Swiss effectively disappear Alps: World's largest tunnel opens

Gotthard got harder: Blasting and digging through mountains


Tunnel nerds, rejoice. The Swiss are today celebrating the opening of the world's largest underground passage to mark its completion 17 years after construction began.

The €12bn (£8.5bn) Gotthard base tunnel is 57km (35 miles) long and will overtake Japan's 53.85km Seikan railway tunnel to become the world's largest and deepest underground passage. The Channel Tunnel is the third largest at 50.5km.

The completed tunnel travels up to 2.3km below the surface of the mountains above and through rock that reaches temperatures of 46˚C without ventilation due to a high lithostatic pressure from rock above it – which can measure up to 2,500m in some sections*.

It will create a mainline rail connection between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Genoa in Italy, get trucks off the road and reduce travel time between Milan and Zurich from 3 hours and 40 minutes to two hours and 40 minutes.

The Swiss are justifiably proud of the engineering achievement and are inviting "guests of honour" from Switzerland and abroad to the opening event and welcome the entire population for "an unforgettable public festival."

Federal transport office director Peter Fueglistaler told Reuters the tunnel was "a masterpiece of timing, cost and policy."

"For us, conquering the Alps is like the Dutch exploring the oceans," said Fueglistaler.

Engineers had to remove 73 kinds of rock ranging in texture from granite to sand. According to Reuters, nine workers died in the process.

This morning a Catholic priest, a pastor, a rabbi and an imam were present for the ceremony, according to Swiss Info.

This coming weekend – June 4 and 5 2016 – between 50,000 to 100,000 visitors will be offered a unique programme at the festival sites on either end of the 57km tunnel.

The highlights of the festival: tunnel rides with the Gotthard shuttle train at up to 200kmph, presentations by Swiss artists and an interactive multimedia exhibition on the Gotthard. ®

Bootnote

For those who are interested, the ventilation plan used 24 axial fans, six air locks – thus reducing local airflow needed and managing risks of smoke in the event of a fire – and 16 air barriers. The cooling system includes 30 local air coolers, 130km of cooling pipes, 12 circulation pumps, one pressure exchange system and three cooling towers.

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Venezuelan cardiologist charged with designing and selling ransomware
    If his surgery was as bad as his opsec, this chap has caused a lot of trouble

    The US Attorney’s Office has charged a 55-year-old cardiologist with creating and selling ransomware and profiting from revenue-share agreements with criminals who deployed his product.

    A complaint [PDF] filed on May 16th in the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, alleges that Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez – aka “Nosophoros,” “Aesculapius” and “Nebuchadnezzar” – created a ransomware builder known as “Thanos”, and ransomware named “Jigsaw v. 2”.

    The self-taught coder and qualified cardiologist advertised the ransomware in dark corners of the web, then licensed it ransomware to crooks for either $500 or $800 a month. He also ran an affiliate network that offered the chance to run Thanos to build custom ransomware, in return for a share of profits.

    Continue reading
  • China reveals its top five sources of online fraud
    'Brushing' tops the list, as quantity of forbidden content continue to rise

    China’s Ministry of Public Security has revealed the five most prevalent types of fraud perpetrated online or by phone.

    The e-commerce scam known as “brushing” topped the list and accounted for around a third of all internet fraud activity in China. Brushing sees victims lured into making payment for goods that may not be delivered, or are only delivered after buyers are asked to perform several other online tasks that may include downloading dodgy apps and/or establishing e-commerce profiles. Victims can find themselves being asked to pay more than the original price for goods, or denied promised rebates.

    Brushing has also seen e-commerce providers send victims small items they never ordered, using profiles victims did not create or control. Dodgy vendors use that tactic to then write themselves glowing product reviews that increase their visibility on marketplace platforms.

    Continue reading
  • Oracle really does owe HPE $3b after Supreme Court snub
    Appeal petition as doomed as the Itanic chips at the heart of decade-long drama

    The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Oracle's appeal to overturn a ruling ordering the IT giant to pay $3 billion in damages for violating a decades-old contract agreement.

    In June 2011, back when HPE had not yet split from HP, the biz sued Oracle for refusing to add Itanium support to its database software. HP alleged Big Red had violated a contract agreement by not doing so, though Oracle claimed it explicitly refused requests to support Intel's Itanium processors at the time.

    A lengthy legal battle ensued. Oracle was ordered to cough up $3 billion in damages in a jury trial, and appealed the decision all the way to the highest judges in America. Now, the Supreme Court has declined its petition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022