Posted on 05 December 2010.
With the connection between the two sides of the world’s longest rail tunnel having just been completed at the Swiss Alps, tunnels have suddenly come into focus. Most tunnels are technological marvels, and they help to make our journeys shorter and also more convenient. Here is a list of the ten longest ones in the world.
1. Gotthard Base Tunnel – Swiss Alps:
This tunnel in the Swiss Alps will only be opened for rail traffic in 2017. It will link two villages on either side of the Gotthard mountain range, and has been dug 2000m below the mountains. 57 kms long, it will be an important part of the network connecting northern Europe with south-eastern Europe
2. Seikan Rail Tunnel – Japan:
At 53.8km length, the record for the longest rail tunnel has so far been held by the Seikan Rail Tunnel connecting the island of Honshu to the island of Hokkaidu. Opened in 1988, this tunnel has a 23.5 km stretch which has been built under the sea-bed. It is the deepest rail tunnel in the world.
3. Channel Tunnel – England and France:
Popularly known as the Chunnel, this tunnel provided a very convenient rail link between England and France, through a railway line, way below the sea bed. It is 49.9km long and 37.9 km of it is below the sea, thus making it the longest undersea tunnel in the world.
4. Loetschberg Tunnel – Switzerland:
At 34.57 km, this is the longest land rail tunnel in the world. Running between Frutigen, Berne and Raron, this tunnel can accommodate both passenger and freight trains. For German tourists travelling to Swiss ski resorts, it has been a major boon since it cut their travelling time down to half.
5. Guadarrama Rail Tunnel – Spain:
Running between Madrid and Valladolid, this is a high speed rail link, and is 28.4 kms long. It has two tubes, and it is the longest rail tunnel in Spain.