IRSE Convention 2018

The previous IRSE Convention in Switzerland in 2006 in Interlaken was an extraordinary success. Participants have a very positive memory of the event to this day. Some 300 guests from around the world are expected at Convention 2018.

Safety in Long Railway Tunnels

The central theme of Convention 2018 is 'Safety in Long Railway Tunnels'. After 12 years, Switzerland’s railway sector will again have the chance to present itself to the world IRSE community. This is a considerable challenge, but also a unique opportunity to present our strengths, particularly in the engineering, commissioning and operation of very long railway tunnels with their complex safety-related systems and processes.

The five-day Convention 2018 will unfold in the Ticino region of southern Switzerland. The Convention starts in Lugano, Ticino’s largest city.

Gotthard Base Tunnel

A core highlight of Convention 2018 will be a visit to the 57-km Gotthard Base Tunnel, which opened in 2016. It is the longest railway tunnel in the world and one of the great projects of the 21st century. The design, planning and construction of the GBT and the 35-km Lötschberg Base Tunnel, which opened in 2007, have established Switzerland as a world-class centre of competence for building and operating railway tunnels of extreme length.

At Convention 2018, we will present unique operating concepts and safety systems unknown elsewhere. This will make the event extremely attractive for participants, not least because tunneling is increasing worldwide, especially in Asia.

Ceneri Base Tunnel

A visit to the construction site of the 23-km Ceneri Base Tunnel, set to open in 2020, will allow participants to thoroughly inspect a comparable facility and to deepen their understanding of the Swiss approach to safety in long tunnels both during construction and in commercial operation.

Many IRSE visitors from outside Switzerland are involved in implementing ETCS signalling. They will be able to closely study Switzerland’s experience over the last two decades with ETCS Level 2, which requires no lineside signals.

Albula Tunnel

Delegates will then travel to Pontresina, near St Moritz in the beautiful Engadin region, and witness first-hand the complex construction methods and safety measures for the replacement bore of Rhaetian Railway’s 6-km Albula tunnel, which is slated to open in 2021.

The mountainous setting of RhB’s meter-gauge network and local conditions raise special questions that call for answers we will gladly present to our professional audience.

Participants in IRSE Convention 2018 will also get to know some outstanding achievements of Swiss railway engineering of the past, including the Albula and Bernina railway lines, which are now UNESCO World Heritage sites and include such famous features as Landwasser Bridge, the six loops between Bergün and Preda and Brusio’s circular viaduct.