Title: Repairs to World’s Longest Train Tunnel Expected to Last Several Months
The Gotthard Base Tunnel, known as the world’s longest train tunnel, is set to undergo extensive repairs after a recent freight service derailment revealed greater damage than initially estimated. The repairs are expected to last for several months, disrupting rail travel between north and southernmost Switzerland.
The accident occurred last Thursday when a freight train derailed, causing considerable damage to the west tube of the tunnel. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, but investigations conducted afterward discovered severe damage to the railway system. The operator, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), estimates that it will take several months to replace all the damaged parts.
During the repair period, rail passengers traveling through the Swiss Alps will be forced to take a longer and more scenic route, significantly impacting their travel plans. The undamaged east tunnel tube is slated to reopen for freight traffic on August 23, while both tunnel tubes are expected to be available for rail traffic on a limited basis at the beginning of next year.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel, a high-speed railway route inaugurated in 2016, is a remarkable engineering achievement that took 17 years to complete. Stretching over 35 miles, the project cost approximately $12 billion. Its purpose was to improve transportation connectivity between northern and southern Switzerland, offering faster and more efficient travel for both passengers and freight.
With its regular services temporarily disrupted, the necessity of the repairs highlights the challenge of maintaining such large-scale infrastructure projects. SBB, in collaboration with international experts, is committed to ensuring the necessary repairs are promptly carried out to restore the tunnel’s full operational capacity.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel, not only a source of pride for Switzerland but also an important transportation link for Europe, has become a symbol of modern engineering marvels. While this temporary setback may inconvenience some travelers, the completion of repairs will guarantee the safety and efficiency of train operations through this iconic tunnel once again.
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