Con­struct­ing the 57-kilo­me­tre (35-mile) rail tun­nel took just over 12 bil­lion Swiss francs ($12 bil­lion) and some 2,400 work­ers, ac­cord­ing to Swiss gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

a 1992 ref­er­en­dum, which sup­ported the project, but pub­lic out­cry about the ex­pense put work on hold.

Even­tu­ally, a Novem­ber 1998 ref­er­en­dum closed the

a big engi­neer­ing achieve­ment,” said Martin Knights of the Lon­don-head­quar­tered In­sti­tu­tion of Civil En­gi­neers.

The tun­nel runs from Italy down to two hours and 40 minutes, roughly an hour less than it cur­rently takes.

The new route also aims to make rail freight more ef­fi­cient, curb­ing pol­lu­tion.

The num­ber of daily rail pas­sen­gers is also ex­pected to in­crease from the cur­rent rate of 9,000 peo­ple to 15,000 by 2020, ac­cord­ing to the Swiss can­tons linked to in­creased ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande and Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi, along with Swiss of­fi­cials, are due to at­tend Wed­nes­day’s grand open­ing, which will fea­ture a cer­e­mo­nial run.

Full ser­vice starts in De­cem­ber. in the end from ma­jor tech­ni­cal ad­vances in tun­nel bor­ing ma­chines that be­gan to pick up in the 1960s and 70s, Knights said.

The bor­ing ma­chin­ery used for the Got­thard Tun­nel is “a whole mov­ing fac­tory, half a kilo­me­tre in length”, which syn­chro­nises all the steps needed to carve a pas­sage through a moun­tain, he

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