Just recently, Switzerland opened the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel that goes through the heart of the Alps. The tunnel opened on Wednesday and it is hailed as an engineering marvel as well as a symbol of European unity during a time of increasing division.
Switzerland Opens Longest and Deepest Tunnel Amid Time of Increasing Fragmentation
The Switzerland tunnel is 57.1-kilometers (or 35.5-miles) in length and it is called as the Gotthard Base Tunnel. It is 17 years in construction and it has been finally completed on Wednesday. It is part of a 23-billion Swiss franc infrastructure project in order to speed cargo delivery and transportation of passengers by rail under the mountain chain which previously divided Europe’s northern and southern regions.
Typically, the Switzerland Gotthard Base Tunnel that Peter Fueglistaler, the federal transport officer director, called as “a masterpiece of timing, cost, and policy.” The construction of the tunnel came in on schedule and it is well on the budget, according to Fueglistaler.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel is now the longest in the world, and that is closely followed by the Seikan Tunnel, which is 53.9-kilometers in length, and then by the Eurotunnel, which is 60.5-kilometers in length.
High speed trains will now be able to travel through the newly opened tunnel in just 17-minutes, and it is a passage that took days until the first Alpine rail route had opened back in 1882. There are approximately 260-freight trains and 65-passenger trains that travel through the two-tube tunnel daily once the final testing of the tunnel’s rail system will end later this year.
The Swiss also threw a celebratory opening party that drew the leaders of all neighboring countries in order to show European solidarity. Johann Schneider-Ammann, the Swiss president, stated that he would gently press Angela Merkel, a German chancellor, Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, and Francois Hollande, the French president, in order to compromise in a standoff with regards to the plans of the Swiss to launch unilateral curbs on immigration for EU.
The president of Switzerland said the following to reporters: “We will come closer personally and that is decisive.” He also adds that the talks would resume in earnest after the June 23rd vote of Britain on whether or not they should leave the European Union. The European leaders hailed the project to be an inspiration for everyone who want to live the dream of people being able to travel freely.
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