Sart-Up of the first TBM in the Austrian Part of the BBT

The start-up ceremony for the first TBM to be used in the Austrian part of the Brenner Base Tunnel was celebrated on September 26th, 2015. On June 26th, exactly three months ago, the first of 75 heavy transports carrying the individual parts of the TBM reached the construction site in Ahrental. This machine, which is 200 meters long and weighs 1,800 tons, took only three months to assemble and will now start making its way through the rock towards Brenner.

The start-up ceremony for the first TBM to be used in the Austrian part of the Brenner Base Tunnel was celebrated on September 26th, 2015. On June 26th, exactly three months ago, the first of 75 heavy transports carrying the individual parts of the TBM reached the construction site in Ahrental. This machine, which is 200 meters long and weighs 1,800 tons, took only three months to assemble and will now start making its way through the rock towards Brenner.

Almost exactly a year after works started on the Tulfes-Pfons construction lot and three months after the first part of the machine reached the site in Ahrental, the first TBM to be used in the Austrian part of the Brenner Base Tunnel began work today.

It is an open machine with grippers and a 200-metre back-up built by Herrenknecht in Schwanau (Germany) and it was transported to the site in Ahrental in 76 separate pieces, the heaviest of which weighed 120 tons. Assembling the machine is an enormous technical challenge. The entire front part was assembled 3.5 km below the surface, inside the mountain itself, in the assembly chamber that is 50x15x15 m3. The back-up parts, on the other hand, were assembled aboveground in the construction area and moved through the Ahrental access tunnel to the head of the machine.

The engineers and workers worked day and night for three months to assemble the machine, which is already moving southwards to excavate another 15 km of exploratory tunnel. Using conveyor belts, 1000 tons of spoil per hour (600 of which from the mechanized excavation and 400 tons from drill and blast) are carried from the rock faces directly to the disposal site in Ahrental.

Technical data for the TBM:
• Type:  open TBM with grippers
• Potenza erogata:  5,500 kW
• Total length of the TBM including backup: 200 m
• Total weight of the TBM including backup: 1,800 tons
• Diameter of the cutting head: 7,930 mm
• Weight of the cutting head: 150 tons
• Cutters: 38 19” cutters
• Twin double-cut cutter discs: 4 19” cutters
• Loading scoops:  6 scoops


The two CEOs of BBT SE, Raffaele Zurlo and Konrad Bergmeister, the representatives of the contractor consortium Strabag/Salini-Impregilo, the President of Tyrol Günther Platter, the ÖBB Infrastruktur AG BOD member Franz Bauer and representatives of RFI took part in the ceremony.

Main data on the Tulfes-Pfons construction lot

In June of 2014, the Tulfes-Pfons construction lot was awarded to the Strabag/Salini-Impregilo temporary consortium; the values of the contract is about 380 million Euro. Excavation works began in September 2014. By the Spring of 2019 over 38 km of tunnels will have been excavated and over 5 km of these will already have been completed at the end of September 2015.

The emergency tunnel, which is 9.7 km long and runs parallel to the Innsbruck bypass tunnel, will be excavated starting from three separate starting points, one in Tulfes and two in the Ahrental access tunnel, from where the excavation will move both eastwards and westwards.  Works should be completed in 2017.

The Ahrental access tunnel will also be the starting point for both the mechanized excavation of the exploratory tunnel and the excavation of the main tunnels and the northern connecting tunnel, which will link the Brenner Base Tunnel with the Innsbruck bypass. The start of work on the main tunnels was celebrated on March 19th 2015 in the presence of European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc and the 7 Ministers for Transport of the Alpine States.

Since Summer of 2015, excavation work has been under way on the Innsbruck emergency stop, which is located under the town of Patsch and Innsbruck-Igls and is 470 m long.


For further information please contact:

Mag. Simon Lochmann
Communications Director
Brenner Basistunnel BBT SE / Galleria di Base del Brennero
Tel. +43 512 4030-570
Cell. +43 664 8216705
Email simon.lochmann@bbt-se.com