(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) GENEVA, May 31 (KUNA) -- Switzerland is set to open the world's longest and deepest train tunnel on Wednesday, to connect north and south of Europe.
"The launching of the 57-km tunnel comes 17 years after blasting part of the Alps to establish the project," Swiss Ambassador to Kuwait Aldo de Luca told KUNA on Tuesday.
"This event is of great significance for all of Europe and will mark the completion of a long and highly sophisticated achievement involving innovative engineering," he added.
De Luca also said that the tunnel was cut through the mountains by an enormous 410-meter-long Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), a size equal to the length of four football playing fields. The depth of the tunnel reaches 2,300 meters from the surface in some places, making it also the deepest in the world, he noted.
The Gotthard Tunnel is part of a larger project, which is the "New Rail Links" going through the Alps and was approved in a popular vote in 1992, said the ambassador. The environment-friendly project involves three big railway tunnels, with the first one launched in 2007, the highly-anticipated Gotthard Tunnel and the third is set to open by 2020.
"Once the Gotthard Tunnel is fully operational, the beneficial impact will be felt throughout Europe, as Switzerland lies at the heart of one of the continent's most important freight transport axes," he noted.
Meanwhile, he said that passengers will also benefit from the new tunnel in saving time in their journeys from the north to the south of Europe.
This historic occasion will be celebrated in the presence of numerous leaders, personalities and guests of honor from Switzerland and abroad. (end) ta.ag