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Switzerland – Postpone the opening of the Ligerz tunnel


The Ligerz tunnel will be put into operation at the end of 2029, three years later than planned. This delay is due to objections and appeals as well as an updated construction method due to additional environmental protection requirements. Excavation work for the new tunnel will begin shortly. Swiss Federal Railways  (SBB)  is currently working with the construction company on the detailed re-planning of the construction work.   

The doubling of track project between Ligerz/Gleresse and Twann/Douanne - including the 2.1 km Ligerz tunnel - was originally planned to be put into operation by the end of 2026.  The award of the construction contracts has been delayed by almost two years because companies that were unsuccessful in the tender process filed a complaint. In June 2023, the Federal Administrative Court dismissed a final appeal. The Swiss Federal Railways  (SBB)  was then able to resume planning the project.  

In August 2021, SBB received the final costruction permit from the Federal Office of Transport (BAV), including additional requirements for better environmental protection. In order to preserve fish farming and the spawning periods of the fish, the construction work in the lake (bank redesign) was limited in time, postponing the overall planning by around a year.  

This means that the end of the construction work will be delayed by a total of three years: the commissioning of the new tunnel will be rescheduled for the timetable change at the end of 2029.   

Some construction work - started in 2020 and in 2021 - have already been completed:  the renewal work on the catenary between La Neuveville and Poudeille; the works to modify the geometry curves at Poudeille and Schafis/Chavannes,  as well as the preparatory excavation work in the west portal area.   

SBB is currently carrying out construction work at Twann/Douanne train station in order to expand it in accordance with the requirements of the Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Act (BehiG). Commissioning is planned for May 5, 2024. The platforms will be raised to ensure step-free entry into the trains, and platform access will be improved thanks to ramps. 

With the double-track expansion of the last single-track section - an actual bottleneck on the southern foot of the Jura Railway line in Switzerland - the increase in traffic on the line can be absorbed and punctuality improved. The project is budgeted at around EUR 445.29 million (CHF431 million). The cost consequences of the project delay are currently being analyzed. 

For further information on the project click ch/108 for tunnelbuilder archive, here and visit https://company.sbb.ch/. 39/23.