New Rail Link through the Alps to Open Fully in December
Both the Ceneri Base Tunnel and the 4-metre corridor between Basel and Chiasso will become operational in December 2020. Rail freight will benefit from the fact that more cargo can be moved on to the north-south axis. The Gateway Basel Nord will help in these efforts
The Ceneri Base Tunnel is the last remaining link of the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) that remains to be completed. Once it opens to rail traffic on 13 December 2020, all freight rail operations will be able to move more capacity and run faster, more reliable connections. It has been a 28-year wait since the high-speed rail link through the Alps was approved by Swiss voters in a mandatory referendum.
Up to six 750m freight trains, weighing up to 2,100t are to use the Gotthard Base Tunnel per hour and per direction in the future, depending on demand. There are still some restrictions in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Consequently, rail freight operations will get four to five (alternating) lines per hour and direction between 13 December 2020 and the end of 2022. Two of those will run to Luino, Italy, thereby avoiding the Ceneri Base Tunnel.
Because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic at Chiasso Station, beyond Gallerate and to the south of Milan, it seems likely that the 750m freight trains will only be able to run from June 2021.