By the numbers: How the new Swiss railway tunnel stacks up

GENEVA – The record-setting Gotthard Base Tunnel inaugurated Wednesday is a two-tube rail tunnel from Erstfeld to Bodio in Switzerland. The world’s longest rail tunnel, it was built to cut travel time for people and cargo from Italy through the centre of Europe and reduce reliance on fume-spewing trucks to move goods.

Here’s a look at the Gotthard Base Tunnel by the numbers:


57.1 kilometres (35.5 miles) — the record-breaking length of the tunnel’s east tube

57 kilometres (35.4 miles) — the length of its west tube

2,300 metres (7,546 feet) — the amount of Alpine rock sitting over the tunnel at its deepest point

550 metres (1,804 feet) — the tunnel’s deepest point above sea level

17 years — how long it took to build the tunnel

12.2 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion) — how much it cost to build the tunnel

2,400 — the peak number of people working to build the Gotthard Base Tunnel

9 — the number of workers who died while working on it

260 and 65 — the number of cargo and passenger trains the tunnel will be able to handle per day

100 kph (62 mph) — the top speed for cargo trains in the tunnel

200 kph (125 mph) — the top speed for passenger trains in the tunnel

20 minutes — the time it takes a passenger train to travel through the tunnel

45 minutes — the amount of time the tunnel shaves off the current trip from Zurich to Lugano, Switzerland

26 million tons — the amount of freight that passes through the Swiss Alps each year


Source: Gottardo 2016; French presidential palace.