Attention European travelers: Your train trips across the continent are about to get super-charged.
That's because the longest and deepest train tunnel in the world — the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) — is nearing its official opening ceremony on June 1. And once this ambitious 35.5-mile route is accessible to the public, set to happen in December, the entire face of European travel will quickly change.
Why? Well,all at depths of up to 7,500 feet, the tunnel will allow for speedy commutes — cutting the trip from Zurich to Milan from a little over four hours to 2.5 hours. This train tunnel’s construction has taken 17 years of work, $12 billion, and eight lives from among the almost 2,000 workers who have brought the idea to fruition.
Soon after the unveiling of the tunnel, train testing will begin. And by the end of the year, regularly scheduled passenger trains will help people from around the world zip through the Alps.
To put the scope of this project into some familiar terms: The machines used to remove 31 million tons of rock for this effort were about as long as four NFL football fields, and that much rock could build approximately five Egyptian Giza pyramids. This tunnel hits the same kind of depths as the deepest mines in the world... so talk about wow factor!
So if you’re already dreaming of a wintertime visit to Europe, why not hit up the holiday markets in Switzerland and take the opportunity to ride on the world’s most epic commuter train all the way to Italy while you’re at it?
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