The Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland will be closed for passenger trains in the coming months. The world’s longest rail tunnel needs to be cleaned up and repaired after a freight train derailed.

Last week, a freight train with sixteen wagons derailed in the tunnel. Those wagons are still stranded at the same spot a week later.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is 57 kilometers long, making it the world’s longest tunnel through which trains travel. It crosses the Gotthard Massif in the Swiss Alps.

No one was injured in the accident, but there is significant damage to the tracks and the tunnel itself. Around 8 kilometers of tracks and 20,000 concrete plates need to be replaced. The Swiss rail authority cannot provide an exact timeline for when the tunnel can be fully reopened. It might only be possible by early 2024.

Starting next week, a portion of the tunnel will be usable again, but only for freight trains. It’s still considered too unsafe for passenger trains. All the work needs to be completed before passenger train operations can resume.

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