Alpiq engineering for the Lötschberg base tunnel

Alpiq InTec AGatel is partly to thank for the fact that trains will be able to race from the Bernese Oberland to the Valais at speeds of 200 kph by the end of 2007.

The 34.6 kilometer long Lötschberg base tunnel is a dual tunnel running from Frutigen to Raron. As of 2007, the first express trains will be hurtling through the Lötschberg – thanks among other things to the services of Alpiq InTec AG. And in particular, Alpiq Building Services' low-voltage installations and the contact line technology from Kummler+Matter.

800 tonnes of electrical materials

The low voltage contract covers tunnel lighting, power supplies for telecommunications, radio, safety and control systems, equipping 104 cross-connections and eight operational centres. Alpiq Building Services performed these tasks in collaboration with the company Burkhalter. The two partners installed more than 800 tonnes of electrical material and one hundred kilometers of cabling in the tunnel. The confined space, tight deadlines and difficult access posed a logistical challenge.

1600 electrical and control cabinets

"The project involved a mountain of material", recalls Louis Casali, Managing Director of Alpiq InTec Ost AG. The partners manufactured around 1600 electrical and control cabinets for the 100-odd cross-connections. Some of the cabinets are air conditioned. All the installations for electricity supply, work and emergency lighting, data transfer, door controls, safety and the electronic train control system are located in the protected cross-cuts. The material must comply with high standards. "We designed, manufactured, tested and installed some of the components especially for the Lötschberg," says Casali. This was done to cope with the tunnel temperature of 35° Celsius and 80% humidity. The 150 employees involved in the partnership completed electrical installations in the tunnel in late 2006.

Final stretch after eleven years' construction

For 11 years work on the Lötschberg was predominantly the domain of miners and tunnellers. This changed in 2005 with the installation of electromechanical and electronic equipment. The final touches involved laying the trackage and installing the contact lines. Alpiq also delivered the contact lines, while Kummler+Matter, a specialist in this field, was responsible for the contact line technology.