SWISS Federal Railways (SBB) has released details of plans to construct a new double-track railway through the new 9km west-east Brüttener tunnel to increase capacity between Zürich and Winterthur and ease the pressure on the existing line via Effretikon, which has become bottleneck on the national network.

The dual-bore tunnel will be designed for a maximum speed of 160km/h, running between Dietlikon/Bassersdorf and Winterthur, and will feature 20 cross-passages. In addition, the SFr 2.9bn ($US 3.21bn) project includes the expansion of stations at Dietlikon, Bassersdorf, Wallisellen, and Winterthur Töss.

The project is expected to increase overall capacity between Zürich and Winterthur by 30%, enabling the operation of 900 trains per day, with capacity for around 156,000 passengers.

The project also involves building several new structures to grade-separate existing junctions and improve the flow of rail traffic. This includes a new 580m bridge over the existing line to Zürich Oerlikon at the western edge of the municipality of Wallisellen. A further 800m-long single-track bridge is also planned near Neumühle while two short tunnels are planned in Dietlikon and Winterthur. Existing railway infrastructure including signalling and track will be upgraded between the tunnel portals at Tössmühle and Winterthur station.

Map showing the planned alignment for the new line.

SBB says construction is expected to start in the mid-2020s and conclude in the mid-2030s. The railway says it will draw up a definitive construction programme once the federal government issues planning permission and construction contracts have been awarded. Financing for the project is provided through the federal railway infrastructure fund.

The upgrade is the single largest project in SBB’s current 2035 strategy, which aims to increase network capacity to support expected passenger and freight traffic growth by 2050.

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