Switzerland Tunnel Sets High Bar For Rail Projects
MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:
Eleanor Beardsley reports.
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Eight people died digging the tunnel a mile-and-a-half below the Gotthard massif. Engineers had to overcome crumbling rock and underground rivers they found along the way.
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BEARDSLEY: Six million passengers a year will soon be whizzing from Zurich to Milan in two and a half hours at an average speed of 150 miles per hour. And there's even more to be proud of, says Swiss Department of Transport director Peter Fuglistaller.
PETER FUGLISTALLER: Switzerland is very, very fond of tunnels. So we have been building tunnels for a century. And for a long, long time we had the longest tunnel. And the last 20 years, the Japanese they had the longest, also the Chunnel was longer. And now we are back to being number one in tunnels, and we are very, very proud about that.
BEARDSLEY: The entire Swiss nation was captivated by the project, following it every step of the way.
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LOUISE KELLY: In June, the first tunnel boring machine arrives from Ertvelde(ph).
BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.
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