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17 Years in The Making, Swiss Rail Tunnel Takes Crown as World’s Longest and Deepest!

Move over, Seikan, there’s a new tunnel in town and it measures 35.7 miles, which is enough to make it the world’s longest.

It’s also the deepest, cutting more than 1.4 miles under the mountains.

Switzerland’s Gotthard base tunnel, which took 17 years to build with a price tag in excess of $12 billion, finally opened Wednesday, providing a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe.

Japan’s Seikan rail tunnel, which had been the longest at 33.5 miles, falls to number two, while the Chunnel connecting the U.K. and France drops to third at 31.4 miles, the BBC reported

Engineers excavated more than 28 million tons of rock, opening a mainline connection between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Genoa in Italy. About 2,600 workers were involved in the project, including nine who lost their lives in the process.

Each day, some 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains are expected to spend as little as 17 minutes passing through the tunnel.

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Full service begins in December, when travel time between Zurich and Milan will be slashed by a full hour to two hours and 40 minutes thanks to the direct route.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande were just a couple of the European leaders on hand for the festivities.

AFP/Getty Images

After a speech from Swiss Federal President Johann Schneider-Ammann, two trains packed with hundreds of guests set off in opposite direction through the tunnel to mark the official opening.

Then the party really began, as you can see by this video.

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Written by PH

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