The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) is a railway tunnel in the heart of the Swiss Alps expected to open on June 1 – after almost 17 years of construction. With a route length of 57 km (35.4 mi) and a total of 151.84 km (94.3 mi) of tunnels, shafts and passages, it is the world’s longest rail tunnel, surpassing the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.
It took $12 billion to construct world’s longest rail tunnel took just over 12 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion, 11 billion euros) and some 2,400 workers, according to Swiss government statistics. Passenger trains can run through the tunnel at a maximum speed of 250km/h, and heavy traffic will be transferred to the rails. The control technology for continual monitoring is supplied by Siemens.
Its main purpose is to increase total transport capacity across the Alps, especially for freight, notably between Germany and Italy, and more particularly to shift freight volumes from road to rail to reduce environmental damage caused by ever-increasing numbers of heavy lorries. A secondary benefit will be to cut the journey time for passenger trains from Zürich to Milan by about an hour and from Zürich to Lugano to 1-hour 40 minutes.