NORMA Group, a global provider of engineered joining technology, has supplied the joining technology for the construction of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel. The tunnel will be officially inaugurated on 1 June 2016. It will then be the longest rail tunnel in the world at around 57 kilometres in length. NORMACONNECT FLEX pipe couplings connect the rainwater pipes in the two tubes of the tunnel.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel runs up to 2300 meters below the Alps and reduces the travel time from Zurich to Milan by approximately one hour. In the future, around 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will roll through these two tubes every day with a speed of up to 250 kilometers per hour. The costs of the tunnel amount to around EUR 11 billion in total. Construction took approximately 17 years. Around 284 million tons of rock mass had to be moved during construction. After its inauguration, the new railway tunnel will be put into scheduled operation on 11 December 2016.
NORMACONNECT FLEX pipe couplings connect metal, stainless steel, concrete and plastic pipes and insulate tightly where a gap between the pipe ends needs to be compensated for. The couplings can compensate for axial movements and changes in the length of straight pipe connections. The pipe joints of the FGR product range also eliminate fire hazards because they can be mounted without welding. The couplings resist high vibration loads due to their special geometry.