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Gotthard tunnel launch approaches

Preparations for next month’s official opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel are nearing completion, as Swiss transport officials are expected to visit the site today for a preview tour.

Representatives from the Swiss Federal Office of Transport and Swiss Federal Railways will today join contractor AlpTransit Gotthard at the north portal of the world’s longest railway tunnel.

The project includes two 57km-long single-track tunnels through the Swiss Alps, linking the north portal at Erstfeld with the south portal at Bodio. 

For construction purposes, the Gotthard Base Tunnel was subdivided into five separate sections. Access adits provided access to the underground construction sites for personnel, materials and machines. To save time and reduce costs, construction work proceeded on the various sections simultaneously.

The official opening ceremony on 1 June will see two trains – one from the north and one from the south – travel through the new tunnel. The event will also be marked by a public festival – Gottardo 2016 – taking place the following weekend.

Commercial rail services along the route are expected to start in December 2016.

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