Seventeen years of Swiss engineering equals the Gotthard base tunnel - now the world's largest rail tunnel. As Grace Pascoe reports, the tunnel aims to shorten travel times between northern and southern Europe.
There's finally light at the end of the tunnel for this Swiss engineering marvel. 17 years of digging and construction resulting in a journey of just 17 minutes at its quickest. Speeding up travel between Europe's north and South through the heart of the Alps. An unusual interpretive dance routine spurred the first trains through the Gotthard base tunnel... The leaders of Germany, France and Italy all aboard their VIP carriage ... Keen not to miss out on what is now the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel. (SOUNDBITE) (German) SWISS PRESIDENT JOHANN SCHNEIDER-AMMANN, SAYING: "It's a giant step for Switzerland but equally for our neighbours and the rest of the continent". With Swiss efficiency, the project came in on schedule and budget costing 23 billion Swiss francs. And for fans of the European project, this a show of solidarity across the continent. Just one risk remains for passengers on the 57 kilometer long and 2.3 kilometer deep journey - and that's tunnel vision.