SWITZERLAND: A contract covering the supply of railway systems for the Gotthard base tunnel was signed in Luzern on April 29 by AlpTransit Gotthard and the Transtec Gotthard consortium of Swiss and European suppliers, paving the way for the start of electrical and mechanical installation next year. Transtec brings together Atel Installationstechnik AG, Alcatel Lucent Switzerland and Thales Rail Signalling Solutions, as well as Alpine-bau GmbH and Balfour Beatty Rail GmbH.

The last major contract to be awarded for work on the base tunnel is valued at approximately SFr1·7bn (€1bn). It covers project planning as well as supply and installation of the railway technical equipment in the two single-track bores of the 57 km base tunnel, which has, together with above-ground approach tracks at both ends totalling approximately 11 km and the connections to the existing railway.

Following approval of the agreement by the Ministry of Transport, a construction base is to be established at Biasca. Installation work is expected to begin at the southern portal during the second half of 2009, with work starting at the north portal near Erstfeld at the end of 2011.