The Only One Gotthard Railway Tunnel

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Gotthard Rail Tunnel was built from 1871 to 1881. Construction was surveyed by the Swiss engineer Louis Favre, who suffered a fatal heart attack inside the tunnel in 1879. Construction was difficult due to financial, technical and geological issues. The length of the Gotthard tunnel exceeds the 53.8km Seikan rail tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido and the 50km Channel Tunnel linking England and
France.

Both Switzerland's Gotthard road tunnel and France's Mont Blanc road tunnel have suffered major fires in the last 10 years in which many died. It notes that the three new tunnels at the Gotthard, Lötschberg and Ceneri will in the end cost a hefty SFr24 billion ($25 billion) but says Switzerland’s New Rail Link through the Alps project gives Bern leverage in its ties with Brussels.

Two thousand workers are filling eight-hour shifts around the clock inside the tunnel shafts. Two thirds of the total 153.5 kilometers (95.3 miles) of tunnels, galleries and shafts have already been carved out of the mountain. Among its areas of focus will be the background to this enormous transport project, the implications for the regions concerned and the neigbouring countries, the huge efforts of the tunnel workers, and the mysticism surrounding the Gotthard.