On 08.09.2016, the Swiss 'Bundesamt für Verkehr' (BAV) announced that it would no longer allow Bombardier TRAXX locomotives with ETCS Level 2 to run on the Gotthard-route, including the Gotthard base tunnel. This would mean that TRAXX locomotives of the type 486 (BLS Cargo), BR 186 (Railpool), Re 487 (SRT) and BR 187 (Railpool) would be banned from one of the most important transalp freight routes in Switzerland as of this December, as BAV only granted operation with ETCS level 2 for these types under a limited-term operating license valid until November 2016.
BAV made its decision based on a 'accumulation of disturbances' causing forced braking by locomotives resulting in operational interruptions and delays. BAV offered its help to Bombardier to solve the issues so railfreight operation with these machines could continue in December, which was gladly accepted. Today Bombardier officially announced that a solution has been found. This must be a great relief to all companies and operators involved:
Bombardier announced today that its TRAXX locomotives, upgraded with the latest automatic train protection software (Railcolor: the latest version of EBI Cab 2000), have been approved for operation on Switzerland's Gotthard Base Tunnel. This authorization milestone was achieved in close cooperation between the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT), SBB Infra, BLS Cargo and Bombardier.
"We thank the FOT, SBB Infra and BLS Cargo for the constructive teamwork that will enable our TRAXX locomotives to operate reliably and efficiently in the Gotthard Base Tunnel", said Albert Bastius, Head of Product Line Locomotives, Bombardier Transportation, "We are now continuing to see that the implementation of our latest software progresses well on the many locomotives in operation, so that our customers benefit from this updated version."
(..) The new software version will enable the TRAXX MS and AC locomotives (Re 486, BR 186, Re 487, BR 187) to run on all sections of the Gotthard Tunnel's track, including those using the advanced European Train Control System (ETCS) in Level 2 operation.
Locomotives that are not yet retrofitted can still run on all other lines in Switzerland, including those equipped with ETCS. In double traction operation as the non-leading locomotive, the locomotives can be operational even on the Gotthard Axis.
Update: A BLS Cargo freight train under ETCS level 2 on the Gotthard line on 01.12.2016: