Tunnels of the world

A world record at the Gotthard
A world record at the Gotthard

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is long – possibly the longest rail tunnel on Earth. Switzerland can now proudly claim a world record. Yet it is surely only a matter of time before the title changes hands again. (2010, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd)

Switzerland sees itself as the nation of tunnels par excellence, especially since completion of the Gotthard Base Tunnel - at 57 kilometres, the longest rail tunnel in the world. There are, after all, countless tunnels criss-crossing the nation. Switzerland also built the first tunnel through the Alps - the Urnerloch, in 1708. But the country isn't alone. Some say the world's longest tunnel is in Guangzhou, China: 67 kilometres of it, all for an underground line. The 64-kilometre Brenner Base Tunnel is currently being dug between Austria and Italy. China's Bohai Tunnel, scheduled to open in 2022, is reputed to be 123 kilometres in length.

4 Herrenknecht tunnel-boring machines

used in the two 57-km tunnels at the Gotthard.

51 Herrenknecht tunnel-boring machines

used to build the metro in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

151'840 metres

length of the entire tunnel and passage system in the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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