FLP Stadler Tramlink (Photo: FLP)

SWITZERLAND: Plans for a 2·2 km cut-off tunnel which would provide metre-gauge operator Ferrovie Luganesi with a more direct route into Lugano were approved by the Federal Council on August 11.

Construction of the tunnel along with a 1·9 km surface branch to Manno are key elements of a programme to develop a tram-train network to improve connections between Lugano and the surrounding area by 2035. The overall cost is put at SFr500m, with the federal government to contribute SFr270m.

The tunnel would start at new platforms underneath Lugano main line station and run to Bioggio Molinazzo, where Ferrovie Luganesi services would join the existing Line S60 to Ponte Tresa on the Italian border or turn north onto the branch to Manno.

The existing railway alignment approaching Lugano via a circuitous route would be abandoned.

Meanwhile, on August 7 Ferrovie Luganesi put into passenger service the first of nine Tramlink tram-trains which are being supplied by Stadler. Four have now been delivered, with three ready for service, and all nine are expected to be in traffic by November.

The tram-train livery includes the ‘smile’ which forms a distinctive feature of the front ends of the operator’s current fleet of Be4/12 trainsets dating from 1978.