Boring simultaneously between Erfurt and Leipzig
German transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee recently set two tunnel boring machines in motion at the same time to start work on building the Finne Tunnel. Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau is a joint venture partner in the construction of the seven-kilometre rail tunnel, which will form part of a new rail link between Erfurt and Leipzig in eastern Germany.
The two single-track tunnels, each eleven metres in diameter, are being bored simultaneously. Meanwhile, the tunnel tubes are being excavated from the other end using traditional methods. The tunnels make it possible for high-speed trains to pass the Finne hills underground with a speed of threehundred kilometres per hour.
It takes a train one hour and fifteen minutes to travel the 123 kilometres between Erfurt and Leipzig/Halle. After completion of the Finne Tunnel in 2011, travel time will be reduced to just over half an hour. The trajectory is part of the rail link between Berlin and Munich, which in its turn is part of the high-speed rail link between Italy and Scandinavia.