The Gotthard Base Tunnel: the world's longest railway tunnel witnesses its final breakthrough in Switzerland on 15 October

Bern (ots) - The new Gotthard Base Tunnel - at 57 kilometres the longest railway tunnel in the world - will achieve breakthrough on October 15, 2010. swissinfo.ch is devoting a multimedia special dossier to this important stage in the new transalpine transit route, explaining the most important aspects of the project to people around the world.

Since 14 years huge boring machines have been tunnelling through the mountain from Erstfeld in the north and Bodio in the south to construct the longest railway tunnel in the world. The final breakthrough between north and south will be made on October 15, 2010. When the Gotthard Base Tunnel goes into service, Switzerland will once again be able to boast the world's longest railway tunnel. First place is currently taken by the 54-kilometre-long Seikan tunnel in Japan. The Gotthard rail tunnel is scheduled to open in December 2017. From then on, trains will be able to speed through the tunnel at 250 kilometres per hour, shortening the travelling time between Milan and Zurich by 60 minutes.

swissinfo.ch is devoting a special dossier to this major event, celebrating the breakthrough with articles, galleries, audio slideshows and other multimedia elements. It invites everyone to take a journey that follows a number of different tracks. Among its areas of focus will be the background to this enormous transport project, the implications for the regions concerned and the neigbouring countries, the huge efforts of the tunnel workers, and the mysticism surrounding the Gotthard.

The special dossier will also look into other famous Swiss rail routes, such as the Glacier Express and the Bernina train line, and will report on current transport policy in Switzerland.

In addition, swissinfo.ch will take its readers into the heart of the mountain. A swissinfo journalist will be spending October 10-15, 2010 with the tunnel workers. He will be sharing his experiences, observations and impressions with swissinfo readers in blogs in German, French, Italian and English. Of course, readers can also be on the spot on October 15, 2010 - as SRG Swiss Broadcasting Corporation television channels and swissinfo.ch report live from the tunnel for the big breakthrough.

This dossier is available to all media intending to cover this event. swissinfo.ch articles may be published provided their source is quoted, or a link to the dossier given.



swissinfo.ch is one of the enterprise units of SRG SSR idée suisse, Switzerland's public-service radio and television broadcaster. Its remit is to inform Swiss people abroad of what is going on at home, and to raise awareness about Switzerland beyond its borders. To this end, swissinfo.ch operates a news and information platform in nine languages at www.swissinfo.ch/.


Doris Lucini

Project leader

E-Mail: doris.lucini@swissinfo.ch

Tel.: +41/31/350'96'66

Monika Gysin

Head of Marketing + Communications

E-Mail: monika.gysin@swissinfo.ch

Tel.: +41/31/350'95'48