The Gotthard: a tunnel carving out history

The Gotthard Tunnel is a symbol of Swiss identity and development. It’s the meeting point of Switzerland’s different languages and cultures, as well as one of the main lines of communication between north and south Europe. The opening of the new base tunnel on June 1, 2016 will make the Gotthard – at 57 kilometres – the longest tunnel in the world. It’s a historic event in Swiss rail transport history.

The Gotthard -
By rail
Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners, at the entrance of the Gotthard Basis Tunnel near Erstfeld, canton Uri. Aerodynamicists might have to start looking for a patron saint soon
Nightmare fuel? An 'ibex' surrounded by dancing haystacks
France's President François Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Switzerland's President Johann Schneider-Ammann after travelling through the Gotthard Rail Tunnel
The Gotthard, at 57 kilometres in length, is the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel
Depending on how you look at it, the Gotthard links, or divides, northern and southern Switzerland and Europe.
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By road
The planned new 17km road tunnel in central Switzerland had the support of registered Swiss expat voters
Road safety was one of the main arguments for a second tube through the Gotthard in the central Swiss Alps
The Gotthard road tunnel is the main transport link for cars and trucks crossing the Swiss Alps 
The Gotthard road tunnel opened for traffic in 1980. It has only one lane in each direction
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The Gotthard as a symbol
The opening of the Gotthard rail tunnel in 1882. This picture shows the first Gotthard steam locomotive at Göschenen station on its return from Milan
This bronze sculpture of Alfred Escher can be found, as is fitting for a railways pioneer, at Zurich's main station
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