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Catenary system for speeds of 250 kph

Alpiq subsidiary Kummler+Matter AG is installing the catenary system in the 34.6 kilometer long Lötschberg tunnel: a highly complex project with tight deadlines and demanding specifications.

The tunnel between the cantons of Valais and Berne is part of the European high-speed rail network. Two one-track tunnels cross the Alps over a 34.6 kilometer route. From the end of 2007, trains will be able to travel at speeds of up to 250 kph.

Zurich-based Kummler+Matter planned and installed all catenary systems. The project is a technical and logistical challenge because of the special requirements imposed on the tunnel's overhead traction technology. Standard solutions are not an option. Kummler+Matter focused on new developments and special designs, discussing the framework conditions and proposed solutions in close collaboration with the client. The company was able to draw on its extensive experience and state-of-the-art technology in developing special components.

A support for the overhead traction wire had to be installed every 50 meters along the tunnel. The installation schedule was tight. Once the suspended columns or king posts are screwed into place, the boom is erected, to which the catenary, consisting of hoisting cable, catenary wire and cable hangers, is attached. In all, 60 kilometers of catenary need to be installed.

Kummler+Matter has a long tradition in this field, having electrified the Simplon tunnel between Valais and Italy back in 1906. Then, as now, Kummler+Matter's main priorities were its customers and staff. With its wealth of know-how, the company has the privilege of being an international player, delivering its products and services for smaller-scale projects as well as highly complex major construction projects such as the new Lötschberg base tunnel.

Overhead traction technology live

The Alpiq subsidiary Kummler+Matter AG has made a film about the planning and assembly of the catenary system in the n the 34.6 kilometer long Lötschberg tunnel.