Gotthard Basistunnel

Gotthard Base Tunnel - Alptransit

Useful Information

Location: Faido, Amsteg, Bodio, Sedrun.
Fee: free
Classification: SubterraneaTunnel
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=57,000 m.
Guided tours:
Address: AlpTransit Gotthard AG, Zentralstrasse 5, CH-6003 Luzern, Tel: +41-41-2260606, Fax: +41-41-2260600. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1707 SubterraneaUrner Loch, the first road tunnel of the world built.
1852 first project of a railroad across the Gotthard by Gottlieb Koller.
1872 work at the first Gotthard tunnel starts.
1880 tunnel connected.
01-JUN-1882 first Gotthard railroad inaugurated.
1947 first idea to build a Gotthard Base Tunnel.
1962 first plan for a base tunnel by the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs.
1971 another plan by the Committee for a Railway Tunnel through the Alps of the Swiss Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.
1992 acceptance of the proposals for the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA).
1995 final plan of the tunnel.
1996 work started in Sedrun, halfway.
1999 work started at the northern end in Amsteg.
12-MAY-1998 AlpTransit Gotthard AG founded.
1998 Heavy Vehicle Tax (HVT) accepted, as part of a traffic concept.
04-NOV-1999 work started at the southern end in Bodio.
2005 half of the tunnel excavated.
OCT-2010 final rock clearance, broadcast live by Swiss television.
01-JUN-2016 the world's longest railway tunnel officially opened.
05-SEP-2016 begin of freight transport through tunnel.
11-DEC-2016 begin of passenger traffic through tunnel.


The Gotthard Pass is probably the most important north-south connection through the Alps. For centuries it was used, with certain difficulties during winter. Until today the pass road is closed fo several months every year. But thats not the only problem for modern transport: the narrow and windig road is not compatible with modern traffic.

The history of the pass starts in the Middle Ages. The Langobards invaded Switzerland from the south across the pass around 569. During the reign of Karl der Große (Charlemangne), the path was prepared as a mule track. 1198 the old Devils Bridge was built, to cross the most difficult part of the path. In the 14th century a hospice was built on the pass, and finally in 1830 the road across the pass was built, more or less as it is today.

But the most important traffic during the 19th century was the railroad. Its development started in Switzerland with a train between Baden and Zürich in 1847. In 1852 the first plan of a railroad across the Gotthard is presented by Gottlieb Koller. In the next year a Gotthardkomitee is founded to finance the planning. 1861 engineer Wetli from Zürich surveys the whole area. He also presents the first idea of a 15 km long tunnel on top of the pass. The realization is delayed by war and political problems, but finally in 1871 the involved countries Switzerland, Germany and Italy unite and the work is started.

Even for the first Gotthard railroad the tunnel is the central project. The work at the tunnel starts in 1872. Enormous problems with the geology and the factoring almost stopped the work, but finnally after 10 years the railroad is completed in 1882.

However, this was not the end. The main reason to build the first tunnel was the problem to gain the necessary height for the pass. So the steepest and most difficult part was avoided. And also many problems with snow, avalanches and landslides were avoided. But modern transport needs fast connections, and so it would be a good idea to avoid even more height difference, uncountable turns and bridges. The best connection is definitely a more or less straight tunnel, which goes as the crow fies. This is the basic idea of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. The base tunnel connects two low valleys with a high speed rail tunnel, suitable for speeds of 250 km/h.