The idea of building a summit tunnel under the Brenner occurred to the Italian engineer Giovanni Qualizza as far back as 1847. But it was to be another 160 years before a base tunnel was built.

Construction milestones
20.08.2007Start of construction on the Mules access tunnel (Italy):
1.8 km, slope 9,3 %, cross-section 92 m², excavated by blasting
28.04.2008Start of mechanized excavation of the Aica exploratory tunnel (Italy):
10.5 km, with a double-shield tunnel boring machine (6.3 m in diameter)
23.10.2009Completion of the Mules access tunnel
04.12.2009Start of construction in Austria:
Sillschlucht (Sill gorge) exploratory tunnel: 5.4 km, cross-section 26 m², excavated by blasting
16.07.2010Start of construction on the Ahrental access tunnel (Austria):
2.4 km, cross-section 120 m², excavated by blasting
03.11.2010Breakthrough on the exploratory tunnel Aica-Mules
04.04.2011Start of excavation work on the Wolf I construction lot (Steinach am Brenner, Austria): logistic tunnels Saxen tunnel and Padaster tunnel
19.09.2011Start of excavation of the Ampass access tunnel (Austria):
1,350 metres in length, cross-section 35m², slope 10%, excavated by blasting
07.10.2011Start of construction work on the “Periadriatic Seam” construction lot (Italy):
3.7 km of main tunnels, 1.5 km of exploratory tunnel, contract amount 53.1 million Euro
24.06.2011Breakthrough on the Padaster tunnel (WOLF I construction lot, Steinach a.Br./Austria)
24.02.2012Breakthrough on the Saxen tunnel (WOLF I construction lot, Steinach a.Br./Austria)
11.10.2012Completion of the Ahrental access tunnel = Breakthrough on the access tunnel to the Sill gorge exploratory tunnel
01.07.2013Completion of the Ampass access tunnel
04.12.2013Start of excavation work on the Wolf II construction lot (Austria): 
Access tunnel: 4 km, cross-section 120 m²,  slope 10%
spoil removal tunnel 950 m, works for the Padaster valley disposal site
11.12.2013Completion of the Sill gorge exploratory tunnel
22.04.2014Start of works on the Patsch shaft (Austria), 180 m, excavated by blasting
04.09.2014Completion of the Patsch shaft (Austria)
18.09.2014Start of excavation work on the Tulfes-Pfons construction lot (Austria):
380 million Euro, 38 km, Construction time 55 months
31.10.2014Start of works on the Isarco river underpass construction lot (Italy):
301 million Euro, 4.2 km of main tunnels, 1.8 km of connecting tunnels
14.02.2015Breakthrough on the 950 m spoil removal tunnel (Wolf II construction lot, Austria)
19.03.2015First blast on both main tunnels in Ahrental (Austria) in the presence of EU-Commissioner Violeta Bulc and the Ministers of Transport of the 7 Alpine States
25.03.2015Completion of the construction lot “Periadriatic Seam”
26.09.2015Start of mechanized construction of the Ahrental–Pfons exploratory tunnel (Austria):
15 km, 200 m open gripper tunnel boring machine (8 m in diameter)
22.12.2015Completion of the Wolf access tunnel
05.01.2016Start of excavation on the Wolf exploratory tunnel
06.12.2016Start of excavation in Mules 2-3 construction lot

In 1971 the idea of a tunnel at the Brenner was dusted off again. The UIC, the International Union of Railways, commissoned a study for a new Brenner railway with a base tunnel. By 1989 three feasibility studies had been drawn up which formed the basis for further planning of the Brenner Base Tunnel.

This was the start of the planning activities. In 1994, the European Union included the Berlin-Naples corridor in the list of priority projects. Ten years later, Austria and Italy signed a State Treaty to build the Brenner Base Tunnel. In that same year, what is today the BBT SE was established. Construction work on the exploratory tunnel began in 2008.

Did you know …
... that the BBT is exclusively a railway tunnel?
Did you know …
... that both freight and passenger trains will travel through the BBT?
Did you know …
... that the BBT is one of the priority infrastructure projectes in the EU?
Did you know …
... that BBT SE is a public limited-liability company according to European law (legal structure "SE")?
Did you know …
... that the company's shares are held equally by the Republics of Austria and Italy?
Did you know …
... that the tunnel consists of two single-track main tubes?
Did you know …
... that the main tunnel tubes are already being built?
Did you know …
... that conveyor belts carry the excavated material underground to the deposits?
Did you know …
... that the BBT opens up the opportunity for more capacity for short-distance-traffic on the existing line?
Did you know …
... that the railway traction power supply is 25 kV 50 Hz?
Did you know …
... that the European-level signalling system ERMTS II will be installed?