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Gotthard breaks through as longest rail tunnel

Gotthard breaks through as longest rail tunnelThe 57 km-long Gotthard base tunnel, first suggested in 1947 by Basel engineer Carl Eduard Gruner, broke through at 14.20 local time on 15.10.2010. It immediately displaced the Seikan tunnel in Japan as the world's longest rail tunnel. Transport minister Moritz Leuenberger, a staunch supporter of the project during his 15 years in office, will retire this month having witnessed the crucial achievement. The Gotthard rail link, which opens in 2017, will reduce the travel time between Milan and Zurich by 1.5 h, levelling the route to 550 m ASL and shortening it by 40 km. The average freight train will double in weight to 4,000 t. As a result, Swiss roads and tunnels will be cleared of the current huge truck jams as freight is transferred to piggy-back and drive-on trains. More from www.alptransit.ch/en/ and visit tunnelbuilder archive ch/17, ch/19, ch/20, ch/21 and ch/22. 41/10.