A major contract for the construction of the new rail link from Zurich’s main station (Zürich Hauptbahnhof) to the city’s Oerlikon station was awarded to the ARGE Bahntechnik DML consortium. The consortium consists of three companies of which Rhomberg will amongst others be responsible for overall coordination and slab track construction. The contract is worth approximately CHF40m.

After a complex 12-month selection process, ARGE Bahntechnik DML led by Rhomberg emerged as the successful winner of the contract for this new railway line in central Zurich – the "Durchmesserlinie" (DML). This link runs mainly underground through the city and the key components of the line are the underground station at Löwenstrasse and the 4.5km-long Weinberg tunnel.

"One of the greatest challenges of this project will be to meet the strict deadlines imposed by the schedule, while keeping both stations – Zurich and Oerlikon, operating. To ensure that all this will go according to plan, the consortium proposed the use of the Brunnenhof shaft as a simplified and independent supply route, which would allow all the necessary construction works to be completed on time. The client, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) found this concept particularly favourable." says Valentina Kumpusch, chief project manager, Rhomberg, St. Gallen.

This exciting contract will start in July 2012 and is planned to be finished in December 2013. It includes the construction and installation of the main railway engineering infrastructure work and the overall coordination of logistics. This is challenging because it entails the construction of a 6km-long slab track section in the station area and a double line in the Weinberg tunnel (including the installation of 16 switches).

All electrical and telecommunications technology, low-voltage and safety systems in the Weinberg tunnel, will be provided by the other two partners of the consortium as well as various safety works, such as fire-extinguishing water pipes, emergency lighting, gates, doors, handrails, escape and rescue signage and escape gallery ventilation systems.

"The construction area passes underneath a variety of noise and vibration-sensitive properties, such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EHTZ) and the University Hospital (USZ), as well as a number of other existing tunnels. This requires careful planning and plenty of experience in track construction," says Dirk Diederich, managing director of Rhomberg Rail.

After completion of the project in 2013 all construction and installations will undergo an extensive testing phase – commissioning is due to take place in June 2014.

The award of this large contract by the SBB yet again proves the company’s expertise in complex railway engineering and slab track construction projects.