Train traffic will continue to be interrupted for at least another seven weeks due to unstable rock slopes in Burden, delaying the reopening of the tunnel beyond its planned Easter deadline.
On Thursday, CFL confirmed the original reopening date would be pushed back, continuing to complicate matters for trains on line 10, which links Luxembourg to Troisvierges and Gouvy.
In a presentation, the railway operator said they would not be able to keep to the planned reopening date of 17 April. CFL has not yet been able to fix a new date for the reopening of the Schieburg tunnel, which has been closed since a landslide in August 2022.
In addition, recent heavy rainfall has triggered unstable rocks around the area of Burden, causing CFL to close the railway as a precautionary measure for fear of further landslides.
As a result, there will be no trains between Ettelbruck and Clervaux until works have been completed.
The reason behind the renovation delays is linked to the size of a cavity within the structure between the Kautenbach and Wilwerwiltz stations. For months, workers have been placing cement and concrete on this structure, only to discover the interior cavity is larger than expected. Where previously ten instalments of drilling work were planned to stabilise the inside of the cavity, workers will now have to increase this to 70. The unplanned work will set the project back by six weeks or so.
CFL hopes to announce a revised completion date by the end of next week.
At least six weeks to stabilise the rock
The railway operator halted all train traffic on line 10 between Ettelbruck-Kautenbach and Kautenbach-Wiltz as a precautionary measure, due to the risk of further landslides.
This is the first time in decades that the CFL has faced such security risks, CFL director general Marc Wengler explained on Thursday during a press conference at the station.
In Luxembourg, 5% of the railways - around 13 kilometres - traverse rocky terrain, including an 8.5 km stretch north of Ettelbruck. CFL invests around 1.2 million euros each year to develop these railways.
At Burden on Thursday morning, CFL explained they have established the rocks around the tunnel present a bigger issue than previously expected. This week, however, heavy rains have led to further movement within the rocky mass, causing what they deemed a "risk of instability of the rock face in a place which is difficult to reach."
After an assessment by an expert, CFL took the decision to stop train circulation in the area, due to heightened security risks. It is now likely to take another seven weeks before the route will reopen.
Replacement bus services have been put in place between Ettelbruck and Kautenbach as well as between Kautenbach and Wiltz. Travellers are invited to consult the CFL website for further details.