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Gotthard Base Tunnel microduct installation, Switzerland


FibreFlow used for Gotthard Base Tunnel microduct installation

Emtelle provided thousands of kilometres of its FibreFlow™ Microduct solution to one of the most impressive projects of this century: the transalpine Swiss Railway Gotthard Base Tunnel.

With the length of 57 km, the Gotthard Base Tunnel is the world’s longest tunnel and it is expected to bring sweeping changes to European transport. Located in the heart of Europe, it will allow trains to travel at speeds of up to 250 km per hour, shortening transalpine transportation and travelling time between northern and southern parts of Europe tremendously. The Gotthard Base Tunnel microduct installation required thousands of kilometres of microduct to carry fibre through the tunnel.

Gotthard Base Tunnel microduct installation details

The Gotthard Base Tunnel – with its two single-track tubes – is a tunnel of superlatives which is proven by the benchmark data below:

  • Construction time: over 20 years (1996 – 2017; general contractor: AlpTransit Gotthard AG).
  • Amount of excavated rock: 26,500,000 tons
  • Tunnel Drill head diameter: 10 m
  • Number of workers: over 2,500
  • Total cost: 7.5 billion €
  • High speed trains: 160 km per hour for freight trains, 250 km per hour for passenger trains.

Emtelle provides numerous special products and solutions for this major project

It is more than obvious that an absolute reliable, stable and future-proof communication system is a necessary precondition and a decisive factor for safety and security in the Gotthard base tunnel microduct installation. This system has been found in Emtelle’s FibreFlow™ solution, which is able to master the greatest challenges, and offers decisive advantages over traditional cabling methods:

Planning Reliability

Beyond the long construction time of 20 years including expected and unexpected changes of fibre technologies and location points during installation time. Easy add of additional requirements.

Development of unique customer-specific solutions

We developed a wide range of special products including low fire harzard tube & distribution closures for the Gotthard Base Tunnel microduct installation.

Long distance blown fibre

In order to reduce the splicing costs, we installed blown fibres over a distance of more than 4km in one installation via a central blowing technique.

Time saving

Our solution is simple and time saving, perfect for a complex data cabling requirement – over 4000 individual data access points within the tunnel fibre system.

Meeting exceptional demands

The Gotthard Base Tunnel microduct installation required us to meet exceptional and unique demands – for instance the installation of FibreFlowTM blown fibre in the 800 metre vertical shaft. Our solution ensures no further access is needed to the shaft for future modifications.

Optimised logistics

In such an ambitious project, special attention needed to be paid to the logisitics. Our FibreFlowTM solution allow the installation of the tracks followed by the blowing of the FibreFlowTM blown fibre.

Besides Emtelle’s unmatched commitment to drive product innovation according to the customer’s needs, the General Contractor’s Alpiq Burkhalter Technik AG decision to install Emtelle FibreFlowTM in the Gotthard Base Tunnel was based on our system’s advantages over competing solutions as detailed below.

Time and Space Saving

  • The fine distribution is being quickly realised by fail-safe and fire-protected end-to-end fibre connections.
  • No time and labour-intensive splicing required for branching off the fibre optic cables.
  • Space saving is phenomenal as with FibreFlowTM only 3 of the available total 12 infrastructure tubes are needed for telecommunication; and in tunnels space is the most valuable asset.
  • Logistics is easy because the installation can be realised with few components in several stages.

Flexible and Futureproof

  • The solution allows for easy and flexible adaptation of changes in technology even beyond the lifetime of the project.
  • With FibreFlowTM the network can easily be upgraded and maintained at low costs and without interruption of rail traffic.

Five years after the start of construction in 2010, the installation of communication cabling is now successfully completed. Mr Reto Meyer, responsible product/project developer and project manager on the part of the general contractor Alpiq Burkhalter Technik AG, Switzerland, expresses his complete satisfaction with Emtelle’s involvement with the Gotthard Base Tunnel microduct installation:

“Emtelle FibreFlow is a great solution allowing for an easy installation process in this long-term project. It reduces a great amount of handling cost during this time, makes many fibre splicing points redundant, and enables a simple and smart end to end fibre solution. It is a joy to develop and design the best products for this world wide unique project together with Emtelle.“

In total Emtelle has contributed the following amounts of material to equip the two 57km long tunnel tubes and 178 cross passages with passive network infrastructure:

  • >7,000km tubes and tube bundles
  • >120,000km optical fibre in the hole project
  • >4,000 accessory items and data points

Please contact us any time for details regarding the Gotthard Base Tunnel project and general questions about the Emtelle FibreFlowTM solution.

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