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Voiced report on opening of new base tunnel
It’s been nearly twenty years in the making. The Gotthard Base Tunnel, which has now officially opened in Switzerland, is the longest and deepest traffic tunnel in the world, and it’s set to revolutionise freight transport across Europe. SOUNDBITE, Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO, ABB: “It’s a real masterpiece of technology, of project management, it’s infrastructure-building of the century. We are particularly proud to be part of this building, we are particularly proud to have contributed with our technology to this overall tunnel system here in the Gottardo, which is the longest in the world at 57 km. So altogether, a fantastic day for Switzerland and a great day for ABB.” Though earlier tunnels have drilled through some parts of the Alps here, the new base tunnel goes right through the bottom of the entire Gotthard range, a natural barrier that has been part of Swiss identity for centuries. When full rail services begin in December, travel time from Zurich to Milan will be cut by an hour to just two hours 40 minutes. To power and ventilate such a vast space called for the most precise and cutting-edge technology. SOUNDBITE, Peter Voser, Chairman, ABB: “This goes I think to the heart of what ABB is. It’s about technology, it’s about innovation – being the leading company in breakthrough projects, together with others, actually generating something for future generations. This will be here for decades, maybe for a hundred years like the first one, where also ABB or its predecessor companies were part of it. I think it’s showing what our two major and biggest assets can do, and that’s humans – our people, our employees – and technology and innovation." As European leaders came together to hail the tunnel as a sign of a more integrated continent, engineers are celebrating what some have called the infrastructure project of the century. Taking a million lorries’ worth of freight off the Alpine roads – and demonstrating again the power of innovation and technological expertise.
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