AUGUST 12 saw the formal start of work on a 7·7 km tunnel between Terfens and Vomp in Austria, which will carry the new Lower Inn Valley line between Innsbruck and Wels. Being built by Brenner Eisenbahn GmbH on behalf of the Austrian, German and Italian governments, the 40 km double-track line is expected to cost €1·35bn. It will relieve the existing route shared by east-west traffic and the north-south Brenner corridor. Around 32 km of the new line will run in tunnel.

The Terfens tunnel is the first of the seven main civil engineering contracts to be awarded since the ceremonial start of work in October 2002 (RG 11.02 p669). Contractors Strabag, Züblin and Hochtief are due to complete the works in 41 months at a total cost of €140m.

Around 4·3 km will be dug through loose ground and 3·3 km in solid rock; the remaining 100m will be cut and cover. Cross-section of the double-track bore is between 111 and 125 m2, except for a 2270m length where provision is being made for the laying of a third track at some point in the future. n