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It’s taken 17 long years and 11 billion euros to build the Gotthard Base Tunnel, a 35-mile railway track that runs under the Alps between Erstfeld and Bodio in Switzerland. On the 1st June 2016 the tunnel is set for its official opening and inaugural journey.

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Once fully optional, the railway track will service more than 325 trains each day with passenger numbers expected to reach 15,000 per day by 2020. It will cut an hour off the journey between Zurich and Milan making travel between the two destinations possible in under three hours. Increased rail freight will help reduce congestion and pollution by easing the number of lorries necessary on the road.

The engineering marvel was originally conceived by the Carl Eduard Gruner in the late 40s, but it has only been possible to construct it with modern tunnel-boring machines. At its peak, over 2,400 people worked on the project, excavating almost 30 million tonnes of rock, the equivalent of 5 Giza pyramids.

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Once opened, it will be take over Japan’s 53.9-kilometre Seikan Tunnel as the world’s longest railway tunnel, placing the 50.5-kilometre Channel Tunnel between the UK and France in third. This is the third time a Swiss tunnel has achieved the world’s longest title – the 15 km Gotthard Tunnel built in 1882 and the 19.8 km Simplon Tunnel built in 1905.
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via designbooom / SBB

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