As many as 16,000 people participated in a lottery to travel by train through the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel. And a 1,000 lucky ones got to be the first to go through the new 57-kilometre Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) in Switzerland on Jan 14, 2017, when it was formally opened to the public.
The GBT's depth is a maximum of 2,300 metres and it goes under the Swiss Alps. This pioneering project took 17 years and cost 11 billion Euros (Rs 789 billion).
The new tunnel, which goes through the Saint Gotthard Massif, reduces the time taken to travel between Geneva and Zurich by about 40 minutes. The 270-odd km ride between the two cities usually takes four hours. When another tunnel, the 15-km-long Ceneri Base Tunnel, opens in late 2020 it will shave up to an hour off the Geneva-Zurich trip.