New World’s longest tunnel in Switzerland

gtthrdtnnlA giant drilling machine has finished punching through rock under the Swiss Alps, completing the world’s longest tunnel.


“At 57 kilometres (35.4 miles) the Gotthard Base Tunnel has now become the world’s longest railway tunnel.”


Just overtaking Japan’s undersea Seikan Tunnel to claim the title.

The new tunnel is one of two new tunnels through the Swiss Alps, brining the total underground length of the project to 151 kms (94 miles), and when completed will be expand the amount of rail traffic that is able to pass through the alps from north to south.

Traffic over the existing Gotthard Pass has increased tenfold since 1980, hence the need for a new route.  It was decided to build a system of rail tunnels so as to remove the number of trucks that use the narrow roads over the pass.

The new tunnel means that the number of trains carrying passengers and freight between Italy and Germany will be able to increase markedly in number and size. 


“Trains will also be able to travel a lot faster through the tunnels.”


They’ll be able to reach speeds of up to 250 kmh (155.3 mph), lessening travel time by about an hour.

But the first trains to rumble through the tunnel won’t begin their journeys for about seven years.  The first phase of the tunnel, the drilling, has just been completed, now engineers have to make the tunnels suitable for high speed rail traffic.

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