Longest Tunnels in the World: 5 World’s longest tunnel

Longest Tunnels in the World

Mountain passes, glaciers and lakes for a century were a big problem for engineers. They make traveling difficult and time-consuming. Later, with the invention of tunnel shielding by Marc Isambard Brunel and Thomas Cochrane in the 19th century everything started changing. These tunnels could go underwater or inside a huge mountain and make the journey possible and comfortable in less time.


Tunnels help to bypass some of the dangerous places just like a bridge over water. In the past, they were built through manpower but with modern technology, special Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) make its construction faster and easier. With the help of such machines, countries have laid down a network of tunnels that helped in linking cities together. Such tunnels have made daily life and journey easy and comfortable. 

Today, a journey of days or months can be covered in hours. Moreover, the longest tunnels are in Europe and Asia. These tunnels are of different types such as road tunnels; tunnels for vehicles, rail tunnels; trains, railroad tunnels; for both vehicles and trains, and underwater tunnels. Following, I have given the list of tunnels to deeply study the longest tunnels in the world and categorized them based on the total length.

Biggest Tunnels You Must Know About

To give you a clear picture of the longest railroad tunnels, here I have mentioned the top 5 longest tunnels in the world.

Gotthard Base Tunnel, Switzerland - longest tunnels in the world

Gotthard Base Tunnel, Switzerland

Gotthard Base is the next one of the longest tunnels in the world and the longest tunnel in Switzerland. It’s also the deepest that penetrates the Swiss Alps. The tunnel started its service on 11 Dec 2016. It connects the town of Erstfeld in the North and Bodio in the South. 

The total length of the tunnel is 57 kilometers and has a depth of 2,300 meters. The longest train tunnel, where a train travels through the tunnel in 20 minutes with a speed of 200 km/hr. Moreover, it transfers both passengers and goods between northern and southern Europe. The tunnel has significantly reduced the travel time between Switzerland, Zurich, and Milan.


What is the main purpose of the Gotthard base tunnel?

The main purpose is to increase the transport of the goods. Specifically, to shift the transportation of goods from trucks to freight trains.

How much does it cost to cross the Gotthard tunnel?

The tunnel does not charge, but It comes on a Swiss motorway that costs 40 CHF which is valid till the end of the year.

Seikan Tunnel, Japan

The Seikan is an undersea one of the longest tunnels located in Japan. Its construction was started in 1964 and was completed in 1988 and was officially opened in March 2016 after 50-years of a long project. The tunnel is 53 kilometers long which makes it the second world’s longest tunnel with a depth of 140 meters below sea level. 

Before Gotthard, it was the longest rail tunnel in the world. The Seikan tunnel is located on Tsugaru Strait connecting the Japanese Island of Honshu to Hokkaido. It is designed for mass transit. It has successfully passed by the barrier of water and made the way clear for transit.


Is the Seikan Tunnel safe to travel to?

Yes, aside from its construction, it was dangerous and many people lost their lives. But today, after its completion, traveling through the tunnel is very safe.

Why are tunnels more preferred instead of bridges?

As compared to bridges, tunnels are easy to construct. Tunnels are used especially to preserve the beauty, shipping during construction, and also to avoid the load limits.

Channel Tunnel, United Kingdom and France

Channel tunnel is not a single tunnel but three. Two of them are for railways and the third one is for services, and security purposes. It connects Folkestone in England to Pas-de-Calais in Northern France used for both passengers and goods transport. 

The construction of the tunnel started in 1988, ended in 1994, and officially started in November 2015. It’s the third-longest tunnel with a total length of 50 kilometers (31.3 miles). It is both under and above sea level. 39 kilometers of its segment is under the sea and also becomes the longest underwater tunnel in the world leaving behind the Seikan tunnel of Japan.


How long does it take to travel through the Channel?

It takes around 35 minutes to travel through the tunnel.

Which one is the longest underwater tunnel in the world?

Channel tunnel is the longest underwater tunnel leaving behind the Seikan of Japan. 39 km of its segment is underwater.

New Guanjiao Tunnel, China

New Guanjiao is a dual railway tunnel penetrating the Guanjiao Mountain. It is a new Guanjiao tunnel on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway that was completed on June 18, 2013. The total length of the tunnel is 32 kilometers, which makes it the 4th longest train tunnel in the world. 

It is also the longest railroad tunnel in the world at a high altitude at a height of 10,800 feet above sea level. Its construction is a boost to the economy of Qinghai Province. It has also decreased the run time of the Tibet train by two hours. The track is designed for a speed of 160 kilometers per hour.


What is the total height of the tunnel above sea level?

The tunnel is about 10,800 feet high above sea level that makes it one of the biggest and longest tunnels in the world at high altitudes.

How much time will it take to cross the tunnel?

If you are traveling at a speed of 160km/hr. It will take around 12 minutes to travel through the tunnel

Guadarrama Tunnel, Spain - longest tunnels in the world

Guadarrama Tunnel, Spain

The Guadarrama Tunnel is located in Spain. Its construction was started in 2002 and was completed till 2007. It connects highly visited tourist destinations Madrid and Segovia that were separated by the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. It is the fifth-longest railroad tunnel in the world with a total length of 28 km (17miles). 

The travel distance between Madrid and Segovia before the tunnel was over an hour but with the construction of the tunnel it reduced down to thirty minutes. The total was opened for the passengers in 2007 and started providing the service of high-speed trains.


Which cities does the Guadarrama tunnel connect to?

Guadarrama tunnel connects Madrid city to Segovia. It penetrates deep into the heart of the mountain range of Guadarrama.

How much time did the Guadarrama tunnel take to construct?

The construction was started in 2002 and ended in 2007. So, it took 5 years to complete the construction of the Guadarrama tunnel.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, technology has made huge advancements. At every step, it is making the job easy for the people. Just like these tunnels that have been constructed to pass by the rough and dangerous crossing of the mountains and sea that were also time-consuming. Such a tunnel is pierced into the heart of the mountains or goes deep into the sea and makes the way possible for people. 

Above are the longest railway tunnels in the world categorized based on the longest of them. These constructions are a marvelous show of mind and technology. These tunnels are worth watching and one must have to visit all of them once in a lifetime.

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