The paradisiacal sight of Swiss Alps is a revered prodigy. One wouldn’t want to see its images or hear the anecdotes but just revel in the settling beauty that prevails over emotion. The first of many, Gotthard Base Tunnel, a railway tunnel which will run through The Alps is one of the most exceptionally adroit engineering projects in the history, executed literally under the Alps.
Rupturing its way through the mountain, the 57 km long tunnel will take passengers from Milan to Zurich in less than 3 hours. 15 years of ceaseless effort will pave way for the world’s longest tunnel, weaving connections between the southeastern and northern Europe. To bring this dream to reality, miners dug their way across some of the hardest rocks on this planet.
Started in 1996 and to be completed by 2016, Gotthard Base Tunnel is a masterpiece.
1. Over 35 miles long, the tunnel passes through the heart of the Swiss Alps. It is done to redirect the whooping traffic of the city; however not over, but under.
2. The process entailed largest drilling machines of this planet, each more than 3 stories high, drilling 24 hours a day for 6 years.
3. Other than being according to Hoyle, it is extensively expensive, costing $ 7 billion.
4. Because of Switzerland’s central location, a flabbergasting number of 14 million trucks, cars and other vehicles enter the country every year, resulting traffic jams that only gets bigger.
The obvious alternative, the trains, are already jammed up to its capacity.
5. Two separate tunnels are built as part of this project, each one far more longer than any mountain tunnel in the world, 21 miles & 35 miles respectively.
6. Freight trains can now travel at an outstanding speed of 100 miles per hour, more than double their current speed; passenger trains will be even faster, up to 155 miles an hour.
7. The contractors, suppliers and builders of this tunnel were subjected to substantiate the high credibility of each product used in its formation.
They have asked to ensure at least a century long functionality of this project. Thus, cost and time scheduling are a major factor to this project.
8. As much as 24 million tons of rock has been dug out of the Alps to execute this project, the amount which would fill 16 football stadiums.
9. An exponential danger is engaged all along based on the varying types of rock inside the Alps, temperature zones, water-filled areas and mysterious terrors of the earth.
10. For any emergency, two cross terminals have been built, inside the tube for changing tracks without any mayhem.
Furthermore, passageways have been installed for emergency crews to operate faster at the distance of every 1000 miles along with escape routes for both the tunnels. (Tunnel has been built on a two-tube system)
Since tunnels always keep big room for erroneous events, this one won’t, however, we reckon that it’s part of human nature to improvise and dare beyond what is already done. Keeping that in mind, making such a huge tunnel, so efficacious is an achievement in itself.
Clinging to the accuracy demanded them to use GPS on both the ends to build precise coordinates.
Let’s wait for one of the most incredible engineering project. 2016 will be humongous!
About the author
Shewali loves to cook. She’s mostly travelling if not blabbering. That’s all folks!