Swiss complete world's longest tunnel  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The BBC reports drilling of the world's longest tunnel, under the Alps, has been completed - Swiss complete world's longest tunnel.

The 57km (35 mile) Gotthard rail tunnel has taken 14 years to build and is not likely to open before the end of 2016.

But it is expected to revolutionise transport across Europe, providing a high-speed link between the north and south of the continent.

Eventually, trains will travel through it at speeds of up to 250km/h (155mph).

Journey times between Zurich and Milan are likely to be slashed by as much as one-and-a-half hours. ...

Europe's freight, rumbling through on the backs of 40-tonne lorries, has been clogging the alpine valleys for years: an estimated 3000 heavy goods vehicles pass through the Swiss Alps every day.

Switzerland wants that freight underground, on the railways, and the new tunnel should achieve just that - a completely flat, straight, high-speed link.

It will be another six years before the line is open, but today's breakthrough is, the Swiss say, a crucial step to improving Europe's transport network, and protecting the alpine environment.

The 9.8bn Swiss franc (£6.4bn; $10.3bn) project will take up to 300 trains each day underneath the Alps.

The length of the Gotthard tunnel exceeds the 53.8km Seikan rail tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido and the 50km Channel Tunnel linking England and France.

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