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Swiss building world's longest rail tunnel





deanhills
The Swiss are in the process of building the world's longest rail tunnel - the Gotthard Base Tunnel - 35 miles long. They have been at it since 1993 and it is due for completion in 2017. The Channel Tunnel is 31.4 miles and the Seikan Tunnel in Japan, the world's current longest rail tunnel 33.49 km.:
Quote:
The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) is a CHF 9.83 billion railway tunnel under construction in Switzerland. With a length of 57 km (35.4 mi) and a total of 151.84 km (94.3 mi) of tunnels, shafts and passages, it will be the world's longest tunnel (of all railway tunnels) on completion, surpassing the record holder, the Seikan Tunnel (connecting the Japanese islands of Honshū and Hokkaidō).

The project has two tunnels with one track each. GBT is part of the Swiss AlpTransit project, also known as New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA) which includes the Lötschberg Base Tunnel between the cantons of Berne and Valais. Like the Lötschberg tunnel, it will bypass winding mountain routes and establish a direct route suitable for high speed rail and heavy freight trains.

When completed, it should decrease the 3.5 hours travel time from Zürich to Milan by an hour and from Zürich to Lugano to 1 hour 40 minutes. The two portals are near the villages of Erstfeld, Canton Uri and Bodio, Canton Ticino.

Completion is projected for late 2017.

Nearby are two more St. Gotthard Tunnels: the 1881 Gotthard Rail Tunnel and the 1980 Gotthard Road Tunnel.
Source: Wikipedia

Also refer to railway-technology.com for more technical details.
Blaster
That seems pretty cool and pretty scary at the same time. Being a Civil Engineering student I see this as cool. However being a regular person in socity it would be hard to get me on that train.

Do they know how long it would take (in the train) to go from 1 end of the tunnel to the other?
deanhills
@Blaster. Travel time will be 2.5 hours from Zurich to Milan, through the Alps. Wow! That is FAST. Especially by the standards of my travelling by train in Switzerland. Probably will be a very scenic route though.
Blaster
How would it be scenic if its underground?

I'm curious at how they have some of their safety regulations in place. If that train were to lose power or something half way through the tunnel what would happen and how would these people get to safety?
deanhills
Blaster wrote:
How would it be scenic if its underground?
Good point ..... Embarassed

Blaster wrote:
I'm curious at how they have some of their safety regulations in place. If that train were to lose power or something half way through the tunnel what would happen and how would these people get to safety?
Well knowing the Swiss, I'm almost certain they would have deliberated this in its finest details. And I'm sure it probably needed to have been approved in triplicate by the European Union as well. But yes, I'd hate to be trapped in a tunnel like that if there were to be an unnatural event, as the Alps must have quirks of their own? Shocked
Blaster
Yea you can plan for somethings but things like that and fire you really can't plan for as much. You can just look back after it has happened and see what you could do about it.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
as the Alps must have quirks of their own? Shocked

... That is a bit scary in the context of such a long tunnel... Mountains do shift from time to time, and a cave-in at one end of the tunnel might make for a very long, cold, dark walk to the other end, if the train was disabled in the quake...
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
as the Alps must have quirks of their own? Shocked

... That is a bit scary in the context of such a long tunnel... Mountains do shift from time to time, and a cave-in at one end of the tunnel might make for a very long, cold, dark walk to the other end, if the train was disabled in the quake...
Right, provided of course that one could walk to the other end, as part of the tunnel may be blocked. Hopefully there are some strategic exit points posted from place to place. Maybe with some emergency parachutes? Smile
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Maybe with some emergency parachutes? Smile


What good would parachutes be underground?
(Besides as a blanket...)
Blaster
I must agree with Ocalhoun here... Where is a parachute going to be any good under ground?
deanhills
I got carried away with a movie I saw of a New York Tunnel where there had been a major explosion of gas tanks and people got trapped in the tunnel and debris. And how the guys finally got out through a drainage system. It was a movie called "Daylight" with Sylvester Stallone. I then thought up periodic exits in line with the tunnel that could come out of the mountain! And since this is in the Alps, I thought that there could be a possibility of those exits having steep descents? And that if Sylvester Stallone or James Bond should manage to escape, that probably they would need a parachute or hang glider to get out of there. Probably with a whole line of baddies behind them as well ..... Embarassed
iman
An underground transport system would be awesome. But do you wonder how scary would it be when the thing goes obsolete and is no longer used? I mean, it might turn into some kind of criminal underground.
ocalhoun
iman wrote:
An underground transport system would be awesome. But do you wonder how scary would it be when the thing goes obsolete and is no longer used? I mean, it might turn into some kind of criminal underground.

Rolling Eyes
A long, straight tunnel in the Alps is hardly an ideal location for the 'criminal underground'.

('Criminal underground' is usually just a figurative phrase anyway, they're not actually under the ground, they just have a hidden society; it can be hidden in plain sight, just unrecognizable as such... Much the same way as the 'black market' is not actually black in color...)
Blaster
deanhills wrote:
I got carried away with a movie I saw of a New York Tunnel where there had been a major explosion of gas tanks and people got trapped in the tunnel and debris. And how the guys finally got out through a drainage system. It was a movie called "Daylight" with Sylvester Stallone. I then thought up periodic exits in line with the tunnel that could come out of the mountain! And since this is in the Alps, I thought that there could be a possibility of those exits having steep descents? And that if Sylvester Stallone or James Bond should manage to escape, that probably they would need a parachute or hang glider to get out of there. Probably with a whole line of baddies behind them as well ..... Embarassed


lol. But seriously I see where you are coming from. But rather have some type of safty tunnel that could be there if something seriously did happen.
standready
Well the drilling rigs have met so the Swiss have a tunnel. Projected another 5 years to complete "working" tunnel though.

@ocalhoun: I am more concern with using the tunnels that go under waterways than a mountain.
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