TNPSC Current Affairs: World's Longest and Deepest Rail Tunnel
World's Longest and Deepest Rail Tunnel opens in Switzerland
- The world's longest and deepest rail tunnel has officially opened in Switzerland, after almost two decades of construction work. The 57-kilometre (35-mile) twin-bore Gotthard base tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe.
- Switzerland says it will revolutionise European freight transport. European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern also attended the day's events. The tunnel has been constructed at the cost of 12 billion dollars.
- The tunnel has overtaken Japan's 53.9-kilometre Seikan rail tunnel as the longest in the world and pushed the 50.5-kilometre Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France into third place.
- About 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will pass through the tunnel each day in a journey taking as little as 17 minutes. When full services begin in December, the journey time for travellers between Zurich and Milan will be reduced by an hour to two hours and 40 minutes.
The Train Route
- The project consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun (Graubünden). It is part of the AlpTransit project, also known as the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA), which includes the Lötschberg Base Tunnel between the cantons of Bern and Valais and the Ceneri Base Tunnel (under construction, scheduled to open late 2020) to the south.
- It bypasses the Gotthardbahn, a winding mountain route opened in 1882 across the Saint-Gotthard Massif, which is now operating at capacity, and establishes a direct route usable by high-speed rail and heavy freight trains. It is the third tunnel connecting the cantons of Uri and Ticino after the Gotthard Tunnel and the Gotthard Road Tunnel.