Loetschberg, Valais, Switzerland (TSR, Fre) – The Loetschberg train tunnel opens officially Friday after eight years of work. The new tunnel creates an opening between the north and south sides of the Alps to the north of the Rhone River. The official ceremonies Friday are followed Saturday by the public opening and seven months of testing before the new CFF train company schedule goes into effect 9 December 2007. During that time some 10,000 trains, first merchandise and later passenger, will use the tunnel.
Trains using the tunnel will travel at 200 kph and will cut an hour from journeys crossing the Alps. Basel to Milan, for example, will take four hours by train.