The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a further milestone in the long and colorful story of the Gotthard that began with mail coaches

1830 – THE FIRST MAIL COACHES

When the new road was opened in 1830, a through coach ran between Flüelen and Chiasso three times a week. One-horse carriages with two or three seats were used. The great period of the Gotthard mail did not begin until 1842 when a five-horse, ten-seater coach ran daily in both directions. The trip from Como to Flüelen took precisely 23 hours.

1882 – OPENING OF THE GOTTHARD RAILWAY

The 15 kilometre summit tunnel on the Gotthard railway was the longest tunnel in the world. Mail actually began to be sent through the tunnel in 1881 when only the structural work was completed. The difficult and dangerous journeys over the mountain pass then became a thing of the past.

1918 – ELECTRIFICATION OF THE RAIL TUNNEL

On 16th February 1916 the Board of SBB Group (The Swiss National Railway Company) decided to electrify the Gotthard railway from Erstfeld to Bellinzona. The major problem of obtaining supplies of coal during the First World War brought pressure to complete the plans quickly. Electric locomotives are also much more efficient than steam ones, resulting in a faster journey time. This electrification began according to plan in 1918 and the full Erstfeld to Biasca section was opened on 12 December 1920.

1922 – FIRST CROSSING OF THE PASS BY MAIL VAN

The first car is said to have travelled through the Gotthard pass in 1895. The last horse-drawn mail coach crossed the Gotthard in 1921. The following year saw the arrival of the Car alpin; the first mail van operation had begun.

1980 – OPENING OF THE ROAD TUNNEL

The next Gotthard record belongs to the 16.9 kilometre road tunnel, inaugurated in 1980 and for many years the longest in the world. There was then a fast, year-round link for mail and traffic between Uri and Ticino.

2016 – OPENING OF THE GOTTHARD BASE TUNNEL

The new hundred year structure on the Gotthard: Thanks to the base tunnel, future high-speed trains will race through the alpine massif at up to 250 kilometres per hour, although the tunnel has been built mainly for freight trains. Up to five of these per hour are planned in each direction. They will run daily between Härkingen and Cadenazzo, reducing the journey time by more than 45 minutes.