World's longest tunnel completed under Swiss Alps

15th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A giant drilling machine punched through a wall of rock under the Swiss Alps on Friday to complete the world's longest tunnel, amid scenes of jubilation among miners and dignitaries.

Miners on both sides of the tunnel, which has been under construction for 15 years, stepped through and shook hands, television images showed.

"Here, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, one of the biggest environmental projects on the continent has become reality," said Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger.

The 57-kilometre (35.4 mile) high speed rail link, which will open in 2017, will form the lynchpin of a new rail network between northern and southeastern Europe and help ease congestion and pollution in the Swiss Alps.

© 2010 AFP

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