The construction of large railway tunnels plays a crucial role in connecting different regions and improving transportation infrastructure. Here are five countries known for having some of the largest railway tunnels:
- France and UK
- Switzerland – Gotthard Base Tunnel: The Gotthard Base Tunnel is the world’s longest railway tunnel, stretching approximately 57 kilometers (35.5 miles) through the Swiss Alps. It was inaugurated in 2016 and forms a crucial part of the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA). The tunnel enhances transportation efficiency and connectivity by providing a high-speed rail link between northern and southern Europe.
- Japan – Seikan Tunnel: The Seikan Tunnel in Japan is the world’s second-longest railway tunnel, spanning about 53.85 kilometers (33.5 miles). Located beneath the Tsugaru Strait, it connects the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. The tunnel accommodates both Shinkansen (bullet train) and conventional train services, facilitating efficient and rapid transportation between the two islands.
- Norway – Bergen Line Tunnel: The Bergen Line Tunnel is one of the longest railway tunnels in Europe, stretching approximately 50.5 kilometers (31.4 miles). It is a part of the Bergen Line, connecting the cities of Oslo and Bergen in Norway. The tunnel significantly reduces travel time and enables year-round train services along this scenic and vital railway route.
- China – Guanjiao Tunnel: China’s Guanjiao Tunnel is one of the longest railway tunnels in the world, extending approximately 36.48 kilometers (22.7 miles). It is situated on the high-speed railway line between Xining and Golmud, traversing the mountainous region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The tunnel’s construction was a remarkable engineering feat due to the challenging terrain and harsh environmental conditions.
- France and the United Kingdom: Channel Tunnel: Also known as the Eurotunnel, the Channel Tunnel is a remarkable feat of engineering that connects the United Kingdom and France. While primarily a railway tunnel, it also accommodates road vehicles. The total length of the Channel Tunnel is approximately 50.5 kilometers (31.4 miles), with the underwater section spanning about 37.9 kilometers (23.5 miles).
Other country having longest railway tunnel are:
- Austria: The Arlberg Tunnel – 10.25 kilometers (6.4 miles)
- Italy: Simplon Tunnel – 19.8 kilometers (12.3 miles)
- Sweden: The Hallandsås Tunnel – 8.7 kilometers (5.4 miles)
- South Korea – Yulhyeon Tunnel (50.3 km)
- France/Italy: The Mont Blanc Tunnel – 11.6 kilometers (7.2 miles)
These railway tunnels demonstrate significant engineering achievements, overcoming geographical obstacles and improving transportation efficiency in their respective regions. They play a crucial role in connecting cities, regions, and even countries, enabling faster and more convenient rail travel.