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World's longest railway tunnel sees completion, should be zipping beneath the Alps in 2017

Darren Murph

While a few nations in Asia battle it out for the world's fastest maglev train, some cool cats in Switzerland are cutting up the Alps in order to make North America's railway system look even more inadequate. According to AlpTransit, the longest railway tunnel in the world has just been completed, with the final drilling of the Gotthard wrapping up today. Miners drilled 30km from the north and 27km from the south, with the breakthrough point being just over 6km south of Sedrum. Granted, these miners aren't getting nearly the attention of a crew in Chile, but transport officials in Europe are still pretty stoked about this here accomplishment. In fact, it's also being described as the most deeply set rail tunnel in the world (there's a rock overburden of up to 2500 meters), with the Gotthard base tunnel aiming to provide a level track through the Alps that should become operational by 2017. When it's humming along, it'll shorten the Zurich-Milan journey time from 3 hours 40 minutes to 2 hours 50 minutes, not to mention make every rider feel as if they've truly traversed the ultimate Bat Cave. And that, friends, is worth the seven year wait.

[Thanks, Fabrice]

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