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Rail Design Refuge Chambers for Koralm Project

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Rail Design chambers were built specifically for TBM contractor PORR AG to use throughout the KAT3 phase of the Koralm Tunnel Project.
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During November 2014, MineARC BDM Thomas Horton visited the southern state of Carinthia, Austria to commission two TunnelSAFE Rail Design refuge chambers. Ordered by TBM contractor PORR AG, the Rail Design chambers were built specifically for use throughout the KAT3 phase of the Koralm Tunnel Project.

TunnelSAFE Rail Design Refuge Chamber Austria

The Koralm high-speed railway line will connect the Austrian regions of Carinthia and Styria; reducing travel time between their capital cities Klagenfurt and Graz from three hours to less than an hour. The project, estimated to cost €11bn, includes 130km of double-track electrified line, 12 stations and stops, and a 32.9km-long tunnel – the longest in Austria to date.

The Koralm Tunnel will pass underneath the Koralpe mountain range, forming the central section of the railway line. The twin-tube tunnel will consist of two parallel monodirectional single-track tunnels, interconnected by cross-passages every 500m. An 830m-long emergency station will sit at the centre of the tunnel.

In construction since 2014, the KAT3 section of the project involves the excavation of a 12km twin-tube tunnel beginning in Carinthia. Development of the south tube comprises of conventional drill and blast excavation methods, for which MineARC has previously supplied a TunnelSAFE Standard Design chamber with blast resistance.

The north tube of KAT3 however is mainly driven with a tunnel boring machine (TBM), supplied by PORR AG. PORR approached MineARC to manufacture and supply two ‘rescue train’ style refuge chambers that could be mounted onto MSD wagons. Tailing the TBM throughout the life of the project, the TunnelSAFE Rail Design chambers will be coupled to small remote powered locomotives; controlled from within the MineARC chambers in the event of an emergency.

TunnelSAFE-rail-design-on track
TunnelSAFE Rail Design Refuge Chamber for Koralm Tunnel Project

The two ITA compliant refuge chambers feature an extra-low voltage (ELV) control system, with CO & CO2 scrubbing, Oxygen supply and 24 hours UPS battery back up. They also feature MineARC’s unique Pressurised Access Safety System (PASS) and Positive Pressure Maintenance System (PPMS); designed to ensure safe entry into the refuge chamber, as well as maintain positive internal pressure.

With KAT3 works expected to continue into 2020, the TunnelSAFE Rail Design Chambers will provide many years of safety support throughout the project. To read more about the Koralm Tunnel Project, click here.

MineARC’s TunnelSAFE Rail Design Chambers also have the capability to be mounted onto multi-service vehicles (MSV’s). Herrenknecht is the latest client to utilise this option, recently ordering an MSV mounted chamber for the Brenner Base Tunnel Project in Austria. To read more about this project, click here.


For more information regarding MineARC’s tunnelling solutions, please contact us.

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