Tribune de Genève.
The world’s longest train tunnel (57km) now has trains running through it. After spending CHF 12.2 billion over 17 years the tunnel is now open for business.
Regular passenger trains running between Zurich and Bellinzona will now get there around 30 minutes faster, in a total journey time of 1 hour and 38 minutes, according to Swiss Rail’s smartphone app.
Speaking to Tribune de Genève, Christian Vitta, Ticino’s state councilor for the economy said: “The tunnel will allow us to reposition ourselves relative to the rest of Switzerland. We hope it will bring us closer both physically and culturally.” He thinks between 700 and 1,400 new jobs may be created, adding: “It’s a chance for us to get closer to the north. We have had problems with Italy, in particular with wage dumping. I hope this will push us in a new direction.”
Analysis by the bank Credit Suisse suggests that the number of day-trips to Bellinzona could rise by 73% to 380,000. Bellinzona is the first stop after exiting the tunnel on the southern Italian-speaking side of the Alps.
North of the tunnel in Zurich, hopes stretch beyond the Swiss canton of Ticino. “Reducing the distance between Zurich and greater Milan is a great opportunity for us” said Anna Schindler, director of development for the city of Zurich. Zurich hopes that more transalpine firms will base themselves in the city. The town also hopes to attract more language students, in particular secondary school students from Ticino.