Monday, June 14, 2010

Switzerland – Stately Simplon celebrates centenary

These maxi cards were sent to me by MGIFS. The Simplon Tunnel is an Alpine railway tunnel that connects the Swiss town of Brig with Domodossola in Italy, though its relatively straight trajectory does not run under Simplon Pass itself. It actually consists of two single-track tunnels built nearly 20 years apart. It was the longest railway tunnel in the world until the opening of the Seikan Tunnel in 1988.
Work on the first tube of the Simplon tunnel commenced in 1898. The Italian king Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and the president of the Swiss National Council Ludwig Forrer opened the tunnel at Brig on 10 May 1906. The builders of the tunnel were Hermann Häustler and Hugo von Kager and the tunnel is 19,700 meters (64,633 ft) long. Work on the second tube of the tunnel started in 1912 and it was opened in 1921; it is 19,824 meters (65,039 ft) long. The Simplon rail tunnel linking Switzerland and Italy can look back on 100 years as a vital artery of the railways, with next year signalling a busy future ahead. Officially inaugurated on May 19, 1906, it was for many years the longest in the world but it has never caught the spotlight as much as another major alpine tunnel – the Gotthard.

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