Railways & Subway

Railway link Laveno-Bellinzona

Development of studies for choosing the railway routes Lugano-Chiasso and Gronda Ovest
Owner/client R.F.I. S.p.A.
Type of service Feasibility Study; Prefeasibility Environmental Assessment
Location Lombardy Region and Switzerland
Period 2006 - 2008
Cost € 800.000.000

PRO ITER Prog. Infrastr. Terr. (55%); Poyry Infra; Centro Studi PIM

The feasibility and environmental setting study for the railway link Laveno-Bellinzona, named 'Gronda merci Ovest', is based on the analysis of three corridors.

The three corridors ('LA.CA: Laveno-Cadenazzo'; 'LA.VE: Laveno-Vezia'; 'LU.VE: Laveno - Luino-Vezia') are supplemented and partially replaced by further alternative routes (LA.VE.2 and LU.VE.2) located more inside the territory, but linked to Luino through an interconnection. The corridors towards Vezia are linked to the NFTA line (Alp Transit).

The area affected by the possible routes extends from the Lombard side of Lake Maggiore to the west side of Lake Lugano, on the border between Italy and Switzerland.


The routes considered shall be approx. 40-50 km long and, as far as the landscape characteristics and the mainly underground altitude profile (90% in tunnel, 10% in the open air) are concerned, the interferences with inhabited areas on the surface are very seldom. Also with respect to the landscape-environmental system, which is characterized by a high natural value, the structural features adopted help to solve any critical conflicts between the new infrastructure and the landscape.

The model used for the various solutions consists in supplementing the current historical line with the new single-track line, ensuring an operating performance of 120 trains a day. As to underground works, these include a main single-track tunnel and a safety gallery parallel to the main tunnel, for the safety of users. For both works, a shielded machine should be used.

The study and the analysis of the corridors are based on the assessment of all critical elements for a technical-economic definition of the routes (cost, time, length, impact on the territory, working capability and train performance), in order to reach the final comparison phase based on the 'Multi-criteria analysis': thanks to this tool it is possible to compare the various route options, taking into account different criteria so as to establish a ranking of the preference levels of each option and discover the most appropriate one, which in this case is the route Laveno-Vezia with an interconnection towards Luino (LU.VE.2).

Corridors study and analysis are based on the evaluation of all the decisive elements for the technical-economic definition of the routes to reach the final stage of comparison through the "Multi-Criteria Analysis".