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Railway across the Alps

The new Gotthard Tunnel: in numbers

The last tests are being carried out in the new Gotthard tunnel, before the official opening on June 1 (SBB/Gian Vaitl)

The last tests are being carried out in the new Gotthard tunnel, before the official opening on June 1

(SBB/Gian Vaitl)

What links the Gotthard Base Tunnel to the London 2012 Olympics? Or to New York’s iconic Empire State Building? One month before the tunnel is inaugurated, swissinfo.ch brings you the extraordinary numbers that make up the world’s longest rail tunnel.

The wait has been a long one: 17 years to be precise. Now the countdown has begun and in exactly one month – June 1, 2016, the Gotthard Base Tunnel will be officially opened. The event will be attended by dignitaries from Switzerland and abroad, including heads of state and representatives from international organisations.

The new tunnel, hewn through mountain rock, will become one of the main rail links across the Alps. And it will be the longest in the world at 57 kilometres. But this is not the only impressive thing about it.


There is one stage of the building of the Gotthard Tunnel that has entered history: October 15, 2010. This was the date of the Gotthard tunnel breakthrough, deep in the eastern tunnel, between Sedrun and Faido. At 14.17 Switzerland had just completed excavating the longest railway tunnel in the world. It’s a record that’s set to stay for many years to come.




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