The long-standing committee

1852
A group and a director
A group and a director

Alfred Escher, Director of the North-Eastern Railway and controversial rail tycoon, was the key figure in the Gotthard Committee, even though he was not there from the start. (around 1875, ETH Library)

The Gotthard Committee still exists today, with the support of 13 cantons. Originally set up in 1853 and revived at least twice since, it started out as an institution through which the cantons, cities, companies and transport associations with an interest in the Gotthard axis could promote first the mountain route - with controversial rail tycoon Alfred Escher in the driving seat - then the road tunnel, and finally the rail base tunnel. The Gotthard Committee is a visible testimony to both the enduring federalism of Swiss transport policy and the need for political lobbying. Its success can be measured in the number of routes burrowing through the mountains.

« [...] whereas the Gotthard is superior to all its rivals from a commercial perspective, being the only alternative that appears capable of satisfying all the major transport interests connected with the Swiss Alpine railway. »

Gotthard Committee, Report to directors of the Central Railway, Basel, 29.5.1865
1863 year

the committee is reorganised, now including 15 cantons and two rail companies.

70 million francs

estimated cost of a Gotthard railway between Flüelen and Lake Maggiore.

5 months

surprisingly short time spent by engineer Kaspar Welti on his pioneering survey of the route.

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