Gotthard "Sissi" Cutterhead as a witness in the Swiss Museum of Transport
Lucerne, Switzerland / Schwanau, Germany, June 25, 2012. On October 15, 2010, at exactly 2.17 pm, the "Sissi" tunnel boring machine broke through the eastern tube of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel of the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA). After commencing tunnelling in 2003, the Gotthard miners were finally able to shake hands in the 57-km railway tunnel – the longest in the world – and write transport history at the same time. Sissi's breakthrough received enormous attention at the time: more than 2,500 online articles reported on the event and a photo of the breakthrough appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Since June 23, 2012, the Sissi cutterhead has been welcoming visitors at the entrance portal of the renowned Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne.
The Sissi cutterhead now on display was deployed for three years on the Faido‒Sedrun section in the eastern tube for the Arge TAT (AlpTransit-Ticino Tunnel) coordinated by Implenia. The TBM had an overall length of 450 meters. This gigantic machine pushed each of the 66 disc cutters against the rock exerting a pressure of up to 26 tonnes to crush the rock. After the breakthrough, the TBM was dismantled and transported in segments back through the rear of the tunnel – parallel to final completion of the tunnel tubes. The cutterhead was then refurbished so as to retain its original condition even when exposed to weathering on the exhibition campus. A model of a gripper tunnel boring machine and other key items involved in building the Swiss railway tunnels can be seen in the Rail Transport Hall at the Swiss Museum of Transport.
- Diameter 9.43m
- Weight: 225t
- Cutterhead power: 3.5MW (4,700HP)
- Thrust force: max. 2,500t
- Rotational speed: 6 rpm
- Torque: > 6,000kNm
- Performance rate: up to 38m/day
- TBM operation: 320 days/year, 17 men/shift
- Manufacturer: Herrenknecht AG, Schwanau, Germany
- Cutterhead year of construction: 2006; in operation from 2007 to 2010