World’s longest railway tunnel opening in Swiss Alps

swisstunnelThe world’s longest railway tunnel will be opened on June 1 in Switzerland and final preparations for that are currently underway, a source with the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT) said  in Berne on Wednesday.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel, hewn through mountain rock and providing a high-speed rail connection between northern and southern Europe, will become one of the main rail links across the Alps and the longest in the world, with a length of about 57.1 km,  Xinhua news agency reported.

“While the first setting-up work operations for the great inauguration ceremony are being executed, inside the Gotthard Base Tunnel final tests and completion work are taking place,” the FOT source said.

The main purpose of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is to increase total transport capacity across the Alps, especially for freight, notably on the Rotterdam-Basel-Genoa corridor, and more particularly to shift freight volumes from road to rail to reduce fatal crashes and environmental damage caused by ever-increasing numbers of heavy lorries.

On the following weekend of June 4 and 5, visitors can travel through the world’s longest railway tunnel in special trains, the Swiss government source said.

The commercial services for the tunnel are scheduled to begin from December 2016. The construction of the tunnel began in 1996, with the total cost of 9.8 billion Swiss francs, or $10.3 billion. – IANS. Picture: Hannes Ortlieb/Wiki.

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