Luxembourg Schieburg tunnel to reopen this summer after year-long closure

Works near the Schieburg tunnel CFL

Since a rockfall last summer in the Schieburg tunnel in Luxembourg, CFL has been working to stabilise the tunnel and its surroundings. Traffic will resume on Saturday, 5 August 2023 after almost a year-long closure, railway manager CFL announced. However, the originally planned works will follow shorthly after the reopening, with another 20-day closure.

The main work CFL carried out consisted of stabilising the area of rock above the Schieburg tunnel, part of the Northern railway line Kautenbach – Wilwerwiltz, which continues on to Belgium. In the hilly Ardennes, a rockfall occurred near the tunnel on August 27 last year, coincidentally during a planned closure of the section, since August 20. However, due to the fact that first the removal of the rock and stabilisation works had to be carried out, the tunnel remained closed for much longer than originally planned. The line between Kautenbach and Clervaux remained closed to rail traffic, and a replacement bus service was set up by CFL.

To stabilise the rocks, 49 boreholes and 45 injections of concrete (totalling 414 square metres) have been completed since January 2023. A total of 18 anchors have been installed, including 10 anchors nearly 80 metres long installed from the outside and 8 anchors installed from the inside to secure the injected areas to the seine bedrock.

The rocks piled up in the Schieburg tunnel last year, image: CFL

Refurbishment can finally start

Now that the refurbishment work on the rockface has been completed, refurbishing works in the Schieburg tunnel itself can safely be started. This includes removing the pile of rock inside the tunnel, installing the final stability structure and restoring the tracks and electrical traction installations (catenaries) inside the tunnel. Depending on the progress of the current works, the resumption of traffic on the entire Northern line is scheduled for Saturday 5 August 2023.

However, CFL will carry out the originally planned works for last year in the period from the evening of 20 August to 10 September 2023. The work could not be carried out in parallel with the refurbishment of the Schieburg tunnel, as it also requires the use of specialised machinery that is rare in Europe for work of this scale, says CFL.
It involves the complete renewal of track over a length of more than 4 kilometres between Wilwerwiltz and Drauffelt, the replacement of wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers over several sections, and the renewal of the ballast under the tracks. For these works, traffic on the Ettelbruck – Gouvy and Kautenbach – Wiltz sections is interrupted.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Former Editor RailTech.com

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