Sustainable and intelligent infrastructure in Zermatt

10 July 2024

Zermatt is a truly unique destination nestled in the Swiss Alps. The town is primarily renowned for its iconic Matterhorn Mountain, which stands at 4,478 meters and is one of the highest and most recognizable peaks in the Alps. Zermatt’s landscape includes 38 peaks over 4,000 meters. With around 2.5 million overnight stays recorded in 2023, Zermatt is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. However, due to the town’s remote location and rugged terrain, Zermatt faces specific challenges. These include the need for reliable and sustainable infrastructure and the management of natural risks, such as avalanches and extreme weather events, which can disrupt infrastructure and pose safety concerns. These factors, combined with the altitude difference, oxygen-deficient air, and steep terrain, underscore the need for innovative solutions. For decades, together with its innovative customers, Siemens has been developing technological solutions to meet these challenges.  

Monte Rosa Hut
The Monte Rosa Hut, located 2,883 meters above sea level, is one of the most iconic mountain huts in Switzerland. The high-tech hut has been equipped with Siemens building technology since its reopening in 2010. In 2021, 8.6 tons of lead batteries were replaced by 2.7 tons of lithium batteries.

Continuous online evaluation of energy flows indicated the need for a new solution as the existing lead batteries would soon reach the end of their lifespan.  The hut operates mainly autonomously and is largely self-sufficient in its energy needs. With the building management system Desigo CC, as the comprehensive on-site solution to manage all the systems, such as HVAC, Shading, Lighting, Power, Fire Safety, and Security, the operator can quickly review the key equipment values, check key room KPIs, and troubleshoot any potential problems.  

In 2024, the open and flexible IoT platform “Building X” from Siemens was deployed. Building X is the scalable digital building platform to digitalize, manage, and optimize building operations, allowing for an enhanced user experience, increased performance, and improved sustainability.  

Zermatt Bergbahnen AG
Zermatt Bergbahnen AG is Switzerland’s largest cable car company. The cable car station “Matterhorn glacier paradise” is Europe’s highest cable car station at 3,883 m above sea level. It offers year-round snow experiences and stunning views of 38 peaks over 4,000 m. The Matterhorn summer paradise offers bike trails, adventurous kickbike and dirt scooter descents, and 400 km hiking trails. In the winter, the company offers, together with Cervinia/Valtournenche, 54 lifts and a total of 360 km of slopes.

Infrastructure in mountainous and challenging terrain demands high standards due to factors such as altitude, low oxygen levels, and rapidly changing weather. Siemens and Zermatt Bergbahnen share a long-standing and successful partnership in areas such as low-voltage power supply and state-of-the-art control solutions, which has been expanded with the completion of the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing and the connection from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise to Testa Grigia in Italy. Siemens solutions provide complete transparency and traceability of the system, thereby ensuring a seamless energy management overview of the entire infrastructure. This system ensures that all the energy values can be managed directly on the control units and displayed graphically on a state-of-the-art display/HMI or SCADA. Data from different subsystems provided by a wide range of manufacturers can be easily integrated into the overall Siemens system via standardized interfaces.

Gornergrat Railway and Matterhorn Gotthard Railway
The Gornergrat Railway (GGB) and Matterhorn Gotthard Railway (MGB) are part of the BVZ Group, which includes 10 subsidiaries. The BVZ Group provides public transport and tourism services in the cantons of Valais, Uri, and Grisons.

The GGB adopted the first cloud-based operational model in 2017, which was facilitated by Siemens Mobility. It ensures seamless and reliable operation. This innovative approach eliminates the need for on-site server infrastructure and allows for the remote management of critical systems. The integrated control and information system, known as “Iltis”, enhances operational efficiency and safety. This system enables remote control of signaling, monitoring of operations, and management of passenger information systems.

Another world premiere in 2023: The first mobile depot control system in the cloud, the Controlguide® TrackOps Depot, for the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn. Controlguide® TrackOps Depot is an innovative depot control solution, enabling the local management of shunting activities and streamlining depot operations. Utilizing cloud-based technologies, Siemens provided flexible and scalable depot control solutions to ensure the efficient management of railway operations. Tablet-based control interfaces were introduced for depot operations, thereby enabling the simplified and efficient management of shunting activities directly from the field.