After 17 years of construction, it was officially inaugurated on 1 June 2016: The longest traffic tunnel in the world. As the core of the "Neue Eisenbahn-Alpentransversale" (NEAT), it allows rail traffic between Basel and Milan at almost ground level
85 kilometers of the section – in parts 2,000 metres through the St. Gotthard mountain at temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius – were drilled with tunnel drilling machines (Tunnelbohrmaschinen/TBM) of the company Herrenknecht, as in the case of the forth tube of the Hamburg Elbe Tunnel which was built with TBM TRUDE.
4 Gripper TBMs (GABI I, GABI II, SISSI and HEIDI) with drilling plate or shield diameters of up to 9.58 meters and a weight of 2,700 tons each were in operation. The carriages of the TBMs which can reach a length of up to 100 metres were equipped with our VULKOLLAN® heavy-duty bandages which have a load capacity of 5.5 tons per bandage.
In the summer of 2009, GABI II – mounted on our VULKOLLAN® bandages – drilled her way through the rock: 56 metres in 24 hours: New world record.