Today's the day for Switzerland's annual rail schedule change—and this year it's a big one, with an hour cut off schedules between north and south as passenger trains begin using the St. Gotthard Base Tunnel.
The 57+ kilometer tunnel runs through the Alps at the base, allowing a flat high-speed way to link northern and southern Switzerland. It is the longest and deepest (over 2300 m) tunnel in the world. Besides faster passenger schedules, it is expected to have a big effect on European freight. Because the original Gotthard tunnel, high in the Alps, has been at full capacity for years, much freight has had to pass over the Alps by truck, on winding dangerous roads.
Construction of the tunnel began in 1994, and was completed earlier this year, several months ahead of schedule. Freight has been moving through the tunnel since June. For more information and pictures, click HERE