Gotthard Railway

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Immensee – Chiasso
A freight train at Gurtnellen
A freight train at Gurtnellen
Gotthard railway line
Timetable field : 600, 631
Route length: Immensee – Chiasso (mountain route): 206 km
Immensee – Chiasso (base tunnel): 173 km
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Power system : 15 kV 16.7 Hz  ~
Maximum slope : 28 
Minimum radius : 300 m
SBB from Lucerne S 3 and from RotkreuzIcon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
0.00 Immensee 460  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon ÜST.svg
4.29 Brunnmatt 465  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Rindelfluhtunnel (200 m)
ARB by Rigi Kulm , formerly by Arth
Arth- Goldau Bahnhofplatz
SBB from Zug S 2
8.87 Arth-Goldau (high and wedge station) 510  m above sea level M.
Connecting track to the ARB
Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg  SOB route to Biberbrugg
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
13.92 Stones 468  m above sea level M.
17.01 Schwyz former SStB to Schwyz 455  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon hKRZWae.svg
Muota bridge (54 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon DST.svg
Fountain Stegstuden (planned)
BSicon .svgBSicon eKRZo.svg
former Mühlibähnli to Unterschönenbuch
BSicon uexSTR + l.svgBSicon emKRZu.svg
former SStB from Schwyz to Brunnen See
BSicon uexBHF.svgBSicon BHF.svg
20.52 Fountain S 3Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 439  m above sea level M.
BSicon uexSTRr.svgBSicon hSTRae.svg
Klosterbach Bridge Brunnen (83 m)
former route Brunnen 1882–1948 Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Morschach tunnel (558 m / 1372 m)
Gütschtunnel Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
former BrMB from Brunnen to Axenstein
Wasiwand tunnel
former route Brunnen 1882–1948
Hochfluhtunnel (584 m)
Franziskustunnel (193 m)
Front tunnel (2793 m)
Ölberg Tunnel (1987 m)
(Merging of the tracks)
BSicon .svgBSicon STR + GRZq.svg
26.00 Canton border Schwyz - Uri 440  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
26.40 Sisikon 446  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon BS2 + l.svgBSicon BS2 + r.svg
(Division of the tracks)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svgBSicon tSTRa.svg
Supporting corner tunnel (988 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon tSTR.svg
Stutzck-Axenberg tunnel (3375 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon BRÜCKE2.svgBSicon tSTR.svg
Gumpischbach Bridge (48 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svgBSicon tSTR.svg
Tellsplatte tunnel (171 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svgBSicon tSTR.svg
Axenberg Tunnel (1128 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svgBSicon tSTRe.svg
Sulzeck tunnel (128 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Old / New Gruonbach Gallery (100 m / 98 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon BS2l.svgBSicon BS2r.svg
(Merging of the tracks)
BSicon .svgBSicon ÜST.svg
30.87 Gruonbach Gallery 440  m above sea level M.
32.30 Flüelen Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 436  m above sea level M.
AF to Altdorf
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
35.25 Altdorf 447  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon ÜST.svg
38.54 reed 460  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon BST.svg
38.66 Rynacht 456  m above sea level M.
Gotthard Base Tunnel (57 km) to Bodio
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
41.58 Erstfeld S 2 472  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon eABZgr.svg
former Amsteg installation site of the GBT
BSicon .svgBSicon eHST.svg
46.55 Amsteg - Silenen passenger traffic canceled 544  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Windgallentunnel (183 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon hSTRae.svg
Chärstelenbach Bridge (127 m)Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Bristent Tunnel (709 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon hKRZWae.svg
Intschireuss Bridge (121 m)Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Intschi tunnel (88 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon eHST.svg
50.00 Intschi 640  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon ÜST.svg
50.53 Zgraggen 643  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon hSTRae.svg
Zgraggental Bridge (89 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Zgraggentunnel (68 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Width tunnel (57 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Meitschlingentunnel (74 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon hSTRae.svg
Säckenbrücke (120 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Mörschlisbach Gallery (25 m)
54.40 Gurtnellen passenger traffic canceled Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 738  m above sea level M.
Häggeribach tunnel (92 m)
Muhrentunnel (53 m)
Pfaffensprungtunnel (roundabout tunnel, 1476 m)
58.42 Pfaffensprung 834  m above sea level M.
Mill tunnel (88 m)
Leggistein tunnel (spiral tunnel, 1090 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Beam hole tunnel (40 m)
Upper Meienreuss Bridge (54 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Middle / Lower Meienreuss Bridge (122/60 m)
Maienkreuz tunnel (78 m)
Kirchberg Tunnel (384 m)
Upper / Middle Entigtal Gallery (102/185 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
62.76 Wassen passenger traffic canceled Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 928  m above sea level M.
Kellerbach Bridge (61 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
66.62 Eggwald 1019  m above sea level M.
Rohrbach Bridge (61 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Rohrbach tunnel (230 m)
Upper / Lower Wattinger Bridge (45/40 m, over Reuss )
Wattingertunnel (spiral tunnel 1084 m)
Naxberg tunnel (1570 m)
Göschenerreuss bridge (53 m)Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
70.45 Göschenen (formerly car loading ) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 1106  m above sea level M.
Tunnel portal Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Schöllenenbahn to Andermatt
BSicon tSTRl.svgBSicon tABZg + r.svg
Gotthard tunnel (15,003 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon tÜST.svg
75.37 Gotthard Nord since 1962 1133  m above sea level M.
78.72 Gotthard 1946–1962, apex 1151  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon tSTR + GRZq.svg
80.89 Cantonal border between Uri and Ticino
BSicon .svgBSicon tÜST.svg
81.32 Gottardo Sud since 1962 1150  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon tSTRe.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
86.20 Airolo (formerly car loading) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 1142  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Dragonata tunnel (aqueduct, 9 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon hKRZWae.svg
Stalvedro Bridge (83 m, over Ticino )Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Stalvedro Tunnel (194 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon ÜST.svg
89.66 Sordo 1063  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
93.04 Ambri - Piotta Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 989  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon eHST.svg
97.84 Rodi-Fiesso passenger traffic canceled 942  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Dazio tunnel (354 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Freggiotunnel (roundabout tunnel, 1568 m)
Artoito tunnel (74 m)
Monte Piottino tunnel (147 m)
BSicon ÜST.svgBSicon .svg
101.93 Pardorea 851  m above sea level M.
BSicon tSTRa.svgBSicon .svg
Pardore tunnel (286 m)
Prato tunnel (roundabout tunnel, 1567 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
(Division of the tracks)
Broscerina tunnel (43 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
(Merging of the tracks)
BSicon .svgBSicon hKRZWae.svg
Polmengo Bridge (103 m, over Ticino )Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Polmengo Tunnel (304 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
106.00 Faido Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 755  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon ÜST.svg
109.38 Chiggiogna 674  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
112.60 Lavorgo 615  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon tSTRa.svg
Lumen tunnel (466 m)
Pianotondo tunnel (roundabout tunnel, 1509 m)
Pianotondo Bridge (111 m)
Toumiquettunnel (72 m)
117.40 Pianotondo Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Travitunnel (roundabout tunnel, 1547 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
121.12 Giornico 420  m above sea level M.
121.70 Giornico 410  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon hKRZWae.svg
Lower Ticino bridge (120 m)Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon ABZg + r.svg
ATG siding ( Gotthard Base Tunnel construction site )
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
125.50 Bodio 331  m above sea level M.
Gotthard Base Tunnel (57 km) from Erstfeld
BSicon BST.svgBSicon STR.svg
Pozzo Negro
BSicon STR.svgBSicon eHST.svg
128.90 Pollegio 305  m above sea level M.
129.70 Pasquerio siding 298  m above sea level M.
New Gotthard-Süd line from Giustizia
Brenno bridge (107/68 m)
former BA from Acquarossa
131.80 Biasca S 10 293  m above sea level M.
Crocetto tunnel (275 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Giustiziatunnel (64 m)
129.70 New Gotthard-Süd line from Pozzo Negro
BSicon .svgBSicon ÜST.svg
135.21 Giustizia 272  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon eHST.svg
137.96 Osogna - Cresciano passenger traffic canceled 264  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon eHST.svg
143.47 Claro passenger traffic canceled 250  m above sea level M.
SEFT from Cama
147.27 Castione-Arbedo S 20 241  m above sea level M.
Moesa bridge (85 m)
BSicon exSTR.svgBSicon DST.svg
149.75 Bellinzona S. Paolo (marshalling yard) 241  m above sea level M.
BSicon exKBHFe.svgBSicon BHF.svg
150.90 Bellinzona S 20 S 30 S 50Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 241  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Montebello tunnel (290 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Dragonata tunnel (30 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
154.04 Giubiasco 230  m above sea level M.
future Ceneri base tunnel (15'288 / 15'465 m)
158.01 Vigana to Locarno / - Luino S 20 S 30 314  m above sea level M.
Costa tunnel (68 m)
(Division of the tracks)
Piantorino Bridge (97/63 m)
Precassino tunnel (402 m)
Precassino-Maggiagra (713 m)
Maggiagratunnel (102 m)
(Merging of the tracks)
Robasacco (59 m)
161.35 Al motto 353  m above sea level M.
(Division of the tracks)
Monte Ceneri tunnel (1692/1675 m)
(Merging of the tracks)
165.21 Rivera - Bironico 472  m above sea level M.
168.86 Mezzovico 416  m above sea level M.
170.03 Mezzovico 399  m above sea level M.
Molinerotunnel (75 m)
171.27 Mezzovico - Sigirino 378  m above sea level M.
173.99 Tavern Torricella 335  m above sea level M.
Freight route to Lugano Vedeggio (since 1977)
A2 Vedeggio Bridge (134 m)
178.54 Lugano- Vedeggio (freight yard) 291  m above sea level M.
176.10 Lamone - Cadempino 319  m above sea level M.
177.85 Lamons 319  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon eBST.svg
178.02 Vezia 323  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
Massage tunnel (943/924 m)
BSicon STR + l.svgBSicon STRr + xl.svg
formerly LT from Tesserete , LCD from Dino
180.40 Lugano 335  m above sea level M.
Funicular of TPL to Lugano city center
BSicon tSTR + 1u.svgBSicon STR + 4.svg
FLP to Ponte Tresa S 60
BSicon .svgBSicon hSTRae.svg
Brentino Bridge (69 m)
MS from San Salvatore
182.80 Lugano- Paradiso 303  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Paradiso (757 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL2.svg
San Martino tunnel (53 m) Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon ABZg + l.svg
186.16 Siding 278  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
187.20 Melide 274  m above sea level M.
Melide dam through Lake Lugano Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg
Melide Bridge (81 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon hSTRae.svg
Bisson Bridge (181 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon TUNNEL1.svg
Maroggia tunnel (569 m)
BSicon .svgBSicon BHF.svg
191.00 Maroggia - Melano 280  m above sea level M.
Molino tunnel (10 m)
194.60 Capolago - Riva San Vitale 274  m above sea level M.
Connection to MG after Generoso Vetta
formerly TEM from Riva San Vitale to Chiasso
198.70 Mendrisio 328  m above sea level M.
S 40 S 50 according to Stabio
Coldrerio Tunnel (96 m)
203.04 Balerna bifurcazione 274  m above sea level M.
Freight route to Chiasso SM (since 1965)
203.53 Balerna 270  m above sea level M.
Balerna Tunnel (616 m)
Chiasso SM
205.32 Chiasso SM (marshalling yard) 244  m above sea level M.
Chiasso S 10 238  m above sea level M.
50.52 State border between Switzerland and Italy 237  m above sea level M.
BSicon .svgBSicon ABZgr.svg
to Como RFI route to Como – Milan S 40


The Gotthard Railway is the 206 km long Immensee – Chiasso line , which was completed in 1882 by the Gotthard Railway Company and operated by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) since 1909 and is part of the north – south connections Basel - Lucerne - Milan and ZurichMilan . The core of the original route is the Erstfeld - Biasca mountain railway ascending through the Alpine valleys with the Gotthard tunnel , which is a 15-kilometer-long summit tunnel that leads under the Gotthard massif . Since December 2016, European north-south traffic has been routed through the Gotthard Base Tunnel , which, as a flat railway , only has gradients below 7 per mille. The mountain railway with the stations Göschenen and Airolo will be retained as an alternative route, which will also serve regional development and tourist purposes.


Decades of discussions about the route and the financing of such a project preceded the construction of an Alpine railway in Switzerland. The Zurich politician and entrepreneur Alfred Escher played a key role in establishing the Gotthard line. The option of building long incline ramps in the Reuss valley and in the Leventina spoke in favor of the Gotthard variant , which in the middle of the alpine ridge with a relatively short penetration at 1151  m above sea level. M. could be connected by the Gotthard massif . The tunnel itself lies under the Pizzo Centrale (2999 meters). When it opened in 1882, the Gotthard summit tunnel was the longest tunnel in the world with a length of 15 kilometers; this place was taken in 1906 by the almost 20 kilometer long Simplon Tunnel .

The mountain section of the Gotthard Railway is famous for the artificial lengthening of the ramps on both sides by means of many loops and spiral tunnels , which allowed the early steam locomotives to maintain an incline.

Profile of the Gotthard Railway with branch lines

Until the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the Gotthard route was the shortest connection between the rail networks in north-western Europe and Italy. A large part of the goods and passenger traffic between the large economic areas on both sides of the Alps runs along this traffic axis. It is one of the most important continental freight corridors . In 1964, for example, with more than ten million tons of goods and five million people, more than half of this freight traffic was handled by the Gotthard Railway.

The steady increase in freight traffic not only led to the Gotthard Railway and other railway lines being used to capacity, but also to overloading the roads in the Alpine region with heavy traffic. The partner states want to counter this problem together with Switzerland by means of more efficient railway lines and an even stronger shift of heavy traffic to the railways.

The Gotthard railway line was originally designed for steam operation. The mountain route was electrified from 1916. The railway's own hydropower plants Ritom and Amsteg were built to provide electricity . In addition to an operation that was independent of coal deliveries from abroad, this enabled an increase in output, because now heavier and faster trains could use the route. The steadily increasing volume of goods and passenger traffic demanded the use of the most modern rail technology available. This included, in particular, the shortening of the train sequence and the transportation of longer trains with higher axle loads. The original route of the Gotthard Railway was not changed until the Gotthard Base Tunnel opened in 2016 . The Gotthard Base Tunnel, which is around 57 kilometers long, was fully commissioned in December 2016, while the Ceneri Base Tunnel is still being built.

The mountain route of the Gotthard Railway is underpassed by a base tunnel in order to be able to cope better with the transport volume. A flat railway route will be realized with the two new base tunnels. This has been put into operation in several stages on several sections since 2016 as a new route on the north-south axis - the Gotthard axis of the European-Swiss Alpine transit project. The old route will continue to be used as a reserve route and to develop the mountain region.


Financing and establishment of the operating company

The construction costs of the route network of the future Gotthard Railway Company were estimated at 187 million francs in 1869. The largest part (54.55%) of the funds had to be raised by the international capital market, Italy subsidized 24.05%, Germany and Switzerland 10.7% each. A finance consortium led by German banks was set up to raise the 102 million francs on the capital market. It consisted of a German, Italian and Swiss group, each of which had to raise CHF 34 million.

In 1871 the Gotthard Railway Company was founded to build and operate the railway. The president of the society was the Swiss Alfred Escher and Joseph Zingg was vice-president.

After cost overruns during the construction of the Ticino access lines, the Gotthard Railway Company slipped into a financial crisis, so that additional financing of 40 million francs was necessary. With the State Treaty of 1878, Italy and Germany decided to pay CHF 10 million each, Switzerland CHF 8 million. The remaining amount had to be paid by private individuals.



Important data on the progress in the construction of the Gotthard Railway after the formation of the Gotthard Railway Company:

date event
Dec 6, 1871 Constitution of the Gotthard Railway Company
Fall 1872 Start of work on the Gotthard tunnel
Dec 6, 1874 Biasca – Bellinzona and Lugano – Chiasso in operation
Feb. 29, 1880 Breach of the Gotthard tunnel
Jan. 1, 1882 Provisional operation Göschenen – Airolo
Apr 10, 1882 Bellinzona – Lugano (Monte Ceneri) in operation
Jun 1, 1882 Immensee – Chiasso in full operation


Chärstelenbach bridge with fish belly girders in Amsteg
Intschireuss bridge with fish belly reinforcement at Intschi
Lower Ticino bridge near Giornico with original truss beam construction

The name of the politician Alfred Escher from Zurich is closely associated with the construction of the Gotthard Railway. After he had originally supported the Lukmanierbahn's rival project, he proved to be the driving force behind the Gotthardbahn until its financial crisis in the years 1876 to 1879. In mid-1879 he became president and member of the three-person management (Escher, Zingg, Weber) of the Gotthardbahn- Society back. The rescue, refinancing, restructuring, commissioning and operation of the international Gotthardbahn company until his death in 1891 was largely shaped by the subsequent President Joseph Zingg (previous Vice President and member of the management). Since 1863, Zingg was involved in a leading role in the committee of the “Association of Swiss Cantons and Railway Companies for Striving for the Gotthard Railway”, in which Escher also had a seat. The committee unanimously represented the interests of a majority of later 15 cantons and the companies of the Swiss Central Railway (SCB) and Nordostbahn (NOB) on a north-south axis through the central Alps instead of alternative connections through the Alps in east and west Switzerland.

Construction management

The Gotthard Railway's first senior construction manager was Robert Gerwig , who had already contributed to the report on the Gotthard Railway in the early 1960s and participated in the international negotiations as Baden's representative. Due to huge cost overruns, he only had to step back in 1875 after completion of the valley sections in Ticino.

His successor Wilhelm Konrad Hellwag , together with his deputy Eduard Gerlich and their team, developed the final route of the mountain route, whereby only the double loop at Wassen was taken over. Further valley steps were overcome with lifting spiral tunnels, which made it possible to lead the route largely along the valley floor outside the steps. Hellwag made an estimate and compared the construction costs again using larger-scale maps, thereby indicating an enormous capital shortfall in financing at an early stage. Thereupon he was ostracized by the management of the Gotthard Railway even before the ramps were attacked and forced to resign from his post in 1878.

As deputy chief engineer, Gerlich u. a. developed the standard components of the Gotthard Railway, according to which the individual drafts were worked out and ensured continuity during the transition period. After the absolutely necessary capital increase by the contracting states of the Gotthard Railway by 28 million francs during the Gotthard Conference in 1877, Gustave Bridel took over the construction management in 1879 and completed the route according to the plans.

Start of operations

After the Semmering Railway (1854), the Brennerbahn (1867) and the Mont-Cenis-Bahn (1871), the Gotthard Railway was the fourth, but also the most daring, Alpine crossing. Construction began in 1872 after lengthy discussions about the correct route and a state treaty ( Gotthard Treaty of 1871 ) that was finally signed by the Gotthard Railway in 1869 with the Kingdom of Italy and in 1871 with the German Empire . Italy contributed 55 million, Germany 30 million francs to the capital of the private Gotthard railway company.

As early as 1874, the Ticino valley routes Biasca - Giubiasco - Locarno and Lugano - Chiasso were opened.

From May 22nd to May 25th 1882 the inauguration ceremonies took place in Lucerne and Milan. At that time, the 15,003 meter long Gotthard summit tunnel was the longest railway tunnel in the world; it was only surpassed by the Simplon tunnel in 1906 .

On June 1, 1882, the Gotthard Railway went into operation on schedule. The access routes to the Gotthard railway lines Lucerne – Immensee and Thalwil – Arth-Goldau were only opened in 1897, which is why the Gotthard railway's trains initially ran from Lucerne via Rotkreuz to Immensee. The connection from Zurich was arranged in Rotkreuz, with trains from Zurich running over the railway line through the Säuliamt . Express trains did not serve Zug train station , but instead ran directly to Rotkreuz via the swamp connecting curve.

The northern access of the Gotthard Railway thus led via the railway lines of three companies: via the Basel – Olten – Lucerne route of the Swiss Central Railway (SCB), then via the Lucerne – Zug – Zurich route of the Zurich – Zug – Lucerne Railway (ZZL) to Rotkreuz and from there via the Aargauische Südbahn to Immensee. The Aargauische Südbahn was a joint venture between SCB and NOB, which connected the Brugg - Waldshut area to the Gotthard Railway, and ZZL was a subsidiary of NOB.

Soon after the line was opened, the Swiss Confederation had several military fortifications built to protect it in the event of war , including an artificially triggered rockfall that was supposed to spill the south exit of the tunnel at Airolo. Various forts to protect the route were built above Airolo ( Forte Airolo ) and near Biasca.

The monument created by Vincenzo Vela for the victims of the Gotthard tunnel construction in Airolo

In 1909 the Gotthard Railway Company and all its facilities were taken over by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), which had been created in 1902 through the nationalization of other large railway companies. In the Gotthard Treaty between Switzerland and Germany and Italy, which is necessary (and still valid today) , the latter obtained extensive concessions from Switzerland in return for agreeing to the nationalization of the railway company, namely a most-favored nation clause on the entire Swiss network and tariff concessions . Rallies took place across the country against these concessions, which many referred to as unreasonable and as a protectorate , and 116,000 voters signed a petition to reject these clauses. Nevertheless, the Federal Assembly approved the State Treaty in April 1913; However, the episode then gave the impetus for the establishment of the optional State Treaty referendum in 1921.


Gotthard steam locomotive 2969 Alfred Escher (2018)
Ritom power plant
Göschenen substation in 1921
Giornico substation in 1920

The electrification of the Gotthard tunnel could have been initiated as early as 1882 , as the correspondence between the then chief engineer Gustave Bridel and the Siemens & Halske company shows. It didn't come to that. The electrification of the route was decided on February 16, 1916 by the SBB Board of Directors, on the one hand to become independent of foreign coal deliveries and on the other hand to increase the efficiency of the mountain route.

For the energy supply, the SBB built the Ritom power plant in 1920 and the Amsteg power plant in 1922 , later a 40% stake in the Göschenen power plant was added. Since October 18, 1920, the trains between Erstfeld and Ambri-Piotta have been running with electric traction, and from December 12, 1920 to Biasca. For the time being, it was only operated with 7.5 kilovolt overhead line voltage in order to avoid flashovers on the insulators , which were contaminated with soot by the steam locomotives that were still running on the line. It was not until May 29, 1921 that the overhead contact line voltage was raised to 15 kilovolts. The electrification was completed on May 28, 1922. The trains now ran electrically from Lucerne to Chiasso.

At the beginning there were not enough electric locomotives available for the new operating mode , so that the steam locomotives of the trains coming from the Central Plateau remained pre-tensioned and only electrical machines were additionally used as pre-tensioning locomotives for the ascent and for the journey through the Gotthard tunnel. Later, the passenger trains were powered by electricity first, followed by freight trains. For the Gotthard Railway, the SBB procured various more powerful electric locomotives , above all the Ae 3/6 and the Ce 6/8 II , known by the nickname Crocodile.

The line was initially supplied with power from substations in Steinen , Amsteg, Göschenen, Ritom, Giornico, Giubiasco and Melide, which were connected to each other and to the power plants by a 60 kilovolt traction power line.

In order to meet the increased power requirements, SBB put a rotating converter into operation in Giubiasco in 1964 , which generates traction current from the 50-Hertz national network and has an output of 25 megawatts. The building was built for two converters, but the second system was never installed. Instead, two static frequency converters with a capacity of 20 megawatts each were installed in 1994 , which were the world's largest systems of this type at the time.

From the 1970s, the voltage in the traction current transmission line, which connects the substations, was increased in sections from 60 kilovolts to 132 kilovolts and supplemented by a second line running in parallel. Mobile substations were set up in Flüelen, Lavorgo, Rivera and Balerna to support the contact line voltage .

In 1990 the Wassen substation was put into operation. During the renovation of the Wassens power station in the same year, one of the two 50-Hertz machine sets was replaced by a 16.7-Hertz traction current group. The power plant has been leased to Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke (CKW) since its inception , but on January 1, 2015, 90% of the property became the property of SBB.

The rail power supply had to be further expanded for the Gotthard Base Tunnel to start operating on schedule. The two new substations Faido and Pollegio were built and the Giubiasco substation expanded.

Security systems

In 1950, three automatic intermediate block locations that worked with axle counters were put into operation.

On the night of August 16, 2015, the ETCS Level 2 train protection system was put into operation on the 19-kilometer section between Brunnen and Erstfeld . On December 6, 2015, the Castione – Arbedo – Bodio section followed, one month late. On the Gotthard Railway - for the first time in Switzerland - ETCS according to SRS 2.3.0d will be used.

Commissioning of the base tunnel

Even before the official opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel on June 1, 2016, preparations were made for the commissioning of the new structure, which also had an impact on the existing Gotthard Railway facilities. The control and monitoring of the entire railway operation in Ticino, as well as from and to Arth-Goldau, was concentrated in the operations center south (BZ Süd) in Pollegio in April 2014 . The approximately 160 employees not only control and monitor the operation of passenger and freight traffic, but also monitor the safety systems and the traction current supply to the base tunnel. Passenger information in the event of disruptions is also provided by the operations center south.

In the first year of operation of the base tunnel, which ended on December 9, 2017, around 1000 passengers per day were counted on the north and south ramps, with strong seasonal fluctuations. 600 travelers per day drove through the apex tunnel, less than 20 people per train.

From the 2020 timetable change , the Swiss Southeast Railway (SOB) will be serving the Gotthard mountain route in long-distance transport in co-branding with the SBB. Are used Flirt 3 trains as in 2016 for the Pre-Alpine Express have been ordered. They are better suited for tourist traffic than SBB's rolling stock.

UNESCO World Heritage candidacy

The Gotthard mountain route was proposed as a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list back in 2014 . The Federal Council resisted because it did not want to commit itself at the time to secure the long-term existence and operation of the line. Again in 2016 the candidacy was postponed in favor of the Robert Maillart designed Salginatobel bridge and of beech forests in Ticino and Solothurn. Because the indicative list , on which the candidates for UNESCO World Heritage are listed, is only renewed every ten years by the Federal Council, reconsidering a candidacy before 2026 is unlikely.

Graphic timetable of the Gotthard Railway

Early rail operations

Graphic timetable of the Gotthard Railway in 1899

The Gotthard Railway's graphical timetable shows a wide variety of information about material and, above all, operational aspects of the Gotthard Railway in 1899, i.e. 17 years after the Gotthard Tunnel opened and the Gotthard Railway was completed. The legend for the symbols of the timetable and the labeling of the individual columns is at the top of the timetable. From left to right, the timetable informs us about the height of the stations above sea level, the length profile, the signal systems, the tunnels and their length, the greatest gradient and the greatest incline when traveling south on the individual route sections, the kilometerage of the railway, the used telegraphs and their network, the bells and their network, the line telephone, the block stations, the track layout of the station facilities, the station equipment, the total "usable" length of the remaining tracks, the longest alternative track, the station names, the distance from station to station, the distance from the starting point, the distance between the main stations and the arrival and departure times of the trains, the latter being shown in the form of a graphic timetable .

For example, you can see that the apex of the Gotthard tunnel is 1154.5 meters above sea level and that the tunnel is not a straight tube, but rather has a slope from its apex on both sides. The tunnel was built so that penetrating water can drain away. From Göschenen to the apex the track rises with 6 ‰ and from the apex to Airolo the tunnel has a gradient of 2 ‰. The tunnel length is given as 14,998 meters. The apex is at kilometer 80. It must be taken into account here that the kilometers of the old Gotthard Railway began at Immensee , as can be clearly seen on the graphic timetable .

To the right of the kilometer reading are the telegraphs and the chimes, which are described in the chapters The Gotthard Railway Writing Telegraph Network and The Gotthard Railway Bell System .

gatekeeper house at the Mondascia
bridge 46 ° 20′25.6 ″ N  008 ° 58′40.9 ″ E
Pianotondo viaduct and upper portal of the Pianotondo
spiral tunnel
46 ° 25'22 "N  008 ° 51'32" E

The track diagrams of the individual stations show that the Gotthard Railway consisted of two lanes from Flüelen to Giubiasco in 1899 . The historical picture on the right of the station keeper's house at the Mondasciabrücke shows the double-lane track and also the distant signal of the entry signal recorded on the timetable (at 132.5 kilometers) before Biasca in a northerly direction of travel.

The picture on the right shows the Pianotondoviadukt and the upper portal of the Pianotondo spiral tunnel with the trainman's house in front of it, it was taken at the time of the double-track steam operation, i.e. around the time the graphic timetable was valid. On the graphical timetable, two tracks leave the station in a southerly direction at Giubiasco station. One track is marked with Chiasso and the other with Luino / Locarno . From here the routes are single-track. The southern neighboring stations of Giubiasco, namely Rivera-Bironico and Cadenazzo are only single-track. Even today, for example, on the Ceneri line, every railway underpass clearly shows Camera Icon 2.pngthat the underpasses were built at two very different times. The Giubiasco-Al Sasso and Al Sasso-Rivera lines were expanded to double lanes in 1922 and 1934, respectively .

The graphic timetable is a two-dimensional representation of the train journeys. On the horizontal, the time from XII o'clock (twelve o'clock) midnight to XII o'clock midnight is shown. The stations from Zug and Lucerne to Chiasso , Locarno and Luino are shown vertically . A first non-“facultative” train leaves Bellinzona at 03:17 am. This is an express train with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class. Train number 55 is pulled by a steam locomotive. There is no stop at the stations Giubiasco, Rivera-Bironico and Taverne. The arrival time in Lugano is at 4:09 a.m. and the departure time there after a five-minute stay at 4:14 a.m. In 1899, the journey from Bellinzona to Lugano by express train was exactly 52 minutes. The Euro City today drive (2017) the same distance in 27 minutes. In the graphic you can see that no trains cross on the Giubiasco-Rivera Bironico line, because here in 1899, as mentioned above, it is a single-track line. The fact that Giubiasco-Rivera Bironico was a single-track line at that time can be seen on the one hand from the track image of the stations and on the other hand from the graphic timetable. On the two-lane route Osogna-Biasca there are always trains that cross on the route and thus on the graphic timetable. Another detail is that the trains of the Arth-Rigi-Bahn , now Rigi-Bahnen , are also entered on the Gotthard Railway timetable . The scale of the timetable is 15 millimeters per hour horizontally and 1.75 millimeters per kilometer vertically.

The Gotthard Railway's telegraph network

These writing telegraphs from G. Hasler were in use on the Gotthard

To coordinate the trains, the Gotthard Railway maintained a telegraph network, which connected all stations on the entire route from Lucerne to Chiasso , Locarno and Luino . The network of the write telegraph is shown on the left edge of the graphic timetable from 1899. The individual telegraphs are marked with a small black dot for each station. As the section of the timetable shows, the Biasca station had four telegraphs in operation at that time. One of these telegraphs was connected to all stations from Biasca to Bellinzona. What was touched (mored) on this telegraph could be read on all stations up to Bellinzona. A second telegraph was connected to all stations from Biasca to Göschenen . What was touched on the third telegraph could only be read on the stations Bellinzona, Faido , Airolo , Göschenen, Wassen and Erstfeld . The fourth telegraph was the long-range apparatus. What was touched on it could be read in Bellinzona, Airolo, Erstfeld , Goldau and Lucerne . The writing telegraphs with their Morse keys and the telegraph relays were manufactured by Hasler AG ( Bern ).

The bell of the Gotthard Railway

A chime (railway bell) of the SBB / Gotthard Railway at Casello (railway keeper's house) in S.Antonino
46 ° 09'38.8 "N  008 ° 58'27.3" E
Cable stand and bell north of the Göschenen station
46 ° 40′29.3 ″ N  008 ° 35′31.7 ″ E

The Gotthard Railway operated bells at the stations and on the route. The bells announced the approach of a train. The signal was triggered when a train left the neighboring station or the neighboring block . In some cases, bells were installed on the open route. These bells warned railroad workers of the approach of a train. In addition, each possessed Bahnwärterhaus and each gatekeeper -House a chime. For the Gotthard Railway, a train traveling south with three times three strokes and a train traveling north with two times two strokes were announced. The station officials, track keepers and railway workers had to pull the bell every day by hand. A weight was hoisted on a pulley in the bell . The electrical signal that triggered the signal actuated a relay in the bell , which triggered a mechanical process in which the hammer of the bell was pulled up with the force of the aforementioned weight. Every single bell on the Gotthard Railway is shown on the graphic timetable . As an example, in the section of the timetable, the bell for Casello 159 (station keeper's house 159) on the Monte Ceneri line between Giubiasco and Rivera-Bironico is shown. When a train left Giubiasco station heading south, eleven bells sounded on the eleven-kilometer-long line to Rivera-Bironico. The signal cables for the bells running along the tracks and the cables that connected the line telegraphs were spliced in cable stalls . A bell was often installed in these cable booths. The bells on the Gotthard Railway were taken out of service around 1980.

The track maintenance and the track safety

Casello 159 near Vigana on Monte Ceneri
46 ° 09′21.2 ″ N  008 ° 59′24.7 ″ E
Kerosene lamp of the Gotthard railway from F. flag & Cie Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svg 1896. At the lamp is also a sign of the Gotthard Railway Icon (80018) - The Noun Project.svginstalled

In the early years of the Gotthard Railway, railway tracks could not be checked with ultrasound. Rail breaks were therefore far more common at that time than today, when the tracks can be tested with ultrasonic test trains . In order to ensure the operation of the Gotthard Railway, the line manager had a special position. He had to check a section of a route assigned to him daily. The track attendant's task was to detect broken and deformed rails and to inform the railway foreman about the condition of the track section. But they also had to tighten loose screws, cut back bushes or put out small fires. When heavy freight trains were traveling downhill, the brake blocks sprayed sparks and very often the dry grass on the side of the tracks ignited. The station attendant was equipped with a red flag and lamp to stop trains in an emergency. The track keepers lived in keeper's houses along the Gotthard Railway . These are called Casello in Ticino. The track keepers checked the track section up to the neighboring keeper's house every day. The individual station keeper's houses were on the Gotthard route within a range of two to four kilometers apart and they were numbered on the entire route. In later years, around 1950, the tracks had to be monitored less intensively. A route such as Giubiasco-Rivera was then only marched off by a route attendant every other day. From this point on, many of the railway keeper's houses were empty or they were used as holiday homes or as residential buildings by private individuals. From 1995 the SBB began to sell the station guard's houses.


The Bellinzona accident on April 23, 1924 claimed 15 lives
  • On February 15, 1888, after heavy snowfalls over Wassen, an avalanche broke out that buried six railway workers. Five of them were killed.
  • On April 2, 1923, the transformer of a Ce 6/8 II exploded in Lavorgo . The driver 's assistant was killed and the locomotive driver injured.
  • On April 23, 1924, two express trains collided at Bellinzona station . One train had run over a signal indicating a stop. A gas-lit passenger car caught fire. 15 people died and many more were injured.
  • On October 22, 1926, a train wagon derailed in Castione-Arbedo because a switch had to be changed. Two people were killed and four were injured.
  • On July 29, 1941, in front of the Pianotondo spiral tunnel, a freight train that had escaped due to a brake failure derailed. Freight wagons caught on fire fell on a railroad keeper's house and a military barracks. Two railway officials and five soldiers died. The Ce 6/8 III locomotive thundered downhill and collided with a stationary freight train in Giornico .
  • January 11, 1945, the Gotthard railway line is bombed by the Allies near Chiasso. An SBB train driver dies.
  • February 9, 1945, the Swiss Federal Council forbids coal transit from Germany to Northern Italy and on February 27, all transit between Germany and Italy.
  • On May 27, 1950, a Ce 6/8 III crocodile locomotive collided head-on with an Ae 4/6 in Maroggia - Melano . The engine driver of the Ae 4/6 was killed.
  • On April 24, 1951, an express train bored into a ground avalanche in the Stalvedro Gorge near Ambrì . Passengers, train staff and employees of the dining car company were injured in the dented dining car, and the chef was killed.
  • On April 29, 1968, a derailed passenger train was hit by an oncoming car train in the Gotthard tunnel . Several passengers on the passenger train were injured.
  • On February 21, 2002, a freight train collided head-on with a locomotive in Chiasso. The two locomotive drivers of the freight train were killed and five railway employees were injured. The freight train entered the station at excessive speed because it ignored a signal.
  • On March 18, 2015, at the lane change point Brunnmatt between Immensee and Arth-Goldau, a track renewal train drove into a stationary ballast wagon composition. A shunting ladder was killed and a construction worker was injured with moderate seriousness.
  • On May 13, 2015, an SBB freight train crashed into the flank of a BLS freight train while exiting the Erstfeld station . There was great damage to property.
  • On February 5, 2019, two rail workers on the mountain route in front of the south portal of the Gotthard tunnel were caught by a TILO train while the route was being maintained . One died at the scene of the accident, the other was admitted to hospital seriously injured.

Route description

Subdivision of the Immensee – Chiasso railway line
designation Section Slope
Installation Remarks
coming from Basel , Lucerne and Zurich
Talbahn Nord is the first part to be realized Immensee -Erstfeld 10 10 June 1, 1882
North ramp Erstfeld - Göschenen 26.2 00 June 1, 1882
Gotthard tunnel Göschenen - Airolo 05.8 02 February 29, 1880 Puncture
January 1, 1882 provisional operation
June 1, 1882 full operation
South ramp Airolo – Biasca 12 27 June 1, 1882
Valley lift south Biasca - Chiasso 26th 21st in detail see below Valley and mountain routes
Valley railway south Sopraceneri Biasca - Bellinzona 00 08th December 6, 1874 upper valley section
Valley lift south Monte Ceneri Bellinzona - Lugano 26th 21st April 10, 1882 Mountain route with tunnel
Valley railway south Sottoceneri Lugano – Chiasso 15.3 16.7 December 6, 1874 lower valley section
Expansion of the Gotthard Railway to double track
Section Opening of
the double track
Immensee fountain 05/01/1904
Fountain - Sisikon 09/15/1947
Sisikon - Flüelen 03/01/1943
Flüelen - Altdorf January 15, 1896
Altdorf - Erstfeld December 6th, 1896
Erstfeld - Silenen Amsteg 04/09/1893
Silenen Amsteg - Gurtnellen 05/14/1893
Gurtnellen - Wassen 06/26/1892
Wassen - Göschenen 05/28/1893
Göschenen - Airolo 06/01/1883
Airolo - Ambri Piotta 09/02/1890
Ambri Piotta - Rodi Fiesso 07/31/1890
Rodi Fiesso - Faido 05/28/1890
Faido - Lavorgo 13.09.1891
Lavorgo - Giornico 03/27/1892
Giornico - Bodio 05/01/1892
Bodio - Biasca 05/15/1892
Biasca - Osogna 05/31/1896
Osognia - Bellinzona 04/19/1896
Bellinzona - Giubiasco 06/01/1883
Giubiasco - Al Sasso December 20, 1922
Al Sasso - Rivera Bironico 01/21/1934
Rivera Bironico - Mezzovico 03/27/1942
Mezzovico - Torricella tavern 05/02/1946
Torricella tavern - Lugano 04/30/1942
Lugano - Melide 10/10/1915
Melide - Bissone 04/02/1965
Bissone - Maroggia Melano 06/03/1956
Maroggia Melano - Mendrisio 10/01/1913
Mendrisio - Chiasso 05/01/1912

Since the main traffic has rolled through the base tunnel, the old mountain route is also called the Gotthard panorama route in tourist offers . On this route, SBB offers the Gotthard Panorama Express package , which complements the train journey with a boat trip on Lake Lucerne .


In the Schwyzer Voralpen , the access routes from the north meeting of Lucerne, train and Red Cross in Immensee , and from there leads the Gotthard Railway on Arth-Goldau , by the Reuss River Valley and over the Gotthard north ramp to the portal of the 15 km long Gotthard tunnel in Göschenen on 1106 meters above sea level. From the south portal of the tunnel in Airolo , the route leads over the south ramp to Biasca and on to Bellinzona, climbs up to the Ceneri tunnel and leads via Lugano to Chiasso on the border with Italy (towards Milan ).


The main route consists of the five sections valley railway (north), north ramp, Gotthard tunnel, south ramp and valley railway (south).

Northern valley railway: Immensee – Erstfeld

From Immensee the route leads along the southern shore of Lake Zug and the foot of the Rigi to the Arth-Goldau train station ( 510  m above sea level ). In 1896 an alternative station with a Bühl block was planned between these two stations , but this was not built. Only later did the Brunnmatt lane change at the originally intended place in front of the Rindelfluhtunnel.

At Arth-Goldau station, the Gotthard Railway joins the line from Zurich - Zug . The main line of the Südostbahn branches off in Arth-Goldau, which leads via Sattel and Biberbrugg to Rapperswil on Lake Zurich and with a branch to Einsiedeln . At the Arth-Goldau train station, the former Arth-Rigi-Bahn high station is located across the tracks of the Gotthard Railway .

From Arth-Goldau the railway line leads past the east side of the Lauerzersee to the canton capital Schwyz ( 455  m above sea level ). In Brunnen , she reaches Lake Uri , the southern part of Lake Lucerne . To the south of the Brunnen station, the tracks on the 12-kilometer separate route divide and lead through various tunnels and galleries on the Axenberg and over the Gruonbach . At Sisikon the route crosses the border from Canton Schwyz to Canton Uri and at Flüelen it reaches the beginning of Lake Lucerne on the Reuss plain.

The railway line leads via Altdorf - past the north portal of the Gotthard base tunnel - to Erstfeld ( 472  m above sea level ), where the Gotthard north ramp begins.

North ramp: Erstfeld – Göschenen

Pfaffensprung spiral tunnel and double loop with spiral tunnels near Wassen on the north ramp.
Railway keeper's house south of the Maienkreuz tunnel near Wassen (2018)
46 ° 42′28.30 ″ N  008 ° 35′45.63 ″ E

In Erstfeld there is a locomotive depot , where additional leader locomotives were attached to the trains if necessary - especially for heavy freight trains. In memory of the legendary Gotthard locomotives, a machine stood next to the depot as a technical monument for a long time - first it was the steam locomotive C 5/6 with the number 2965, from 1982 the crocodile locomotive of the Ce 6/8 II series with the number 14270 The last locomotive on display was removed in January 2013 because it stood in the way of the construction work for the conversion of the Erstfeld depot to the intervention site of the NEAT base tunnel.

After Erstfeld, the route has a gradient of up to 28 ‰. At Amsteg it leads over the Chärstelenbach bridge , and then it changes over the Intschireuss bridge - at 77 meters the highest bridge of the SBB - to the western side of the narrowing Reuss valley . Above Gurtnellen ( 738  m above sea level ) follows the 1,476 meter long Pfaffensprung spiral tunnel, followed by the double loop near Wassen ( 928  m above sea level ) with its two spiral tunnels, the Wattinger tunnel and the Leggistein tunnel. The tracks cross the Meienreuss three times, with the first bridge still below the village church of Wassen, which serves as a landmark, and the upper one about 200 meters higher. On the middle level with the Wassen station, the tracks run against the original direction of travel out of the valley to the north. The church standing prominently on a rocky promontory can be seen from all three levels. The journey through the loops was processed by the Swiss cabaret artist Emil Steinberger in the play s Chileli vo Wasse (Swiss German for “the little church of Wassen”).

After the 1570 meter long Naxberg tunnel, the last tunnel on the north ramp, the railway line reaches Göschenen station at 1106  m above sea level. M. , slightly higher than the Gotthard road tunnel on the A2 motorway . On the western side of the station building is the terminus of the narrow-gauge rack railway line of the Schöllenenbahn operated by the Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn (temporarily Furka-Oberalp-Bahn ), which leads to Andermatt .

Gotthard summit tunnel: Göschenen – Airolo

The 15,003 meter long double-lane Gotthard tunnel is single-tube. Inside the tunnel, after nine kilometers, the route reaches the highest point of the Gotthard Railway at 1151  m above sea level. M. At the same time, the route crosses the border with the canton of Ticino. The trains take eleven minutes to travel through the tunnel to Airolo ( 1141  m above sea level ). There used to be a service station with double track changes in the middle of the tunnel, which was replaced a long time ago by two double track changes in the third points. The bar of the old service station is still available as a bar for the distance runners.

South ramp: Airolo – Biasca

Freggio and Prato spiral tunnels on the south ramp.
The Biaschina loops (Pianotondo and Travi spiral tunnels) on the south ramp.

After exiting the Airolo train station , the route crosses the Ticino River and descends through the Leventina Valley . In Piotta you can see the 87.8% steep funicular Ritom , which leads up to the SBB's own Ritom reservoir . Behind Rodi-Fiesso ( 942  m above sea level ) the most impressive section of the south ramp begins. The valley narrows to the Piottino gorge , the gradient / height difference of which the railway line overcomes first on the left side of the valley in the Freggio spiral tunnel and then on the other side of the valley in the Prato spiral tunnel. So the line reaches the Faido train station, which is 200 meters below. After Lavorgo ( 615  m above sea level ), the route again passes two spiral tunnels, commonly known as Biaschina loops, and only reaches 391  m above sea level. M. lying Giornico. Through the widening Ticino valley, the route reaches Biasca ( 293  m above sea level ).

Southern valley railway: Biasca – Chiasso

The Gotthard Railway runs from Biasca along the Ticino to Bellinzona ( 241  m above sea level ), the capital of the Canton of Ticino. In the next station Giubiasco branches off the line leading to Locarno , from which in turn the line to the Italian Luino begins in Cadenazzo . The route from Bellinzona to Chiasso climbs to just below the top of the Monte Ceneri pass and offers views of the Ticino Alps and Lake Maggiore . The Ceneri is crossed by two parallel, single-lane tunnels, the south portals of which are at Bironico ( 472  m above sea level ). From there the route goes down through the Vedeggio Valley to Lugano ( 335  m above sea level ).

After the Lugano train station , the route leads along the west bank of Lake Lugano under Monte San Salvatore to Melide , known for the Swissminiatur , an open-air model system of the most important sights in Switzerland on a scale of 1:25. The Gotthard Railway changes sides of the lake over the 817-meter-long Melide dam and leads to Capolago and Mendrisio on the east bank . After a journey of more than 200 kilometers, the trains finally arrive in the border town of Chiasso ( 237  m above sea level ), the end point of the Gotthard Railway with the border station with Italy.

Pictures to describe the route

Rolling stock

See also section Rolling Stock in the Gotthard Railway Company article

Clearance profile

The route offers the clearance profile EBV 1 / P60 throughout, which makes the use of double-decker trains impossible, as these require the larger EBV 2. The profile is also too small to be able to transport trucks with a corner height of four meters with today's solutions for combined transport. Special, more complex roll material solutions such as Modalohr can circumvent these restrictions, but are not yet used.

Gotthard locomotives

Many types of locomotives were primarily built for the Gotthard Railway and were therefore also called Gotthard locomotives.

(all allocated to the Erstfeld depot)

The BLS Ae 6/8 was used as a rental locomotive at times . A converted E 42 of the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR), which was called Ae 477 ( Gurtnellen ), was also in use as a “one-off” . The universal locomotives Ae 6/6 11401–11520 ushered in a new era on the Gotthard. Between 1952 and 1966, the SBB acquired 120 locomotives of this series in order to handle all traffic on the Gotthard. 1952–1955 followed the prototype phase with the locomotives SBB Ae 6/6 11401 and 11402. Since then they have been named for the Gotthard cantons of Ticino and Uri . The series locomotives delivered from 1955 were all built according to a modular system. The main workshop in Bellinzona contained a large spare parts store so that the machines could be repaired within a very short time. They were later overtaken by the Re 4/4 II , Re 4/4 III and Re 6/6 series and largely withdrawn from the Gotthard.

To illustrate the performance development of the locomotives, the following comparison (taken from the list of locomotives and railcars of the SBB ): The steam locomotive A 3/5 delivered between 1900 and 1910 produced an output of 800 kilowatts, while today's Re 6/6 produced 7900 kilowatts brings the rails, so almost ten times.

passenger traffic

Long-distance transport

The Gotthard Railway was very important in international long-distance train traffic until the late 1990s. Direct trains and through coaches from Scandinavia, Benelux, France and various parts of Germany led via the Gotthard Railway to various destinations in northern or central Italy and the Adriatic, such as the Riviera Express .

In the post-war period, the line gained particular importance due to the sharp increase in traffic from northern and western Europe to the tourist centers of Italy. With the strong increase in guest worker traffic, special train services between Italy and Northern or Western Europe and Switzerland were added.

In addition to international night trains, the TEE Trans Europ Express trains with only the first car class, which were used on the Gotthard route from 1961, were particularly pronounced. The TEE “Gottardo” was a Trans-Europ-Express (TEE), for which the four-stream multiple units RAe TEE II were used. The successors to the TEE trains were the Eurocity trains (EC) with first and second carriage classes.

Until the Gotthard Base Tunnel opened on schedule in December 2016, there were hourly InterRegio connections between Basel-Lucerne / Zurich-Locarno. In addition, tilting trains also ran every hour on the Basel-Lucerne / Zurich-Lugano (-Milano Centrale) route. At the end of 2015 the tilting trains of the type ETR 470 , which are known to be prone to failure, were completely replaced by the ETR 610 series . Since the opening of the base tunnel, the InterRegio connections have been shortened and today only run as far as Erstfeld, where you can change to the RE to Bellinzona (-Lugano-Chiasso-Milano Centrale). The InterCity and EuroCity express trains are now running through the base tunnel. At peak times, in addition to the hourly express trains, additional trains IC Zurich-Lugano of the type RABDe 500 also run through the base tunnel every hour .

SBB is currently procuring new trains for long-distance traffic on the Gotthard route, since the opening of the Gotthard and Ceneri base tunnels means that tilting technology is no longer required. Stadler Rail developed the EC250 "Giruno" for this and will be delivering 29 train compositions to SBB from 2019.

The last long-range Amsterdam-Milan train connection as the City Night Line night train was discontinued in December 2009 due to excessive operating costs on the Italian part of the route.

Regional traffic

In regional traffic, the route is only operated with Stadler Flirt S-Bahn trains in the north to Erstfeld and south from Airolo or Biasca to the Chiasso border station. From the 2011 timetable, TILO trains were extended from Castione-Arbedo to Airolo. As a result of these extensions, the Ambrì - Piotta , Lavorgo and Bodio stations will again be served by regular train services. Since the opening of the base tunnel at the end of 2016 and the shortening of the InterRegio trains to Erstfeld, the gap that has arisen has been filled with a new connection between Erstfeld and Bellinzona (partially to Milano Centrale). TILO also operates Stadler Flirt multiple units on the line called RegioExpress 10 (RE10).

In German-speaking Switzerland, the S3 of the Lucerne S-Bahn (route: Luzern-Brunnen) runs between Immensee and Brunnen, the S32 (Rotkreuz-Arth-Goldau) between Immensee and Arth-Goldau and the S2 of the Stadtbahn between Arth-Goldau and Erstfeld Train that runs from Baar Lindenpark to Erstfeld.

Freight transport

The Gotthard Railway serves both in its old route and in the new flat railway as the main axis for goods traffic through Switzerland ( transit traffic ). Most of SBB Cargo's freight trains have so far been hauled by a Re 4/4 II (Re 420) and a Re 6/6 (Re 620) in multiple control . After Immensee, they mostly run through the Aargau Freiamt , the lower Aare Valley and the Fricktal to the Muttenz and Weil am Rhein marshalling yards . The freight trains usually two Re 460 - Locomotives in multiple unit control are now a picture of the past, as they are only dedicated to the passenger. They were replaced by the four-current locomotives SBB Re 482 . The goods trains with the so-called Re 10/10 have remained .

Film documentaries

Model replicas of the railway line

  • In Zug ZG , the United 0-Gauge Friends of Central Switzerland (VSFZ) are building a system in nominal size 0 based on the Gotthard Railway.
  • Model railway Faszination Gotthardbahn , district Reichelshofen von Steinsfeld / By., In nominal size H0 , rises prototypically over a length of 135 meters as a "north ramp model" by about 260 centimeters to the tunnel mouth. Construction started in 2001.
  • Swiss Museum of Transport , VHS, Lucerne, nominal size H0, floor area 5.6 meters by 13 meters. The system, which was originally built in 1959 and has always been renovated, gives the impression of a kind of oversized table system with its U-shaped structure above the rest of the exhibition hall. A special feature there is the prototypical supply of electric locomotives with overhead line power.
  • IG-Gotthard-Bahn Göschenen: in the Göschenen station buffet, parts of the Gotthard route are shown in nominal size H0 and occasionally steam trains are also run (under construction)
  • Replica of the Gotthard north ramp between Gurtnellen and Göschenen train station in nominal size TT , under construction since 1974, i.e. already during the time of the GDR, formerly in Leipzig, since 2000 in Markranstädt
  • The Gotthardbahn- Südrampe interest group in Leipzig built a model railway system in nominal size N from many individual modules .


Web links

Commons : Selected pictures along the Gotthard Railway  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Gotthardbahn  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Gotthard contract (1871)  - sources and full texts
  • Jan Keckstein: Gotthard Railway. November 2005, accessed on September 21, 2015 (page about the Gotthard Railway with localized photos).
  • Carl Waldis: Gotthard Railway. September 2015, accessed on September 21, 2015 (extensive site about the Gotthard Railway).
  • David Mauro: Gotthard Tunnel. In: AlpenTunnel. Retrieved on September 21, 2015 (video driver's cab ride, measurement of the summit tunnel).
  • Bruno Lämmli: The Gotthard Railway. In: Lokifahrer. Accessed on September 21, 2015 (detailed route description).
  • AlpTransit Gotthard AG. Retrieved on September 21, 2015 (page from the client of the base tunnel).

Individual evidence

  1. p. 356.
  2. pp. 359-360.
  3. p. 359.
  4. pp. 356-357.
  5. pp. 356, 358.
  • Further evidence
  1. ^ Hans G. Wägli: Swiss rail network and Swiss rail profile CH +. AS Verlag , Zurich, 2010, ISBN 978-3-909111-74-9 .
  2. The future of the old mountain route. In: NZZ , October 8, 2014 (The article reports on the Federal Council's resolution.)
  3. Gotthard Railway. In: Brockhaus Encyclopedia . 17th edition. FA Brockhaus, Wiesbaden 1969.
  4. a b Financing of the Gotthard Railway. Alfred Escher Foundation, accessed on August 18, 2019 .
  5. ^ Adolphe Braun: Photographic views of the Gotthard Railway. Dornach in Alsace, ca.1875.
  6. Escher. In: Viktor von Röll (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Railway System . 2nd Edition. Volume 4: Express Train Driving Rules . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1913, pp  407 -408.
  7. Markus Bürgi: Escher, Alfred (from the glass). In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  8. Zingg. In: Viktor von Röll (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Railway System . 2nd Edition. Volume 10: Transitional bridges - intermediate station . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1923, p.  477 .
  9. Swiss Railways. In: Viktor von Röll (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Railway System . 2nd Edition. Volume 8: Passenger tunnel - Schynige Platte Railway . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1917, p.  440 .
  10. a b Gerwig. In: Viktor von Röll (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Railway System . 2nd Edition. Volume 5: Driver's Freight Tariffs . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1914, p.  312 .
  11. Hellwag. In: Viktor von Röll (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Railway System . 2nd Edition. Volume 6: Freight Transport Crises . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1914, p.  186 .
  12. Christoph Zürcher: Bridel, Gustave. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  13. ^ Schweizerische Nordostbahngesellschaft (Ed.): Annual Report Zurich-Zug-Lucerne-Bahn . 1888, A. Executed Railway Trains, p. 3 , doi : 10.5169 / seals-730508 ( ).
  14. Marcel Amrein: A ransom for the Gotthard: A hundred years ago, the Gotthard Treaty caused outrage . In: NZZ , April 9, 2013, p. 13.
  15. P. Tresch: From the systems for the energy supply of the electrical network in Switzerland. Federal Railways . In: Schweizerische Bauzeitung . tape 65 , no. 26 , June 28, 1947, pp. 349-354 , doi : 10.5169 / seals-55900 .
  16. Frequency converter plant Giubiasco. In: Retrieved March 29, 2020 .
  17. ^ Andreas Eggimann, Nicolas Fasel, Bernard Guillelmon, Andreas Marti, Jon Riatsch: Business Unit Energy and Railway Power Supply of SBB AG - Part 2 . In: Electric Railways . tape 102 , no. 3 , 2004, p. 123-132 .
  18. Wassen hydroelectric power station. In: Retrieved March 29, 2020 .
  19. Power for the railway lines on the Gotthard - thanks to KuMa. June 23, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016 .
  20. News in brief . In: Railway amateur . July 1950, p. 209 .
  21. Gotthard section converted to ETCS Level 2 . In: Eisenbahn-Revue International . No. 10 , 2015, p. 482-486 .
  22. ↑ The restart of the 185 series on the Gotthard failed . In: Eisenbahn-Revue International . No. 2 , 2016, p. 80 f .
  23. SBB operations center inaugurated in Pollegio: a tower for the Gotthard base tunnel. SBB, accessed on September 15, 2018 .
  24. ^ The GBT after one year . In: Eisenbahn-Revue International . No. 2 , February 2018, p. 85 .
  25. SOB will operate two lines for SBB from 2020. (PDF) Strategic cooperation between SOB and SBB. In: SOB media release. July 7, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017 .
  26. Tobias Gafafer: Ribar intervenes in a dispute over railway lines . In: St. Galler Tagblatt. July 13, 2017, p. 5 ( online , accessed March 29, 2020).
  27. Helmut Stalder: Gotthard mountain route away from the window . In: NZZ . December 9, 2016 ( [accessed September 15, 2018]).
  28. ^ Gotthard Railway Lucerne / Zug - Chiasso
  29. Information board “Kabelbude” on the Gottardo hiking trail 1 km north of Göschenen
  30. ^ Bruno Lämmli: SBB CFF FFS Ce 6/8 II and III. Operational use. Retrieved October 18, 2013 .
  31. ^ The judicial aftermath of the railway accident at Castione in 1926. (PDF; 382 kB) In: Liechtensteiner Volksblatt. June 9, 1928, p. 2 , accessed October 20, 2013 .
  32. Bruno Lämmli: SBB CFF FFS Ae 4/6 No. 10'801 - 10'812. Operational use. Retrieved October 18, 2013 .
  33. ^ Results of the accident statistics for the seventh five-year observation period 1948–1952. (PDF; 2.5 MB) Swiss Accident Insurance Fund, accessed on October 18, 2013 .
  34. Déraillement sur la ligne du Gothard. (No longer available online.) In: Le Temps - archives historiques. Gazette de Lausanne, April 30, 1968, p. 11 , archived from the original on January 20, 2015 ; Retrieved November 15, 2013 (French).
  35. ^ Train accident in Chiasso . In: Swiss Railway Review . No. 4 . Minirex, 2002, ISSN  1022-7113 , p. 170 .
  36. ^ Mathias Rellstab: Construction train rear-end collision with Immensee . In: Swiss Railway Review . No. 5 . Minirex, 2015, ISSN  1022-7113 , p. 250-251 .
  37. ^ Walter von Andrian: Collision of two freight trains in Erstfeld . In: Swiss Railway Review . No. 7 . Minirex, 2015, ISSN  1022-7113 , p. 336-338 .
  38. ^ Two railway workers in front of the Gotthard captured by Zug. In: Der Bund , February 5, 2019, accessed on February 5, 2019 .
  39. The different times of completion or commissioning are also listed according to Dietler in Roell.
  40. The expansion to double track. Retrieved August 23, 2017 .
  41. Gotthard panorama route. TILO , accessed December 23, 2019 .
  42. Gotthard Panorama Express. SBB, accessed on December 23, 2019 .
  43. Dietler (in Roell) mentions 223 kilometers for Lucerne – Chiasso and over 270 kilometers for the total distance. H. Dietler: Gotthard Railway. In: Viktor von Röll (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Railway System . 2nd Edition. Volume 5: Driver's Freight Tariffs . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1914, pp.  354 –361., P. 356
    So also: Gotthard Railway . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition. Volume 8, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1907, p.  177 . or actually Sankt Gotthard . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition. Volume 17, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1909, pp.  561–562 . (276 km)
  44. Gotthardbahn (Ed.): Annual report of the management and board of directors of Gotthardbahn . tape 25 , 1896, pp. 21 .
  45. ↑ The locomotive monument in Erstfeld is no longer there . In: Loki . No. 3 , 2013, p. 72–73 ( ( memento of November 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) [PDF; 927 kB ; accessed on November 3, 2013]).
  46. ^ Emil Steinberger : S 'Chileli vo Wasse. (No longer available online.) SF DRS, formerly in the original ; Retrieved November 3, 2013 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  47. Jan Keckstein:  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Picture gallery, frame12, second row, fourth picture from the left on Aug. 31, 2009.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  48. a b (PDF)
  49. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 22, 2015 ; accessed on June 11, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  50. ^ Paul Schneeberger: Farewell to the "Gotthard Locomotive". Neue Zürcher Zeitung, January 25, 2013, accessed on February 9, 2019 .
  51. GB model Christian Gohl. Retrieved January 3, 2016 .
  52. TT model railway system Gotthard north ramp