A large-scale project goes into operation

11.06.2014

On 15 June 2014, the first commuter trains will use Zurich’s new cross-city link (Durchmesserlinie). The heart of the line from Altstetten to Oerlikon is the new Löwenstrasse underground station. Situated below Zurich's main station, the underground through station is connected by the adjoining Weinbergtunnel with Oerlikon station. Basler & Hofmann was the lead partner in the engineering consortia for these two sections.

The new railway station below Zurich main station

The opening of the line marks the completion of a project on which many employees have worked over the years. A happy day for Basler & Hofmann as well, for such events highlight the contribution that engineers and planners make on a daily basis to the quality of life in our cities. 

A new underground train station

The new Löwenstrasse underground station lies 16 metres below the existing tracks of Zurich’s main station, running under the Sihl and beneath the historic listed station building. These requirements alone presented the engineers with numerous technical challenges: how to build in a riverbed? What would happen in the event of flooding? How do construction logistics work safely in the middle of a city? The greatest challenge, however, was to conduct such a large underground construction process while the main station was in daily operation and no tracks could be closed.

Tunnel under the main transportation hub

No less complex was the construction of the Weinberg tunnel, which runs just a few metres beneath Central – one of the busiest places in Zürich – and the river Limmat. The tunnel boring machine took two years to travel the 4.5 km from its start shaft in Oerlikon to the heart of Zurich, including some six months for the last 280 metres. The final metres were a tough slog: the borer had to dig its way through groundwater and loose rock below the Limmat and under Bahnhofsplatz, while a steady flow of trams and cars passed overhead. This was possible only with a host of structural support measures.

Better services

As of 15 June, the commuter (S-Bahn) trains will be the first to traverse the city on the new line. Thanks to the cross-city link, the long-distance train network will also be expanded with the new timetables in 2015.