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Building the world's longest train tunnel

Last updated on: February 13, 2012 12:55 IST

Building the world's longest train tunnel

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The world's longest train tunnel Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) is being constructed beneath the Swiss Alps. It is expected to be completed in 2016. This gigantic project stretches across a distance of 57 km.

When completed, it will surpass the Japanese Seikan Tunnel. The tunnel will cut the journey time for passenger trains from Zurich to Milan by about an hour and from Zurich to Lugano to 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Besides this, it will increase total transport capacity of freight across the Alps, especially between Germany and Italy, thereby decreasing the freight volumes transported via rail to reduce environmental damage.

The project consists of two single-track tunnels. It bypasses the Gotthardbahn, a winding mountain route opened in 1882 across the Saint-Gotthard Massif.

AlpTransit Gotthard will hand over the tunnel to Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) in December 2016.

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Image: A worker and a visitor stand at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel at the Erstfeld-Amsteg section.
Photographs: Gotthard Base Tunnel.
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Red lights illuminate the construction site of the of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel at the Erstfeld-Amsteg section.

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Image: Gotthard Base Tunnel.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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People stand at the section Erstfeld-Amsteg at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: Construction site of the tunnel.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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The Swiss have a fascination for tunnels being surrounded by mountains.

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Image: Miners at the site.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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A miner (R) holds a statue of St. Barbara, patron saint of miners, as fireworks explode and confetti flies after breaking through the section Erstfeld-Amsteg at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: A miner (R) holds a statue of St. Barbara.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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Miners stand in front as the drill machine 'Gaby' breaks through the rock at the section Erstfeld-Amsteg at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: Drill machine 'Gaby' breaks through the rock.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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A worker welds a steel grid at the section Erstfeld-Amsteg at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: A worker welds a steel grid.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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A worker uses a theodolite for measurements at the section Erstfeld-Amsteg at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: Gotthard Base Tunnel.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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Visitors stand at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel at the Erstfeld-Amsteg section.

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Image: Visitors at the site.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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Workers prepare the placing of concrete on the north portal of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel in the Swiss village of Erstfeld.

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Image: Workers at the construction site.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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Miners wave a Swiss national flag and flags of the cantons Grisons and Ticino as they celebrate after the drill machine 'Sissi' broke through the rock at the final section Faido-Sedrun, at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: Gotthard Base Tunnel.
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters.
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A miner stands in front of the drill machine 'Sissi' after it broke through the rock at the final section Faido-Sedrun, at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: A miner stands in front of the drill machine.
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters.
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Miners celebrate after the drill machine 'Sissi' broke through the rock at the final section Faido-Sedrun, at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: Gotthard Base Tunnel.
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters.
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The drill machine 'Sissi' breaks through the rock at the final section Faido-Sedrun, at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: Gotthard Base Tunnel.
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A combination of pictures shows the drill machine 'Sissi' break through the rock at the final section Faido-Sedrun, at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel .

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Image: Construction site.
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Members of the mine rescue brigade stand beside pictures of workers which died during the works at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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Image: Construction site of the tunnel.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters.
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