Today – 1st June 2016 – sees the opening of the 2nd of the new Alpine base tunnels – the Gotthard Tunnel. Originally included in the principal corridors of the TENS network, it has been over 20 years in the making, and sensibly driven by the restrictions on axle loads of lorries that may be driven through Switzerland.
It might have been only 17 years since the first blasting from the tunnel’s primary shaft took place, but the first agreements to press ahead with this key work actually dates back to 1993.
Read more here: Swiss Connects Europe through The Alps
This project, together with the Lötschberg and Gotthard routes are part of the AlpTransit and TEN-T European rail priority links connecting the principal destinations within the EU. In 1992, “Die Neuen Eisenbahn-Alpentransversalen” (NEAT) programme was approved for building two base tunnels on relatively level alignments at lower levels than previous tunnels through the massif on the BLS Lötschberg and SBB Gotthard routes.
The 34.6 km (21.5 mi) long Lötschberg tunnel was the first of the AlpTransit tunnel routes to be completed, and was opened 9 years ago this month.
There is a third element in this collection of mammoth rail tunnel projects, and that is the “Cerini Base Tunnel“; the final link for the NEAT plan, and which will be completed by 2020.
Further details about this and other TEN-T projects can be found here: