First train throught the St Gotthard tunnel, Switzerland, 1880.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from the 'Illustrated London News' (Vol 80/1 p 257). The Gotthard route, running from Northern Switzerland to the border with Italy, was a challenge to railway engineers because of its steep inclines. The most complex part was the almost ten-mile long Gotthard tunnel under the Alps. Work began in 1872 on both sides of the mountains, at Goeschenen in the North and Airolo in the South. Workers and locals here celebrate the meeting of the two bores of the tunnel in 1880. The full train service started in 1882 when the approach lines had been completed.