The Lötschberg Tunnel is a 14.6 km (9.1 mi) long railway tunnel on the Lötschberg Line, which connects Spiez and Brig at the northern end of the Simplon Tunnel cutting through the Alps of Switzerland. Its ends are at the towns of Kandersteg in the Canton of Berne and Goppenstein in the Canton of Valais.
Construction began in 1906 and suffered delays by several severe accidents. In February 1908, an avalanche destroyed a hotel the workers lived in, killing 13. In July of the same year, a section of the tunnel collapsed, killing 25. The section was beyond repair, so a new tunnel had to be blasted, bypassing the site of the disaster. Breakthrough was achieved in March 1911. Regular service through the Lötschberg Tunnel began in 1913.
The tunnel is 14.6 km (9.1 mi) long single bore twin track.
The BLS AG company offers a car transport service through the tunnel, between Kandersteg station and Goppenstein station, for accompanied vehicles. The journey time of approximately 20 minutes, passengers remain in their cars in open sided car transport vehicles. At peak times, the car transport service operates in each direction every 7½ minutes.
The new Lötschberg Base Tunnel, opened on June 15, 2007, has been constructed some 400 m (1,312 ft) below the level of the current Lötschberg Tunnel as part of the NRLA (New Railway Link through the Alps) project.
- Röll, V. Freiherr von: Enzyklopädie des Eisenbahnwesens, Band 2. Berlin, Wien 1912, p. 256 on www.zeno.org/Roell-1912
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