Have you ever wanted to travel underneath the Swiss Alps? Well, mark your calendars because beginning June 1, 2016, you’ll be able to when the world’s largest train tunnel opens in Switzerland.
Those two-mile train tunnels through mountainsides are about to be put to shame. Opening June 1, 2016, the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) in Switzerland will become the world’s longest and deepest train tunnel at an astounding 35.4 miles long, and a depth of 7500 feet at it’s deepest point. This knocks Japan’s Seikon Tunnel to second place at 33.5 miles.
The train, traveling from Zurich to Milan, will travel at a speed of 155 miles per hour, cutting the route time from 4+ hours down to a mere two and a half hours. Travel time in the tunnel is estimated to be 20 minutes.
Fun Fact: There is enough copper cable in the tunnel to reach from New York City to San Antonio.
Construction began on the $12 billion project back in 1993 when examinations of the geological fault zone began. In 1999, drilling and blasting operations began. In 2010, the first breakthrough in one of the tunnels took place. Finally, excavation was complete in 2011. What is even more fascinating is the sketch-form of the tunnel was created in 1947.
My first thought here was just how safe are the twin tunnels. Well, the answer to that is very. An escape shaft runs parallel to the tunnels should passengers need to evacuate. Emergency stop stations have been built in the tunnels and provide access to fresh air in the escape tube as well as fire resistant doors to protect passengers and technical equipment inside the cross passages.
Fun Fact: Over 31 million tons of rock had to be excavated to construct the tunnel. This is enough rock to build 5 Giza pyramids.
While I definitely think there are far worse things than taking a trip through the Swiss Alps, getting to travel on a train through a mountain inside the world’s longest tunnel would be quite astounding.
For ticketing information, look here.