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Calls mount for better Gotthard tunnel access

Swiss transporters are calling for action to ensure that the Gotthard Base Tunnel – the world’s longest – can take on more freight when it opens to traffic in 2017.

The sector says more terminals are needed, as well as the updating of access routes to the tunnel.

The 57km-long base tunnel had its final breakthrough in October. It is part of a the Swiss policy to move freight from road to rail.

While the tunnel itself is up to standard, industry members said at a press conference in Zurich on Monday, the surrounding infrastructure is not.

Some routes in the north-south corridor date from the 19th century and do not fully meet modern needs. The whole Gotthard axis and that of neighbouring countries must be updated, they said.

Members said some access routes had bridges and tunnels of under four metres, stopping the use of taller freight trains, as well as double-decker passenger trains, which are key for dealing with more rail users.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR