Swissmetro was invented in 1974 by EPFL engineer Rodolphe Nieth. The feasibility was confirmed by Professor Marcel Jufer, who led extensive studies by the EPFL and ETHZ from 1980 to 2009. It is a Maglev in an underground tunnel under partial air pressure. Rolling friction is eliminated with magnetic levitation (Transrapid principle) and air resistance is reduced by lowering the air pressure in the tunnels. The aim was to connect the Swiss urban centres with a modern, sustainable, ultra-fast transport system without impacting our historic cities, picturesque landscapes and alpine ecosystems. The system was successfully developed by the EPFL, ETHZ, and Swiss engineering and industrial companies. An application for a concession for a pilot line between Geneva and Lausanne was submitted to the Federal Government in 1997. The country was, however, already fully occupied with other national infrastructure projects (Rail 2000, Gotthard AlpTransit, etc.). In addition, the FOT-EVED had some reservations (switch and capacity, safety, choice of pilot line, financial concepts, etc.).
SwissMetro-NG (new generation)
SwissMetro-NG is the modern version of the original project. It is, so to speak, version 2.0. Air resistance is eliminated completely. The tunnel diameter and consequently the overall costs were significanly reduced. A new switch allows a drive-through operation without stopping and long vehicle compositions with large capacities (1200 seats). The reservations of the BAV-EVED are thus resolved and the conditions are now very favourable (completion of Bahn 2000, Gotthard AlpTransit, interest rates, new technical advances, etc.). SwissMetro-NG meets Switzerland’s strict requirements regarding CO2 emissions, landscape protection, speed, sustainability, tourism, capacity, safety, cost, network capability, economic efficiency, etc. and has supporters from all political directions. The ETHZ, EPFL, EMPA, universities of applied sciences and Swiss engineering and industrial companies are invited to participate in the reactivation. The time for SwissMetro-NG is now.
Swissmetro Reports 1970-2000