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Gotthard Base Tunnel, Swiss Prestigious Icon

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A great combination of the rocky Alp Mountain in Switzerland and the cutting-edge technology of European Rail Traffic Management System resulting in a mind-blowing work. There stand still, the sophisticated and magnificent Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) is the new icon in Switzerland. It was wholly operated two years ago on 11 December 2016 but opened six months prior that year. More than 260 freight trains and 64 passenger trains passed the longest tunnel in the world every day. The tunnel is ultimately linking Zurich in North Europe and Milan in South.

What is so exceptional about this tunnel? Just name it. There are numerous records can be found which stated that it is the riskiest, ambitious project in this era. The Swiss government spent about USD12 billion for the tunnel alone and 17 years in making. More than 2500 workers engaged in this 57 kilometers-length railway that is expected to reduce heavy congestion and exhaust emission in the country.

As a globe-famous-country for its stunning spots, Swiss government always concern on the tourism aspect, which is the answer why the longest railway would bring safety and splendid experience at once for its users.

End-to-End Safety System

The construction came with precise measurement. Located in 2.3 kilometers depth of the Alps, GBT equipped with ETCS (European Train Control System) level 2 which isdefinitely essential to monitor and track the movement of trains, speed, routes, and destination accurately. The system connected to Radio Block Center(RCB) all the time. Several years ago, European Commission (EU) had put the RTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) as a mandatory standard for trains.

At first, The European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is a major industrial project developed by eight UNIFE members – Alstom Transport, Ansaldo STS, AZD Praha, Bombardier Transportation, CAF, Mermec, Siemens Mobility and Thales – in close cooperation with the European Union, railway stakeholders and the GSM-R industry.

To improve the train control system standard quality, ERTMS today become the UE standard for the high-speed trains (around 160km/h). Currently, Asia’s countries such as China, South Korea, India, and Saudi Arabia are adopting the ERTMS system and technology.

ERTMS has two primary components which are ETCS and GSM-R (Global System for Mobile communication-Railway). ETCS, the European Train Control System, is an automatic train protection system (ATP) to replace the existing national ATP-system while GSM-R, a radio system for providing voice and data communication between the track and the train, based on standard GSM using frequencies specifically reserved for rail application with certain specific and advanced functions.

Specifically, ETCS has three levels. ETCS Level 1 can be easily superimposed on the existing national signaling system and provides cab signaling. Movement authorities can be granted through fixed and switchable Eurobalises. They also send route data to the on-board unit. With the received data the maximum speed, as well as the breaking curves, are calculated at any time. Additionally to Eurobalises, it is possible to implement EuroLoop (loop infill) or a radio-based solution (radio infill) which continuously transmits data over a longer distance.

ETCS Level 2 is a radio-based system which displays signaling and movement authorities in the cab. The train is continuously sending data to the Radio Block Centre (RBC) to report its exact position and direction. Eurobalises are used as passive positioning beacons. Trains refine their position with additional sensors such as accelerometers, odometers or radar.

ETCS Level 3 is a fully radio-based system without any trackside equipment. The Radio Block Centre (RBC) receives positioning of each train continuously and calculates smallest possible train distances at any time. Therefore the track is no longer separated in fixed blocks but split into “moving blocks.” At the same time, it is vital that trains guarantee their integrity as there is no trackside equipment available to provide this information. ETCS L3 is currently still under standardization.

Safety facilities in Gotthard Base Tunnel are also awe-inspiring. Each station equipped with fire and chemical detectors; detect fire as soon as it starts and any leakage of hazardous goods, hot box and brake-locking detectors; detect overheating axle bearings and brakes which have got stuck, and 24 hours checkpoints


Claimed as en energy-saving railway tunnel, GBT that shove Seikan Tunnel in Japan away to the second place has its electrical energy from hydropower plants in Amsteg in the canton of Uri and Ritom in the township of Ticino is supplied to the substations via a low-loss system of transmission lines.

According to SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) which investigated about energy consumption in GBT, and ensured that the total energy consumption of the Gotthard baseline would be at least 10 percent lower than the energy consumption associated with the mountain route

The fast, anti-congestion freight train services and capacities (100 km/jam) also allow the energy consumption will be one third (33 percent) lower for the same volume of traffic. It was claimed that “flat rail” that make the need for mechanical braking system decreased. It is also affecting the reduction of air pollution which is the global issue right now, and the solution for it is spreading around.

So, Switzerland can bask in the moment of glory by having the modern Gotthard Base Tunnel entirely done because it is a transportation mode that maximizes the natural resources in the country. For information, nearly 30 million tonnes of rocks were carved out from the Alps and then used for developing Uri Lake and Las Clause in Sedrun.

The question arises, when will Indonesia can build an alluring, sophisticated tunnel like this?


Gotthard Base Tunnel, Ikon Swiss yang Prestisius

Kontur batuan pegunungan Alpen, Swiss, berkolaborasi dengan sistem teknologi European Rail Traffic Management System. Hasilnya adalah Gotthard Base Tunel yang canggih dan indah.

Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) menjadi ikon baru Swiss, dua tahun terakhir ini. Sejak beroperasi secara penuh pada 11 Desember 2016 setelah dibuka enam bulan sebelumnya, terowongan terpanjang di dunia ini telah dilewati sekitar 260 kereta barang dan 64 kereta penumpang, juga merupakan penghubung Zurich di Eropa Utara dan Milan di Eropa Selatan.

Apa yang istimewa dari terowongan ini? Sesungguhnya cukup banyak catatan yang membuatnya menjadi proyek berani dan berbahaya. Proyek yang menelan dana hampir USD12 miliar ini dirancang begitu detil, sehingga membutuhkan 17 tahun untuk mewujudkannya. Dalam kurun waktu itu, sekitar 2500 pekerja terlibat dalam proyek sepanjang 57 kilometer ini. Konsep dasar pembangunan Gotthard Base Tunnel ini sendiri adalah upaya pemerintah Swiss menekan kemacetan, sekaligus mengurangi emisi gas buang. Tentu saja sebagai negara yang sangat memperhatikan aspek pariwisata, keberadaan GBT juga memperhitungkan keamanan dan keindahan yang bisa disuguhkan sekaligus selama perjalanan melintasi terowongan itu.

Dukungan Sistem Keamanan yang Menyeluruh

Maka tak heran jika detil pembangunannya melibatkan beragam perhitungan yang sangat baik. Dibangun tepat pada kedalaman 2,3 kilometer, terowongan Gotthard dilengkapi sistem keamanan ETCS (European Train Control System) Level 2. Sistem ini sangat penting dalam melakukan pemantauan, pelacakan dan analisa pergerakan, kecepatan, route dan tujuan kereta dengan akurat. Sistem ini terhubung langsung melalui Radio Block Center (RCB) sepanjang waktu. Komisi Eropa memang telah lama menetapkan sistem standar keamanan kereta api yang disebut ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System). Awalnya, ERTMS adalah sebuah proyek industri dari delapan asosiasi manufaktur perkeretaapian negara-negara anggota Uni Eropa yang bergabung dalam satu wadah; UNIFE. Kedelapan asosiasi tersebut antara lain Alstom Transport, Ansaldo STS, AZD Praha, Bombardier Transportation, CAF, Mermec, Siemens Mobility and Thales.

Demi meningkatkan kualitas baku keamanan lalu lintas kereta, ERTMS kemudian disepakati sebagai standar wajib pada kereta api berkecepatan tinggi (sekitar 160km/jam) di wilayah Uni Eropa. Saat ini, sistem dan teknologi ERTMS mulai diadopsi oleh beberapa negara Asia seperti China, Korea Selatan, India, dan Arab Saudi. ERTMS memiliki dua komponen yaitu ETCS dan GSM-R (Global System for Mobile communication-Railway). ETCS merupakan sistem proteksi kereta otomatis (Automatic Train Protection/ATP) untuk menggantikan sistem keamanan sebelumnya, sedangkan GSM-R merupakan sistem radio penyedia suara dan data komunikasi antara trek dan kereta api yang mengadopsi standar GSM melalui penggunaan frekuensi, serta fungsi khusus untuk aplikasi kereta.

Secara spesifik, ETCS memiliki tiga level. Proses signalling (pensinyalan/telekomunikasi) pada ETCS Level 1 menggunakan kabel transmisi di sepanjang rel kereta api, dipadukan dengan sirkuit track dan Eurobalise (semacam transponder) untuk memantau posisi, jarak serta kecepatan kereta. ETCS Level 2 merupakan penyempurnaan dari ETCS Level 1. Masih menggunakan sircuit track pada level 1 namun dilengkapi dengan komunikasi radio GSM-R yang menghubungkan radio block center dengan kereta api guna mengatur dan memantau kecepatan sesuai batas yang telah ditentukan, serta eurobalise yang dipasang untuk mendeteksi posisi kereta. Terakhir,ETCS Level 3 yang hampir sama dengan Level 2 tetapi tanpa sirkuit trek, jadi komunikasi dengan control center (stasiun) hanya menggunakan radio yang terhubung melalui eurobalise.

Fasilitas keselamatan di Terowongan Gotthard juga tak kalah hebat. Setiap stasiun dilengkapi alat deteksi kebakaran dan kebocoran bahan kimia berbahaya, detektor pemanasan berlebih (overheating) serta pos pemeriksaan muatan juga selalu siaga 24 jam.

Hemat Energi

Gotthard Base Tunnel diklaim sebagai terowongan dengan konsumsi energi yang hemat. Pasokan listrik terowongan yang berhasil menggeser Seikan Tunnel di Jepang ke posisi kedua tersebut diperoleh dari pembangkit listrik tenaga air yang ada di Amsteg wilayah Uri dan di Ritom, wilayah Ticino. Berdasarkan analisis dari tim simulasi independen dan Kereta Api Federal Swiss (SBB/Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) konsumsi energi yang diperlukan GBT lebih kecil 10 persen dari yang diperlukan sebelumnya.

Layanan dan kapasitas lalu lintas kereta barang yang cepat (100 km/jam) dan bebas dari kemacetan juga memungkinkan penghematan energi sebesar 33 persen. Hal ini, antara lain terjadi karena “flat rail” memungkinkan kereta api mampu menghemat konsumsi energi akibat sistem pengereman mekanik (mechanical braking system) yang menguras energi. Selain itu, hal ini tentu saja berdampak pada menurunnya pencemaran udara yang saat ini menjadi sorotan dunia dan solusinya tengah gencar dilaksanakan.

Dengan detil semacam ini, pantaslah jika Swiss berbangga. Gotthard Base Tunnel menjadi salah satu sarana transportasi canggih di dunia dengan memaksimalkan sumber daya alam yang tersedia di dalamnya. Sebagai informasi, sebanyak hampir 30 juta ton batuan hasil galian terowongan ini digunakan untuk membangun danau Uri dan pemandian Las Clause di Sedrun.

Kapan giliran Indonesia bisa membangun terowongan secanggih ini ya?

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