Leading retail and logistics companies in Switzerland want to move freight transport underground and are pressing for a subway to transport goods between the country’s most important cities. Underground rail freight could lower CO2 emissions and noise pollution.
It’s long been a policy of the Swiss to switch freight transport from road to rail. This was certainly the impetus behind the mammoth Gotthard Basel Tunnel through the Alps. At 57 kilometres long, it’s the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel.
With the USD 10.3 billion project set to open on 1 June, the Swiss are now setting their sights on yet another impressive rail project: an underground rail freight transport system connecting some of the country’s most important cities.
According to the association Cargo Sous Terrain (cargo underground), underground rail freight is it economically attractive and can be financed by the private sector. But it also has significant environmental advantages: it reduces the CO2 emissions of freight transport as well as noise pollution.
The underground rail freight transport system that it proposes for Switzerland would consist of a network of three-lane tunnels from Geneva to St.Gallen, and from Basel to Lucerne. Goods would be transported on wheeled vehicles at a constant speed of 30 kilometres per hour in these tunnels. The goods would be automatically fed into the tunnel system at specific access points.
The association would like to see a first section built between Zurich and Härkingen-Niederbipp by 2030. The investment costs for the 67-kilometre-long route are estimated at CHF 3.5 billion.