The world’s longest rail tunnel is closing indefinitely – forcing trains to take the scenic route

A derailment in the Gotthard Rail Tunnel means the line could be closed for months

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Train in the Swiss Alps
Photograph: Shutterstock

There’s good news and there’s bad news. For the rail enthusiasts among us, the bad news is that it looks like Switzerland’s Gotthard Tunnel – the world’s longest rail tunnel – is going to be closed for the foreseeable future. The good news is, there’s a stunning alternative route already in operation. 

After a major accident in the Swiss tunnel last week, the route has been indefinitely closed for repairs. 16 carriages were derailed, and subsequently, eight kilometres of track and over 20,000 concrete railroad ties need replacing. 

The Gotthard Tunnel runs between Erstfeld in the north and Bodio in the south, and connects rail traffic between Milan and Zurich. It’s the world's longest and deepest, stretching 57 kilometres and delving 2 kilometres underground. It’s a popular destination for those who love the railways. 

However, according to the Swiss National rail operator SSB, passenger trains will have to be diverted until further notice along the ‘panorama route’, and this change means that at least an hour will be added to journey times. 

Arguably, though, this isn’t such a bad thing. While the longer train ride might be inconvenient for some, the Swiss Alps are world-renowned for their outstanding scenery. Who can really complain when there’s a rare opportunity to absorb such wonderful views?

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