Atlas Copco involved in the construction of the Leipzig City Tunnel


Anja Kaulbach, Atlas Copco
Special Collaboration


As much as five Atlas Copco attachments are presently involved in the construction of the Leipzig City Tunnel providing the much-longed-for north-south link right through the city. Below the Leipzig Market Square in the Bayerischer Bahnhof station and below the central station auxiliary structures set up for the tunnelling operation are being demolished.

The City Tunnel is a century-old project. Already in the 19th century the industrialisation and the city’s growing import as a market place pushed the need for railroads in and around the city. History saw the construction of Leipzig’s stub-end railway station north of the town centre which provides no direct link to the centre. A tunnel solution was checked as often as it was rejected, and the same happened to the projected elevated railway line through the city. The tunnel was too visionary, the elevated railway line with its aesthetic drawbacks was not attractive enough to fit into the overall townscape.

But now the much-longed-for north-south link of the Leipzig central station becomes reality. Four new stations will link the city to the surrounding countryside and the road and bus network. New stops are created at the Bayerischer Bahnhof, Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz, the Market Square providing access to shopping facilities, university and places of cultural interest, as well as in the central station.

The Land of Saxony, the city of Leipzig and the Deutsche Bahn as principals have high hopes that the tunnel link will be a stimulant for the entire region.

Among other things the contractors Kafril GmbH from Großzschepa some 40 km east of Leipzig had to remove the auxiliary structures under the Leipzig Market Square as soon as the tunnelling job was completed. The company uses a total of three Atlas Copco hydraulic breakers, two HB 2500 and one HB 2200. Some 20 m below the surface the western section of a total of more than 4000 m3 of rebar concrete was demolished. These structures were temporarily erected as the station’s entrance and exit for the tunnelling machine. Another two Atlas Copco CC 3300 hydraulic combi cutters were used to crush the concrete and rebar in one go.

Under the Leipzig central station similar demolition work is in progress. In the Bayerischer Bahnhof station some 1500 m3 of concrete needed to make the working floor and access roads for the tunnelling machine have to be demolished.

In the past 100 years the history of the north-south link right through the city of Leipzig was an eventful one. Work on the tunnel already started in 1913 but was stopped after only 600 m by World War I. During the Second World War Leipzig’s stub-end railway station was heavily damaged. After the war the tunnel concept was picked up again as part of the post-war reconstruction efforts. At the end of the sixties the first test bores were made, but at the beginning of the seventies political quarrels ended up in the project being deferred for an indefinite period.

In January 2007 the tunnelling machine „Leonie“ at last started to dig its 22 m deep way through the city of Leipzig. In the meantime the tunnel is 4010 m long. The two single-track tunnel pipes are 9 m in diameter. The four stations all feature a platform between the tracks and have an inside width of 20 m. The tunnel tracks are designed for speeds of up to 80 km/h.

The finishing line is almost reached: the official tunnel inauguration is planned for 2012. Then passengers will be able to reach their destination inside Leipzig up to 20 minutes faster. The principals expect that many commuters will leave their cars at home and use public transport to go to work - another valuable contribution to environmental protection.

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