On June 1, the Gotthard Base Tunnel was inaugurated in Switzerland. Minister of Infrastructure Jörg Leichtfried took part in the festivities, giving the following statement: “With the large tunnel projects in the Alps, we are improving the offer for rail passengers, and create the basis to shift as much freight as possible from the road to rail. This will be a benefit for the population as well as the environment.”
“The Gotthard tunnel gives us the opportunity to transfer part of the truck transit on the Brenner route to the railway. That means less noise and less pollution for Tyrol’s population,” he adds.
Also from an economic perspective, the Gotthard Base Tunnel has great importance for Austria. “Many Austrian companies are involved in this project of the century. This demonstrates the outstanding expertise of our local companies in tunnel and railway construction,” says Jörg Leichtfried. Besides voestalpine, which supplied the rails and switches, also Strabag and Porr were involved in the construction project. Fail-safe communication in the tunnel is provided by the high-tech company Frequentis.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel is the centerpiece of the new transalpine railway corridor (NEAT). The Swiss railway tunnel has two single-track tubes, linking the north portal at Erstfeld, Uri Canton with the south portal at Bodio, Ticino. With a rock overburden of up to 2,300 metres, the Gotthard Base Tunnel is the world’s deepest railway tunnel constructed to date. With a length of 57 kilometers, it is also the world’s longest longest railway tunnel – at least until the Brenner base tunnel will be completed. This should become operational in 2026, and with a length of 64 kilometers will set a new record.