular scenery will still be accessible from trains.
After the latest coronavirus is done wrecking havoc I'll have to make a plan to see this (assuming I'm still kicking). Is there a thread where planning and/or riding these routes has been discussed previously?
 

jis

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After the latest coronavirus is done wrecking havoc I'll have to make a plan to see this (assuming I'm still kicking). Is there a thread where planning and/or riding these routes has been discussed previously?
I have not ridden through any of the new base tunnels either on the Loetschberg-Simplon route or the Gotthard route. But I have ridden the very scenic classic lines through the original Loetschberg and the original Gotthard tunnels on both routes many times. Both are quite spectacular.

Even before the new tunnels were built, it was better to travel by a local train on either route to actually enjoy the scenery. The (Eurocity) expresses just zipped along at remarkable speed around those numerous curves, what with the much higher cant deficiency (underbalance) permitted by UIC.
 
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cirdan

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Even before the new tunnels were built, it was better to travel by a local train on either route to actually enjoy the scenery. The (Eurocity) expresses just zipped along at remarkable speed around those numerous curves, what with the much higher cant deficiency (underbalance) permitted by UIC.
This absolutely.

The same can be said of many other lines. For example when doing the Bernina line I prefer the local train to the Bernina express. You are also much more exposed to local culture and goings on.
 
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