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SWISS TUNNEL OPENS

Dec 13 2016

The world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, has now entered commercial service for both freight and passenger traffic.

Up to 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains are expected to traverse the two-tube tunnel on a daily basis. Noted as a major link in a pan-European railway corridor stretching from the port of Rotterdam in the north, to Genoa, in the south, the 57km Gotthard Base Tunnel has taken 17 years to build at a cost of over CHF12 billion. Proponents believe the tunnel will significantly enhance rail freight transport through the Alps while also providing additional stimulus to the modal shift, from truck to train, for the shipment of goods. Swiss combined transport operator Hupac said the new tunnel’s benefits would include more reliable routes regardless of weather conditions the decrease of the route by 30 km, fewer stops to change locomotives and to use bank engines, lower energy consumption, and less rolling stock maintenance due to the elimination of the mountain route. It will also facilitate a new operating concept, based on the European Train Control System (ETCS), which offers greater timetable stability and punctuality, while also providing sufficient capacity for future growth.

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