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World's longest Tunnel under Swiss Alps [Pics]

Yet an another engineering excellence,the world`s longest tunnel has taken shape deep beneath the Swiss Alps as fifteen years of hard work of boring, drilling and carving through solid rock comes to a close.

The 57-kilometer (35.4-mile) Gotthard Base rail tunnel will form the lynchpin of a network between northern and southeastern Europe that could shift truck freight onto rail and de-congest the Alps in central Switzerland when it opens in 2017. The Swiss tunnel has reclaimed the record from Japan's 33.5-mile Seikan Tunnel as the world's longest excluding aqueducts.

With its completion passengers will ultimately be able to speed from the Italian city of Milan to Zurich in less than three hours and further north into Germany, cutting the journey time by an hour. The project carries a price tag of 9.74 billion swiss francs ($10.25 billion.)

Some 2,500 workers have spent nearly 20 years smashing through the rock beneath the towering Gotthard massif, including the 8,200-foot (2,500-meter) Piz Vatgira.

When the $10 billion tunnel will open for rail traffic in 2017, it will let passenger and cargo trains pass underneath the Alps at speeds of up to 155 miles an hour (250 kilometers an hour) on their way from Germany to Italy.

(Photo source:, AP Photos)

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