[INFO] Gotthard Base Tunnel closure: update from 23 August 2023 & most frequent answers
The derailment in the Gotthard Base Tunnel on 10 August 2023 has a major impact on rail traffic. Passenger trains will be diverted until further notice.
In this article, I will try to summarise the most important facts and answer your most urgent questions about your journey. All information given here is solely based on the information as provided by SBB on their topic-related website (German only): Kundeninfo zur Gotthard Basistunnel Entgleisung | SBB News
_I will update my summary as soon as there is new information available. Please kindly note, as much as try to provide the most accurate information, there is no guarantee for correctness; the situation can change / improve at any time, making my summary incomplete.
Please bear in mind that there is great progress being made in the Gotthard tunnel repair work. The further you travel in the future, the better the situation may present itself. I would recommend checking the online timetable (https://www.sbb.ch/en) frequently for the latest information. There is little sense worrying about a train travel in October or later, as the situation can/will improve over the next weeks.
- A cargo train derailed on its journey through the Gotthard Base Tunnel on 10 August, causing severe damage to the tunnel infrastructure. No one was injured.
- Since the derailment, the tunnel has been closed to passenger rail traffic, and trains have to be rerouted via the old Gotthard line, also called the Gotthard panorama route. It is not yet known how long the closure will last. SBB announced repair work presumably will take until the beginning of year 2024.
What does that mean for travellers?
- For travelers, the detour of trains via the panoramic route means longer travel times:
- National connections
- On the following national routes you have to expect a longer travel time of one hour:
- Zurich - Chiasso
- Zurich - Lugano
- Basel - Chiasso
- Basel - Lugano
- International connections:
- The travel time for international connections from Switzerland to Italy and back takes one hour longer. Was a change of trains required over the last few days, you can again travel mostly directly to your destination without changing trains in Lugano or Chiasso. Note that the trains in Zurich, Zug and Arth-Goldau leave one hour earlier. Consult the online timetable for details: https://www.sbb.ch/en.
- Some international trains still require a change of trains in either Lugano or Chiasso.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when traveling internationally to and from Italy by train as of 24 August 2023:
What do I need to consider when traveling to Italy?
- In general:
- Your EuroCity reservation is train-specific. This means that the number on the ticket must correspond to the train number of the train actually used.
- Tickets purchased before August 28, 2023 can be rebooked for an earlier or later train free of charge. Please contact the company from where you bought the tickets.
- From/to Zurich:
- Despite the largely direct connections: The train to Bologna only departs from Chiasso. The train from Genoa only goes as far as Chiasso. For EC 312 from Milan to Zurich and EC 325 from Zurich to Milan you have to change trains in Chiasso. Please note the train number on your ticket.
- From/to Basel:
- The Eurocity trains from Basel, which operate via Lucerne to Italy, are currently only operating between Basel and Lugano and are cancelled between Lugano and Milan. These are operating within Switzerland as IC21. Until at least 17 September, it is recommended to choose a connection via Zurich. The same applies for the opposite direction.
- Via Simplon (Brig-Domodossola):
- The line between Domodossola and Milan will be closed to all trains from 21 August to 10 September 2023 due to construction work. This also affects EC connections from Geneva via Brig and from Basel-Bern via Lötschberg: you will have to change to replacement buses in Domodossola.
- The replacement buses are running with very limited capacity and reservations are required. Reservations can be made via the SBB Webshop or at the ticket counter.
- The journey time will be extended by around two hours. The online timetable has been adjusted accordingly.
- Check the online timetable (https://www.sbb.ch/en) to see which connection makes the most sense for you and your location.
You can find more detailed information in the online timetable. The timetable is up-to-date for international connections until 17 September 2023.
What do I do if I miss my connecting train?
You can have your ticket exchanged for a later connection at an SBB Travel Center or via the SBB Contact Center. If seats are available, you will also receive a reservation. For detailed information on any compensation or refunds, visit the SBB Help and Contact page: Refunds and compensation | SBB help & contact.
What do I do if I miss my connecting train in Milan, or Italy?
If you miss your connection in Italy due to the longer travel time of the EuroCity train, in most cases the “Agreement on onward journeys in international rail passenger traffic (AJC)” applies. For example, if you have a connection with a Freccia train, Trenitalia will rebook you on the next Freccia train, if seats are available. To do so, contact one of Trenitalia’s numerous “Assistenza Desks” in the center of the arrival hall at Milano Centrale. Please note that you can only board another Freccia or Intercity train if you have previously obtained a reservation at the Trenitalia desk.
Please note: This free rebooking is only possible if the provider of your connecting train is part of the AJC. Among others, the following providers are not part of the AJC:
- Trenord is not part of the AJC: If you miss your connection on a Trenord regional train, you can use the original ticket according to the printed validity on an alternative Trenord connection.
If the new connection falls outside the original printed validity, you must purchase a new ticket. You can do this, for example, on the Trenord website “Bigletti ferrovaiari: bigletti digitali e cartacei, como usarli” or on sbb.ch. For any claims for reimbursement, please contact an SBB Travel Center in Switzerland or the SBB Contact Center.
- Italo is not part of the AJC: please contact Italo at one of their “Assistenza Desk” in the middle of the arrivals hall in Milano for rebooking or refund questions. Unfortunately, SBB cannot refund Italo tickets.
Will my ticket be refunded if I do not make the trip?
The following applies to national and international travel: If you do not want to travel, please contact a local SBB Travel Center or SBB Contact Center (+41 51 225 78 56, 24/4, waiting times may occur). For more information and to find out which fare conditions apply to you, please visit the SBB help and contact page: Refunds and compensation | SBB help & contact.
My question was not answered here! What should I do?
You are welcome to ask your question here in the SBB Community, Furthermore, you are welcome to seek advice from any SBB Travel Center or SBB Contact Center (+41 51 225 78 56, 24/4, waiting times may occur).
I am keen to know more about the accident.
Swissinfo has great articles on the indicent: Broken wheel likely cause of Gothard tunnel derailment - SWI swissinfo.ch