INTRO: Under a €1·35bn project to improve capacity on the Brenner axis by 2010, work has begun on a 40 km second route along the Lower Inn valley in Austria

BYLINE: Martin Pellizzari

Brenner Eisenbahn GmbH

SPEEDING the flow of international traffic across the Alps is one of the greatest challenges facing European infrastructure policy. Recent decades have produced a high-quality road network, and the priority is now to integrate road and rail transport to handle the increasing traffic in a sustainable way.

As the lowest pass across the Alps, the Brenner route has an important role in these plans, and in the 1980s experts were asked to consider how the rail link between München and Verona could be improved. The first study for a Brenner base tunnel showed clearly that the bottleneck on the rail corridor was not at the pass itself, but lay further north, between Innsbruck and the important junction at W