Overhead line installation car in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Photo/Foto Hannes Ortlieb

The Gotthard Base Tunnel

The Gotthard pass was and is the crucial North-South connection of Europe, from the North Sea (Rotterdam) to the Adriatic Sea (Venice). It all began around 1240 when the people of Uri and the Urseren Valley opened up the Schöllenen Gorge by installing a simple bridge. The Gotthard pass started its career as a regional connection for transport, traders, pilgrims, diplomats, mercenaries and other travellers. The world’s longest railway tunnel was constructed between 1872 and 1882. The village Göschenen was the major centre. The construction of the new tunnel (NEAT, the Gotthard Base Tunnel) started in 2007 and the first trains passed in 2016. A window in the tunnel provides a direct view of the passing trains, and an exhibition shows many facts about the spectacular construction of this tunnel and its history, planning and development. (Source and further information: