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The Alps' longest railway tunnel

Lötschberg

Some 30,000 visitors were present to mark the official opening of the Lötschberg Tunnel. © BLS Alptransit Lötschberg

Last weekend saw the official inauguration ceremony of the Lötschberg base tunnel in Switzerland after a construction period of eight years. At 34.6 km it is the third longest railway tunnel in the world. The new link between the Bernese Oberland and the Valais drastically reduces the journey time.
The Lötschberg Tunnel is the first element in the New Railway Link through the Alps, or NRLA, which is designed to put cross-alpine freight traffic onto the railways. The second large structure is the 57 km Gotthard base tunnel, which is expected to be commissioned in 2017. The frequency of freight trains in the new tunnel will be approximately twice as high as before on the Lötschberg mountain line and some 42 passenger trains a day are expected to pass under the mountain, travelling at top speeds of up to 250 km/h.
Last weekend also saw the opening of the Betuwe line in Holland. The new freight link connects the port of Rotterdam/NL with the European long-distance freight network.
Source and information: www.blsalptransit.ch (de/fr/it/en)