Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Since knowing the details of this has to do with my job, let me vent professional anger at some rather minor erroneous details.

the Swiss government last week offered its support for a huge new railway station deep below the Alps.

It's not huge at all, it is just a stopping place, like a metro station but longer. It is not its size that makes it expensive - but, as can be gleaned from later parts of the article, the 800m lift and other stuff needed for regular rather than emergency operation (such as: strong air conditioning [it's hot down there], a small railway to take passengers from the lift's upper station 1.5km inside the mountain to the open, extra safety measures).

But most believe that stopping trains to serve a small interest group is hard to justify when spending billions to slash intercity journey times.

The reason railroaders aren't keen of the project, beyond the lack of profitability, is that a train stopping in the middle of a tunnel means less capacity (the next train must start later) and increased danger of collisions. (Due to the already given geometry of the emergency station - its tunnels have already been bored -, the stopping train would also block the track-changing part.)

At Bodio, in Italian-speaking Switzerland, one of the world's biggest boring machines

First, it is two TBMs, not one. As for one of the biggest, may be right if they mean the total length of the tunnel-boring and concrete-pouring and tunnel-fitting parts. But, second, the boring machine itself is comparatively small: the shield is just 8.83m in diameter. Compare it to the 12.33m TBM of a smaller, 10km tunnel on the northern end of the new Gotthard line that was recently put into service, or the 14.87m of the TBM that bored a Groene Hart tunnel on the Amsterdam to Antwerp high-speed railway. Third, the two other TBMs boring the second-from-North section are bigger than those at Bodio in all dimensions (443m long with trailers, 9.58m shild diameter).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jul 4th, 2005 at 08:22:17 AM EST
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