Bringing Emergency and Incident Response to Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel

Last week marked the official opening of Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel. After two decades of construction, the 57km (35-mile) twin-bore Gotthard base tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe.

Two fully redundant Tunnel Control Systems have been implemented by Siemens Switzerland in two separate Tunnel Control Centers at the north and south portals, respectively, to control and monitor all the tunnel’s electrical systems. As a subcontractor to Siemens Switzerland, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure’s Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch (I/CAD) was recently implemented as the Gotthard Base Tunnel’s two Tunnel Control Systems incident management and emergency response system.

An essential part of these Tunnel Control Systems is emergency handling in terms of monitoring emergency procedures and informing the operator in case procedures are not initiated automatically and correctly. Using four operational seats of Hexagon’s I/CAD, the Emergency Response System is an integrated element of the Tunnel Control Systems.

For trains stuck in the tunnels, fires in the tunnels, incidents on track construction sites, or extreme weather events affecting the tunnel’s infrastructure, I/CAD will serve as the key system to manage such events. In case of an incident, Hexagon’s dispatching system supports operating personnel with checklists, situation plans, and instructions to schedule and mobilize intervention teams. The system also provides a convenient way to monitor intervention areas within the tunnel.

When asked about our involvement with the Gotthard Base Tunnel, Maximilian Weber, senior vice president, EMEA, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure said, “Gotthard Base Tunnel is a project of the century in respect to engineering, transportation and security. We are proud that our software can help to maintain safe and efficient operations in this key rail link.”

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