Rhine-Alpine News

Mt Ceneri: The improvements

With the full integration of Mt Ceneri tunnel into rail schedules on 10 December, Swiss rail operator SBB listed the advantages in detail (external link, German, French and Italian language):

Illustration: © SBB CFF FFS

Passenger traffic

  • More trains between Lugano and northern Switzerland.
  • Between Zürich and Lugano resp. Italy, travel times are up to 20 minutes shorter.
  • More trains between Zürich and Italy (currently running only between Zürich and Lugano, for Covid-19 restrictions).
  • Faster regional traffic within Ticino / Tessin.
  • New trains: “Giruno” and “Flirt”.

On the old mountain route, regular local rail service will remain.

Illustration: SBB CFF FFS

Freight traffic

  • 4m-corridor across the Alps, allowing for all kinds of intermodal transport.
  • 2 hrs faster along the Rhine-Alpine corridor Rotterdam – Milano.
  • Longer (750 meters) and heavier trains (up to more than 2.000 tons).

At this occasion, SBB points out that the capacities on the approach routes will sadly remain a bottleneck until 2023 in Italy and 2041 in Germany.

Rhine: Low water level

Kaub at low water level (Martin Brandt)

In the past days, media reported low water levels on the Rhine. The often-quoted “water level” at Kaub on the middle Rhine went down to a low around 1.1 meters, which sounds alarming. See the current level here (external link, German language).

However, to get the real depth of the river, for each measuring point one has to add an individual figure. In the case of Kaub, as a rule of thumbs this is about 1.2 meters, resulting in a current total depth of well over 2 meters along the middle Rhine. This allows the cargo ships to operate, although at reduced capacity.