The world’s longest train tunnel will officially open on Wednesday, nearly seven decades after the initial design was conceived. Measuring 57 km in length, situated 2.3km deep under the Alps and having cost €11bn to complete, Switzerland’s Gotthard base tunnel is more than just the world’s longest and most expensive tunnelling project. The Gotthard base tunnel is a marvel of engineering cutting under the Alps from Erstfeld to Bodio. The 57.1 kilometer (35.5 mile) long tunnel took 17 years to complete.
The rough design for a rail tunnel under the Gotthard Pass was first sketched by Swiss engineer Carl Eduard Gruner in 1947.
Some facts related to Gotthard Base Tunnel and its Rout
- The new £8.5bn Gotthard Base Tunnel measure 35.4 miles in length and is 7,545 feet below the Gotthard massif.
- The tunnel through the Swiss Alps was first conceived in sketch-form in 1947 but construction began 17 years ago.
- Journey time between Zurich and Milan will be cut by an hour thanks to trains hurtling along at up to 155mph.
The 53.85km Seikan tunnel in Japan is now the second longest tunnel in the world. It passes through Tsugaru Strait connecting the Hokkaido and Honshu islands.
The tunnel, which started excavation in 1999, will speed travel times across the Swiss Alps, ultimately connecting Zurich and Milan with trains moving at top speeds of more than 150mph. Since the project first started, more than 31 million tons of earth have been excavated, and eight workers have died.
The number of daily rail passengers is also set to rise from the current rate of 9,000 people to 15,000 by 2020.
It is hoped that the new tunnel will also lead to a growth in day-trip tourism and higher property values in nearby areas thanks to increased accessibility.