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Longest Railway Tunnel in World Opens

June 3rd, 2016
Gotthard Tunnel. Photo credit: AlpTransit

Giant tunnel drill behind workers working on the Gotthard Tunnel. Photo credit: AlpTransit

Six years ago, back in 2010, HTE posted a story about how the world’s longest railway tunnel was under construction in Switzerland.

At that point it had already been under construction for over a decade. It had been voted to be built nearly a quarter of a century ago! The idea to build it was first sketched nearly 70 years ago — about as old as some of your grandparents!

Yesterday … it was finally ready!

It’s 35 miles (57 km) long and runs 7,500 feet (2,300 meters or about 1.5 miles) beneath the Swiss Alps, a famous mountain range in Switzerland. It even runs underneath an old tunnel that was there before.

It took a total of 17 years to build at a cost of $12 billion!

28 million tons of rock were excavated. Two million truckloads of earth were removed!

The tunnel connects northern and southern Europe. The opening of this tunnel was such a big deal that the Germany’s leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, France’s president, Francois Hollande, and Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, were all there to celebrate, as was Austria’s chancellor Christian Kern.

Top left, Switzerland's leader Schneider-Amman. Top right, Germany's Angela Merkel. Beside Chancellor Merkel is France's Francoise Hollande. Bottom left is Italy's Matteo Renzi.

Top left, Switzerland’s leader Johann Schneider-Ammann. Top right, Germany’s Angela Merkel. Beside Chancellor Merkel is France’s Francois Hollande. Bottom left is Italy’s Matteo Renzi.

Germany is Switzerland’s northern neighbor, Italy its southern neighbor, France is its western neighbor, and Austria its eastern neighbor.

Map credit:

Map credit:

It’s called the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Image via CNN.

Image via CNN.

Eventually, 325 freight and passenger trains will go through the tunnel relieving a lot of traffic on the roadways there and making it a more environmentally friendly option.

This video shows 360 degrees of the inside of the tunnel and some of the behind-the-scenes.

This video was made before the tunnel was completed but gives a good sense of the project (any commercials originate with the video, not HTE)

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is an incredible feat of engineering! Makes us want to visit it!

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