The Rhomberg Bahntechnik Project – Ensuring Safety in Simplon Tunnel

Taking a train ride through a railway tunnel still causes uneasy feelings of discomfort in many passengers.

This is the reason it is all the more important to have a good safety concept and well-designed self-rescue facilities for these parts of the rail network. In the Simplon Tunnel, one of the key sections of the Alpine crossing between Switzerland and Italy, Rhomberg Bahntechnik is now responsible for bringing the safety facilities inside the tunnel up to modern standards.

The double-tube tunnel, built between Brig and Iselle di Trasquera in 1906, is now to be upgraded internally in terms of safety, and re-equipped to the latest standards. The task for the Infrastructure Business Field of Rhomberg Bahntechnik includes the installation of self-rescue facilities as well as the commissioning, testing and documentation of the whole project. This year, 2015, will see a safety refit of the two 20km long tubes, the first from January to March and the second from September to November. Measures include illuminated handrails, tunnel orientation lighting, cross gallery and niche lighting, alarm points, and escape and rescue route signs. The contract is worth just over Sfr7 million.

"The greatest challenges for our team on site are without doubt the logistics and the very short construction periods of just eight weeks per tube," explains Dirk Diederich, managing director of Rhomberg Bahntechnik. BM Ing. Andreas Förster, business field manager of the Infrastructure Project Business, adds: "It goes without saying that we are proud to be awarded this contract by SBB, and it shows us that SBB was satisfied with our earlier work in the tunnel." Rhomberg Bahntechnik department Zurich has been entrusted, along with its Simplon LEDIR Consortium partners, with the refurbishment of the tunnel tubes since March 2012.

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