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Gotthard Base Tunnel, world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel opens in Switzerland: 10 stunning facts

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Wed June 01 2016, 5:53 pm
  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel, Gotthard Base Tunnel, opens in Switzerland. The tunnel runs through the heart of the Alps and can be called nothing less than an engineering marvel. High-speed trains will whisk passengers in 17 minutes through a passage that took days until the first Alpine rail tunnel opened in 1882. Around 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will traverse the two-tube tunnel daily once final testing ends later this year. We take a look at 10 stunning facts about Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel.(Image by AlpTransit Gotthard AG)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    The 57.1-km (35.5 mile)-long Gotthard Base Tunnel, 17 years under construction and designed to last a century, is part of a 23 billion Swiss franc infrastructure project to speed passengers and cargo by rail under the mountain chain that divides Europe's north and south. (Image by AlpTransit Gotthard AG)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    The tunnel along Europe's main rail line that connects the ports of Rotterdam in the north to Genoa in the south snakes through the mountains as much as 2.3 km below daylight and through rock as hot as 46 degrees Celsius (114.8°F). (AP Photo)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    The rail route goes over the pass now in a series of loops and tunnels. The new flat route means even heavy trains will need only one locomotive rather than two or three. (Reuters Photo)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    Engineers had to dig and blast through 73 kinds of rock as hard as granite and as soft as sugar. Nine workers died. Swiss voters -- despite opposition at times from the government and parliament -- supported the gargantuan rail project in a series of binding referendums in the 1990s. (Image by AlpTransit Gotthard AG)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    Fittingly, the first ones to travel the tunnel at the official opening will be 500 lucky winners plus guests from the 130,000 who entered a ticket lottery for the inaugural trip. (Image by AlpTransit Gotthard AG)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    The overall project includes the Loetschberg rail tunnel that has already opened, the Cereti tunnel still being built and renovations to make rail tunnels at least 4 metres high at the corners to be able to handle big freight containers. Work is due to finish in 2020. (Image by AlpTransit Gotthard AG)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    The mammoth rail venture is being financed by value-added and fuel taxes, road charges on heavy vehicles and state loans that are due to be repaid within a decade. Major contractors included Alpiq, Balfour Beatty , Thales and Heitkamp. (Image by AlpTransit Gotthard AG)

  • Gotthard Base Tunnel, world longest rail tunnel, Switzerland rail tunnel

    In November and December 2015, the incremental speed tests were done, During these, the travel speeds in the world's longest railway tunnel were steadily increased up to a maximum of 275 km/h. Up to the end of May, 2016, around 5,000 test runs were conducted. (Image by AlpTransit Gotthard AG) - With inputs from Reuters

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