The President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga, opened the Ceneri Base Tunnel on Friday together with Ignazio Cassis from the Federal Council and Norman Gobbi, President of the State Council of the canton of Ticino. The New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA) project has therefore now also been completed.
The NRLA not only brings Switzerland closer together; this once-in-a-lifetime project is also regarded as the centerpiece of the European rail freight route between Rotterdam in the Netherlands all the way to Genoa in Italy. Thanks to the NRLA, more goods can be transported via rail rather than road.
In terms of passenger transport, the NRLA will facilitate more frequent and more rapid connections between north and south. In addition, the Ceneri Base Tunnel will also see an “attractive S-Bahn” (rapid transport railway system linking suburban areas with city centers) established within the canton of Ticino in the Bellinzona – Lugano – Locarno triangle, as the Federal Council outlines in a press release. At the inauguration ceremony, Norman Gobbi commented that Ticino will now become a large city with key ‘quarters’ to both the north and south of the Ceneri Base Tunnel thanks to the rapid connections within the canton.
The Ceneri Base Tunnel strengthens public transport – “and it strengthens Ticino itself”, Simonetta Sommaruga underlined in her speech. She also praised the “far-sighted” decision made by the Swiss electorate, who voted for the NRLA back in 1992. "The NRLA provided the impetus for an intelligent policy to transfer freight traffic from road to rail that we can still be proud of today”, Sommaruga concluded.