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.
6. Taihang Tunnel – China:
A double track tunnel, this tunnel was completed in December 2007. Built for the Shitai Passenger Railway, it connects the capital of the Hebei province, Shijiazhuang with Taiyuan, the capital of the Shanxi province. The tunnel is 27.848m long.
7. Iwate – Ichinohe Tunnel – Japan:
Construction for this 25.810 km long tunnel began in 1991 and it was opened to the public in 2002. Passing through hilly terrain, this tunnel connects Tokyo with Aomori. The maximum depth of this tunnel is about 200 metres.
8. Daishimizu Tunnel – Japan:
22.2 kms long, this is another one of Japan’s tunnels to feature in the list of the longest tunnels in the world. The unique factor of this tunnel is that while, they were digging it they found a lot of natural water and this is being sold in bottles. The tunnel has cut the travelling time between Nigata and Tokyo down to an hour and forty minutes.
9. Simplon I & II– Italy/ Switzerland:
These two tunnels are generally considering as one tunnel, since they both provide access to the Simplon Railway network which connects the Swiss town Brig with Domodossola of Italy. Since both tunnels have only single tracks, they are known as Simplon I & II. The first tunnel was opened in 1906 and the second in 1921
10. Vereina Tunnel – Switzerland:
Located in Eastern Switzerland, at 19.058m it is the longest metre gauge railway tunnel in the world. It is also a single track rail tunnel and services the Swiss RhB Railway network and connects the towns of Scuol- Tarasp and Chur.