It's the year 2016 and we are still seeing marvels of engineering being built all around the world. Switzerland has just taken the crown from Japan for having the longest railway line in the world. The previous record was 33,49 miles, a railway tunnel known as the Seikan rail tunnel. The United Kingdom and France Channel tunnel is now the third longest in the world. The new Gotthard tunnel is 35 miles long and cuts under the Swiss Alps connecting north and south Europe. It goes from Erstfeld to Bodio and will see 325 trains passing through the tunnel every day.
Gotthard's tunnel is now open for business and is functioning. The first trains packed with ticket winners set off today, officially opening the tunnels. The construction took 17 years to complete with a team of 2,600 workers tirelessly engineering the tunnel.
40 million tons of freight will pass through the tunnel every year (starting in December 2016) and will minimize the need for trucks on the roads, which will, in turn, reduce congestion in Switzerland and be better for the environment in the long term. The government officials of Switzerland have been saying this connection through Europe is coming at the right time due to the push for cleaner and more eco-friendly engineering.
The drilling of the tunnels kicked off with four humongous drills that broke through the mountains in 2003. Sevens years later the civil engineers and the construction workers had blasted through 73 different kinds of rock. 28 million tons of rubble was produced. Euro News confirmed that 9 workers had died in the 17-year long process. The tunnel cost $12.3 billion and was fully paid off through taxes and other investment endeavors.
Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann said: "The new tunnel fits into the European railway freight corridor, which links Rotterdam and Genoa. Aside from saving time, more merchandise can be carried through the Alps."