maximum train speed
Building beneath the Swiss Alps
In 2016, the idea for the Gotthard Base Tunnel was implemented. An extraordinary step because the original idea dates back to the 1960s. Millions of cubic metres of rock were excavated from under the Swiss Alps using tunnel boring machines. These enormous machines are also known as ‘giant moles’ and made it possible to build the North Sea and the Mediterranean train connection. The Gotthard Base Tunnel construction project enables passenger trains to reach top speeds of around 250 kilometres per hour. As a result, the train journey from Zurich to Milan was shortened by one hour to two hours and 40 minutes.
Building project of the century
The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a record-breaking project in Europe and beyond. With a length of 57 kilometres, it has overtaken the Japanese Seikantunnel to become the longest traffic tunnel in the world. The Gotthard Base Tunnel reaches a depth of 2,300 metres, earning another title—the deepest traffic tunnel in the world. The tunnel was specifically designed to have no tight bends and only small height differences, allowing it to have an incredibly flat and tight course.
Beneficial to the economy and the environment
Since the tunnel opened, approximately 260 freight trains race through it every day. This freight traffic is a mode of transport that contributes to the Swiss national economy and the environment. The construction of the tunnel was environmentally friendly, and the Alps’ protection was taken into consideration every step of the way. Experts have calculated that exhaust emissions from road transport have considerably reduced since the opening of this new tunnel.
Since 2021, Philipp has been putting his ambition and dedication to work on the complex tunnel and railway projects as CEO of Heitkamp Construction Swiss GmbH. The technical knowledge and competence allow the team to develop innovative and systematic solutions that deliver on the changing needs of the construction business.