02.10.2018- Breakthrough RhB Albula Tunnel

02.10.2018- Breakthrough RhB Albula Tunnel -

On Tuesday, 2 October 2018 the breakthrough was made for the Rhaetian Railway's (RhB) new Albula Tunnel. It has taken the miners a good three years to dig the 5,860 metre tunnel between the Albula Valley and Upper Engadin from the Preda and Spinas sides. And that means that one of the key milestones of the 345 million franc project has been achieved.

Shortly before lunch, the Spinas headwork team climbed through the opening in the rock and handed their comrades from the Preda headwork team the statue of the patron saint of tunnel builders, Saint Barbara. After this moving moment and words of thanks by representatives of RhB and the other companies involved, it was time to toast this fantastic achievement. A total of 250,000 m3 of rock have been cleared. The excavated rock is used as hardcore in the concreting and formwork and is treated in Preda. Poorer-quality material was transported to the construction site's "Las Piazzettas" waste site on conveyor belts and will be re-used there in an environmentally friendly manner. The main breakthrough in the Albula Tunnel was achieved not quite one year after the first "small" breakthrough: on 17 October 2017 the breakthrough into the cavern was the conclusion of the trickiest section of the mountain range, the fault zone 'Raibler Rauwacke'.

Continued work in the tunnel

Now the breakthrough has been achieved, the focus will be on the interiorwork in the tunnel: this includes the last layer of aerocrete of the tunnel lining being applied, the clearing of the tunnel floor and then the creation of the substratum (strip foundation, service routes, drainage). The 12 transverse access links between the old and the new tunnel will also be completed. Then work can start on track building and the wiring of the railway technology. The new Albula Tunnel is due to be opened at the end of 2021/beginning of 2022. The existing tunnel, which is linked to the new tunnel with the 12 transverse access links, will then be converted into a safety tunnel.

Construction work at Preda and Spinas stations

In coordination with the interiorwork program for the tunnel, construction work will also be taking place at the two Albula Tunnel stations. Both Preda and Spinas will be converted to correspond to the state of the art in the years 2020 and 2021 and modernised to cater to people with mobility difficulties. At Spinas station the perron will be heightened and lengthened. The crossing point will also be lengthened. Preda station will be given an additional third track so that sledge train operations can be dealt with in entirety on platform one. Regular operations will be run through tracks 2 and 3, for which a middle perron is being constructed. The middle perron will be accessed by a new subway. The concourse and middle perrons will be covered.