THE Swiss Office of Federal Transport (OFT) has settled on the technical details for the implementation of a project to introduce a 4m corridor for freight trains on the Lötschberg - Simplon axis to Italy.

Swiss federal councillor, Ms Simonetta Sommaruga, and her Italian counterpart, Ms Paola de Micheli, signed an agreement in Locarno to develop the Lötschberg - Simplon line in autumn 2020 during the opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel. Under the agreement, Italian Rail Network (RFI) has committed to complete work to update infrastructure to enable the seamless transport of freight trains loaded with 4m high containers to terminals in the Milan Novara region by 2028.

The agreement signed on February 24 formally acknowledges that Switzerland will contribute SFr 148m ($US 161m) to RFI as work progresses on the project. The agreement also sets out a detailed timetable for the work and conditions for monitoring progress.

In total, Switzerland is committing SFr 990m to the 4m corridor project, including SFr 280m for work in Italy. The Swiss portion of the work is already complete with 170 upgrades between Basle and the southern Alps carried out, mostly comprising improvements to tunnels, bridges, catenary, signalling and overpasses.