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22 June 2006

Spectacular Installation of a Ballastless Track Turnout in the Lötschberg Base Tunnel

In 2005, Rhomberg Gleisbau GmbH (a company of the Rhomberg Bahntechnik group) completed pioneering work in the Lötschberg base tunnel: the largest turnout on ballastless track in Europe to date, an EW-VI-12000/6100-1:42-FF was laid in a tunnel. Despite difficult conditions and high quality demands in terms of manipulating long turnout parts, the installation was completed within the required line geometry.

Summarizing the specifications of the high-speed turnout shows best the order of magnitude of the works:

  • Overall length of the turnout: 182.14m
  • Length of set of switches: 64.1m
  • The switch rodding is placed on concrete sleepers fitted with rubber shoes and elastic inserts, in order to guarantee the necessary subsidence in the ballastless track during operation.
  • In order to reverse the points of the high-speed turnout, eight point motors are mounted in the switch area – three other motors reverse the movable frog
  • Trains up to a speed of 200km/h can run on the deflecting section branch connection of the turnout – the straight line is designed for 250 km/h.

Due to limited space in the tunnel, the unloading of the extremely long turnout parts had to be carried out manually with trestles. This certainly was the greatest challenge for the gang. Using the brake-by-wire lifting and lining system and the Hergie measuring system of RTE, the turnout was prefixed in the line with the required track geometry and then casted with concrete. The concrete was transported by rail on wagons that were specially developed for this work site. We would like to express our gratitude to the Rhomberg team for their dedication and a job well done.

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