Explore Ticino thanks to the Ceneri Base Tunnel

From 13 December 2020, Ticino will be even closer when the 15.4km-long railway tunnel between Lugano and Bellinzona becomes operational. Closer to the rest of Switzerland, but that’s not all... It will also be much easier to explore Ticino during the holidays. Here’s how.

The AlpTransit project not only brings the cities of Ticino closer to the rest of Switzerland, it also brings them closer to each other. Thanks to the Ceneri Base Tunnel, which is due to open in under a year, journey times in the Bellinzona-Locarno-Lugano triangle will be cut by almost half. 

A dream of a mobility that is getting closer: a breakfast of cappuccino and pastries in Locarno’s Piazza Grande before jumping on a train to Lugano just in time for the museums to open. Or dinner in Piazza della Riforma in Lugano before enjoying an evening screening at the Locarno Film Festival in Piazza Grande. A world of opportunities will open up thanks to the Ceneri Base Tunnel and the strengthening of the Locarno railway line, which will bring trains and their passengers from Locarno to Lugano in just 30 minutes.  This means that while staying in the sunny region of Lake Maggiore, opportunities to discover Ticino’s traditions in its other cities will be within easier reach.

The Ceneri Base Tunnel is the natural southward continuation of the Gotthard Base Tunnel – operational since 2016 – for high-speed rail traffic. Work began in 2006 and was completed in 2019. The tunnel will be operational in December 2020 with a new FFS timetable.

The tunnel, which will be opened with lavish official celebrations on 12 and 13 December 2020, is part of a much larger project aimed at creating a “lowland railway” through Switzerland with the goal of achieving greater freight transport capacity, reduced journey times for passenger trains and a fast regional network in Ticino. At 15.4km, the Ceneri Base Tunnel is the third largest railway project in Switzerland, after the Gotthard Base Tunnel and the Lötschberg Base Tunnel. It is a project that brings the cities of Ticino closer together, inviting visitors to explore this region with its Mediterranean charm, relaxed atmosphere and Latin warmth. In 2020, Monte Ceneri is also celebrating the opening of the “Via del Ceneri” story, a themed itinerary that links Monte Ceneri to Cadenazzo and highlights historically important points of interest such as the Precassino mill and the square on the pass.

The project stages in brief:

2 June 2006 – work started
26 January 2016 – excavation completed
26 July 2017 – track laying started
29 August 2019 – railway technology installation completed
March 2020 – first train through the tunnel
4 September 2020 – official opening of the tunnel
12-13 December 2020 – celebrations for the tunnel’s start of operations

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