On June 1st, 2016 Switzerland officially opened the long-awaited Gotthard Base Tunnel. At almost 36 miles long, it is the longest railway tunnel in the world. At its deepest point of almost 1.5 miles underground, it is also the deepest tunnel ever built. Swiss officials say that by December the tunnel will be fully operational it will host 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains, and cut the time it takes to travel between Lugano and Zurich by about 45 minutes.
Work began on the Gotthard Tunnel back in 1999 in response to high demand for a larger capacity transport route through the north-south axis of the Alps. Before work on the tunnel began, traffic through the region by road was already approaching maximum capacity.