In the quest to revolutionize the cargo transport in Europe, Switzerland, today has launched the anticipated Gotthard tunnel. This will be the world’s longest tunnel at the moment.
Gotthard tunnel project stemmed off from the need to improve delivery in trade. With its launch, goods which usually took much time will be delivered to their destinations earlier than it used to be.
Gotthard is 57 km (35-mile) long and runs 2.3 km beneath the high mountains of Switzerland. It is believed that it will be an efficient link between northern and southern Europe.
Before now, Japan’s 53.9 km Seikan rail tunnel was the longest in the world; followed by the Eurotunnel which is about 50.5 km long. On the world’s 5th longest is Switzerland’s 2007 Lotschberg tunnel with at 34.6 km.
At the official launch of Gotthard twin-tunnel, Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann expressed his joy for the invention which will not only serve the nation but their neighbors and the continent as well.
For a test run, 2 trains formally opened the Gotthard tunnel. The trains moved in the opposite directions of the tunnel carrying guests who had won free tickets in a draw prior to the launch.
The President thoughtfully remembered the tunnel workers who lost their lives in the course of its construction. The launch also encompassed some theatrical entertainments.
Dignitaries including European leaders attended the launch. Religious figures attended and blessed the tunnel. A statue of St Barbara, the patron saint for miners was also part of the Gotthard feature. This was in commemoration of the wonderful work of the tunnel miners, 9 of whom were dead.
Gotthard twin-tunnel costs over $12 billion (£8.3 billion) for its construction. The initiative which was endorsed by Swiss voters in a referendum in 1992, will accommodate about 260 cargo trains and 65 passenger trains in a day in as less as 17 minutes.