SBB rock removal operation in Switzerland

SBB eliminates giant rock posing risk to railway

A before and after image shared by SBB this week. 2023, SBB

SBB has wrapped up the operation to remove a giant 500-tonne boulder that threatened a railway in the valley below. The rock had come off the rockface, the Swiss railways discovered in April. SBB began breaking up and removing the rock last month.

The work happened on the Ross mountain, which is prone to rock movements and pieces falling off. One such rock was discovered in April, and it had already slid dow onto a terrace some 300 meters above the railway line between Zug and Arth-Goldau. Upon discovery, sensors were installed to monitor the boulder, while the rock itself was secured with steel nets and ropes.

Once secured, SBB used explosive charges to break up the boulder into smaller pieces. This operation got underway on June 14. Train traffic in the valley was halted for 20 minutes around the blast. A small excavator was then put to work to break up the rock into even smaller pieces. The individual fragments are transported using a makeshift cable way to trucks in the valley. Further so-called loosening blasts happened over the past weeks, and the work was finalised on July 6, SBB said on Thursday.

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Author: Nick Augusteijn

Former Chief Editor of

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