Longest Overland Tunnel Opens in Switzerland
Travel Blog • Terry Ward • 06.18.07 | 11:04 AM ET
Switzerland loves its tunnels nearly as much as its timepieces, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that the country crowned the world’s longest on Friday. The AP reports the 21-mile rail link will cut train travel between Germany and Italy from 3 1/2 hours to less than two. The opening of the $3.5 billion Loetschberg Tunnel after eight years of construction is good news for Swiss locals, who hope it will ease heavy truck traffic in their mountainous land.
When passenger trains start traveling through the tunnel on Dec. 9, skiers headed from Bern to Zermatt and ski resorts in Italy will have their travel times cut in half. And European businessmen can take heart at this tidbit from the article:
Cellphone reception was strong throughout the ride, even at points where the tunnel was 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) below the mountain surface.
Like all good things, the tunnel’s superlative glory will be fleeting—when construction is completed in 2017, the Gotthard Tunnel, also in Switzerland, will take the lead with some 36 miles.