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Construction Blog Matterhorn Glacier Ride I

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Under the protection of the rockfall barriers and after clearing several tons of snow, a crane was erected for the further construction work, which was fixed on a base of 3.5 x 3.5 metres with 16 anchors of 8 metres each, and the blasting excavation of the new mountain station could begin. The biggest challenge: How should the drilling equipment be used expeditiously without a level working surface? "To overcome the problem, we created two temporary accesses to the highest point of the excavation from the access tunnel using small blasts and an excavator with a pick hammer.


After the construction site on the Klein Matterhorn could initially only be supplied by helicopter, a material cableway was built between the Laghi Cime Bianche (I) and Klein Matterhorn station in summer 2016 especially for the construction of the Matterhorn Glacier Ride I. The 4,015-metre-long material ropeway from Moosmair GmbH is capable of transporting a weight of 8 tonnes. During its construction, particular attention had to be paid to the cement mixture for the anchorage, which must be permafrost-compatible at such heights and must not cool prematurely during transport. Starting in summer 2016, most of the construction material was transported to the high-alpine mountain station via a 650m2 intermediate depot at Laghi Cime Bianche (I).


On the route of the Matterhorn Glacier Ride I, there are two pillars, each at the entrance to the stations, and three supports between the stations. The suspension cables run over these five elements. The pillars also ensure that the cabins enter the stations at the correct angle and support the station. Due to the extraordinary dimensions of the 3S cableway, 1,550 m3 of concrete had to be used for the two stations. Enormous quantities that would normally be sufficient for several railway installations. For the foundations of support 1 alone (2,941 m above sea level), 440 m3 of concrete were used. All the support material was transported to the construction site via Testa Grigia (I/CH) with a snow groomer and an attached sledge. A crawler crane from Clausen Transporte was used for the assembly. At support 2 (3,059 m a.s.l.), extensive excavation work, massive earth shifts and a total of 141.5 tonnes of reinforcing steel were necessary to anchor the support sufficiently due to the loose earth material. The so-called column feet protrude up to 35 metres into the rock there, of which only three metres are now visible. The work on support 3 (3,771 m above sea level) was also more demanding due to its exposed position. Here, a walking excavator transported over the glacier first removed ice to expose the rock for the excavation work. After the construction of the four foundations, an additional 52-metre-high crane had to be erected for the installation of the support material.

Rock protection at almost 4,000 m a.s.l.

Gasser Felstechnik AG in Lungern is a traditional and independent company in the Obwalden construction industry. Founded in 1922, the family business with ten branches is now owned by the fourth generation. The company is one of the leading addresses in Switzerland when things get tricky on or in the rock. Around 300 specially trained employees work in the core competencies of underground construction, rock support, blasting operations, special civil engineering and construction services. However, the activities also include various participations, Gasser Engineering AG, real estate and the tourist Brünig Park.

Interview with Nils Trauffer


Air Zermatt is one of the many partner companies that are actively supporting Zermatt Bergbahnen in its mammoth project - the construction of the world's highest 3S cableway.


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The Matterhorn Glacier Ride I is not only ultra-modern in terms of railway construction and a masterpiece of high-alpine architecture, but clean energy is also produced on the building facades of the railway stations.

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