Train Service Begins Through Longest Tunnel

Swiss send first regular passenger trains through Gotthard Base Tunnel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 12, 2016 12:24 AM CST
Train Service Begins Through Longest Tunnel
Swiss Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications Moritz Leuenberger, center, and miners celebrate after a drill machine broke through the rock at the construction site of the Gotthard Base Tunnel on Oct. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Christian Hartmann,Pool)

Switzerland's national rail company, SBB, has started regular service through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest railway tunnel. The first trains ran from Zurich to Lugano on Sunday, SBB said in a statement and YouTube video. The 35.4-mile tunnel cuts journey times by 30 minutes or more. It also increases capacity for freight trains and relieves the burden on roads by shifting freight flow over the Alps from truck to rail, the AP reports. It took 17 years to build and cost $12 billion, with a formal inauguration in June. The Gotthard tunnel, also the world's deepest at 1.4 miles underground, pushes Japan's 33.5-mile Seikan Tunnel into second place. (Read more Gotthard Base rail tunnel stories.)

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