World's longest tunnel now slices through the Swiss Alps

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World's Longest Tunnel Now Slices Through The Swiss Alps



At long last, the world's longest—and deepest—tunnel lives in Switzerland.

After over 15 years and $10.3 billion, the Gotthard Base Tunnel has finally finished construction.

Slicing through the Swiss Alps, the 35-mile stretch of concrete and steel, fixtures and train tracks is more than double the length of the world's now-second-longest Seikan Tunnel in Japan.

Safety tests are due to begin in October and over 3,000 runs will be made in order to ensure all systems are functioning properly.

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World's longest tunnel now slices through the Swiss Alps
Workers walk near a support train inside the east section of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Faido, Switzerland, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Drilling and blasting on the 57-kilometer (35-mile) railroad tunnel linking Erstfeld in German-speaking central Switzerland and Bodio in the Italian-speaking south began in 1996, with completion expected in 2017. Photographer: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Reels of cable sit on a support freight train inside the east section of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Faido, Switzerland, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Drilling and blasting on the 57-kilometer (35-mile) railroad tunnel linking Erstfeld in German-speaking central Switzerland and Bodio in the Italian-speaking south began in 1996, with completion expected in 2017. Photographer: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Workers walk alongside a support freight train inside the east section of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Faido, Switzerland, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Drilling and blasting on the 57-kilometer (35-mile) railroad tunnel linking Erstfeld in German-speaking central Switzerland and Bodio in the Italian-speaking south began in 1996, with completion expected in 2017. Photographer: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Train tracks lead towards an access tunnel inside the east section of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Faido, Switzerland, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Drilling and blasting on the 57-kilometer (35-mile) railroad tunnel linking Erstfeld in German-speaking central Switzerland and Bodio in the Italian-speaking south began in 1996, with completion expected in 2017. Photographer: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Workers stand on a scissor lift as they fix cable support trays to the access tunnel wall inside the west section of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Faido, Switzerland, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Drilling and blasting on the 57-kilometer (35-mile) railroad tunnel linking Erstfeld in German-speaking central Switzerland and Bodio in the Italian-speaking south began in 1996, with completion expected in 2017. Photographer: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
POLLEGIO, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Gotthard Base Tunnel work continues on November 11, 2011 in Pollegio, Switzerland. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a railway tunnel that will run for 54km through the Swiss Alps, making it the longest railway tunnel in the world. The project is scheduled for completion by 2016. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
A worker waits for journalists at one of the Gotthard base access tunnels during the launching of the installation of railway equipment on September 2, 2011 in Erstfeld, central Switzerland. By the time it opens for service in end of 2016, the 57-kilometre (35.4-mile) long Gotthard tunnel, it will exceed Seikan rail tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido and the world's longest road tunnel of Laerdal in Norway, paving the way for continuous high-speed rail travel between northern and southeastern Europe. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
A worker speaks with officials at one of the Gotthard base access tunnel during the launching of the installation of railway equipment on September 2, 2011 in Erstfeld, central Switzerland. By the time it opens for service in end of 2016, the 57-kilometre (35.4-mile) long Gotthard tunnel, it will exceed Seikan rail tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido and the world's longest road tunnel of Laerdal in Norway, paving the way for continuous high-speed rail travel between northern and southeastern Europe. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Miners wave a Swiss national flag, left, and a flag of the Graubuenden canton, center, as they celebrate after the drill machine 'Sissi' broke through the rock at the final section Faido-Sedrun, Switzerland at the construction site of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel Friday Oct. 15, 2010. With a length of 57 km (35 miles) crossing the Alps, the world's longest train tunnel should become operational at the end of 2017. (AP Photo/Christian Hartmann,Pool)
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Passengers and freight will travel at speeds in excess of 150 miles per hour through the Gotthard Base Tunnel—said to be the safest stretch of railway in Switzerland.

The monumental undertaking is further underscored by the fact that the project remained on schedule the entire time and suffered exactly zero construction delays.

The inaugural journey will occur during a massive festival in June 2016. Regular service goes into effect December 2016.
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