Thales will supply a rail signalling solution for Switzerland’s under-construction Gotthard Base Tunnel, which will link Swiss Italian and Swiss German regions.

The company will carry out the project as part of the Transtec Gotthard Consortium under a $106m (CHF110m) contract awarded by Swiss Federal Railways SFR’s subsidiary AlpTransit Gotthard.

Thales will deliver, install and test a turnkey rail signalling solution for the tunnel including Electronic Interlocking, ETCS level 2 and the Centralised Traffic Control System.

The project is expected to make the tunnel accommodate over 300 trains daily in two separate tubes as well as allow train speeds to rise from 140kmph to 250kmph and cut Zurich-Milan transit time from 3 hours 40 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes.

The rail tunnel, claimed to be the world’s longest, is expected to open in 2017 and is part of the NRLA project (New Rail Link through the Alps) initiated by the Swiss authorities with the Lötschberg Tunnel.