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Railway Tunnels The World's longest tunnels Subaqueous tunnels Rack-Rail tunnels Old tunnels History for Kids
  Mike's Railway History (A look at Railways until the mid 1930's)
This site will take you back in time, to an age where only the rich could own a car or fly. The train was the only way many people could travel. Here you will find facts and stories about railways, trains, locomotives and the railway engineers, who built and ran them.
Mike's World-Wide Railway Links
One of the most comprehensive directories of railway related sites on the internet
  Railroad links directory and search engine
Featuring links to over 4,000 railroad websites. Features include a search engine, list of popular sites, user ratings and more.
  Railroad news and information site
Featuring a large links directory, railroad photo gallery, press release and railroad news listings and a Microsoft Train Simulator add-on files library.
  TrainNet's International Railway Links
Grand tunnels alpins Mont-Cenis, St. Gotthard, Arlberg, Simplon
Ces tâches n'ont pu être menées à bien que grâce à des innovations techniques dans le domaine des explosifs (dynamite) et à l'invention des perforatrices à air comprimé, puis électriques, qui permirent de limiter les dépenses dans l'excavation de tunnels longs de plusieurs kilomètres.
Austria History of the building of the Semmering-Railway, 1848-1854
The Semmering-Railway held the worldwide highest attainable place for public railways until 1860 (max. altitude in 898 m above sea-level). First in the history of railway a technical sophisticated railway-route was buildt across an alpine pass.
Canada Mount Royal Tunnel
At the beginning of this century, the company acquired a train service network between Quebec City and Hawkesbury. In 1912, in order to reduce travel time between the two cities, Canadian Northern drilled a 5.2 km tunnel through the volcanic rock of Mount Royal.
Exploring the Mount-Royal Tunnel ventilation shaft
Article with pictures from the tunnel
In 1913 construction started on the longest railway tunnel in Canada. When completed it eliminated 16 kilometres of some of the most hazardous railway line in the world. Operation of the eight-kilometer Connaught Tunnel commended on December 13, 1916. Rogers Pass was abandoned.
Canada - USA The first St. Clair Tunnel was opened in 1891. One hundred years later it remains an engineering wonder. Running under the St. Clair River, which joins Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair, the single bore tunnel provided a link between Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and Port Huron, Michigan, USA.
Denmark Storebælt (The Great Belt fixed link), 1997
The three crossings being built straddle an 18 km-wide waterway, and their drastic effect on the region's communications is illustrated by the fact that a crossing which formerly had to be undertaken by water, and took one hour, can now be achieved in just seven minutes.
England The Box Tunnel, 1841
Box tunnel was started in 1836 and took round about five years to be built. It is a railway tunnel that goes under the hill between Box and Corsham. At 2939 metres, it was the longest tunnel in the world at that time. It was so long that some people were too scared to go through it, so they had to be transported over the hill by carriage.
England - Wales The Great Western Archive: The Severn Railway Tunnel, 1873 - 1886 (10 Chapters)
On the 1st of September 1886, the tunnel was opened for goods traffic. Nearly fourteen years from the time that the Great Western commenced the works, the Severn Tunnel was opened to passengers on the 1st of December 1886.
The Story of the Severn tunnel
France The Lesseux - Sainte Marie line, 1937
The Lesseux - Sainte-Marie link passes through a base tunnel which is 6874 m long and therefore was the longest tunnel entirely situated on French territory. The Lesseux-Sainte Marie line was opened in 1937, allowing for Nancy-Colmar direct trains.
Japan The Seikan Tunnel, Tsugaru Strait, 1988
The Seikan Tunnel is the world's longest submarine tunnel, involving excavation 100 meters below the seabed across a strait where the sea is up to 140 meters in depth. Plans, length profile..
Public outcry after a 1954 typhoon sank five ferry boats and killed 1,430 people in the Tsugaru Strait led the Japanese government to search for a safer way to make the crossing. Work on the Seikan began in 1964.
Shimizu tunnel, 1982
The Joetsu Shinkansen was laid to link the Pacific with the Japan Sea sides of Honshu, the main island of Japan, across the mid part of the island. Construction was started in December 1971 and completed in 1982, with bullet trains covering the distance between Omiya and Niigata (303.6 km) in one hour and 45 minutes. The Shimizu Tunnel, linking Niigata and Gunma prefectures, is the world's longest mountain tunnel, boasting a length of 22.3 km.
New Zealand The seven longest and the two shortest railway tunnels
The longest tunnel in New Zealand, and indeed the longest in the southern hemisphere, is the 8879 m long Kaimai tunnel at Apata on the East Coast Main Trunk Line.
The Lyttelton tunnel, 1860 - 1867
It was New Zealand's first rail tunnel, and for many years the longest. It was the first tunnel in the world to be driven through the side of an extinct volcano.
Norway The Norwegian Railway Network
The longest tunnels:
1. Romeriksporten, Gardermo line (Oslo - Lørenskog): 13 900 meters, opened 1998
2. Lieråsen, Drammen line (Asker - Lier): 10 723 meters, opened 1973
3. Finse, Bergen line: 10 300 meters, opened 1993
4. Kvineshei, Sørland line: 9 065 meters, opened 1943
5. Hægebostad, Sørland line: 8 474 meters, opened 1943
The Flåm Line (20 tunnels), 1941
This line is just a master piece of engineering. The train journey from Myrdal to Flåm is a railway experience unparalleled in Europe; 20 km long with a descent of 865 m, 20 tunnels with a total length of almost 6000 m and a gradient of one to 18. To cope with the enormous change in height over such a short stretch, the line runs partly through tunnels which spiral in and out of the mountainside. The gradient is quite exceptional for an ordinary normal-gauge railway not using cog wheels.
Russia The Trans-Siberian Railway
The longest tunnel on the Transsib: under Amur, is parallel to the bridge (about 6 km). The longest tunnel on a main route of the Transsib - Tarmanchukan tunnel, near Arkhara station (about 3 km).
Switzerland The Simplon Tunnel - Greatest Tunnel in the World, 1905
Modern History Sourcebook:
Francis Fox: How the Swiss Built the Greatest Tunnel in the World, 1905
There was no question that a tunnel through the Simplon would be a great advantage; but could it be made?
Rhätische Bahn
Topics: Rhaetian Railway Network Rolling Stock History and Operations Photographic Reports Miscellaneous Information about the RhB
Information about Swiss narrow gauge railways
Switzerland's rail network is one of the world's most densely concentrated rail systems. Due to the extremely mountainous terrain, railway engineers opted for the more economical narrow gauge construction; the distance between the rails is less than the standard 1435 mm. Because of this large variety of design and purpose, detailed descriptions of many of them will be found on this website.
USA The Hoosac Tunnel, on the Boston & Maine RR, 1874
The Hoosac Tunnel lies in Northwestern Massachusetts, and runs 4.82 miles under the Berkshire Mountain range. It is one of the great engineering feats of the 19th century, and took 22 years to complete.
The Cascade Tunnel, Great Northern Railway, 1929
One of the most amazing engineering feats of the 1920's was carried out on the system of the Great Northern Railway of America when a new tunnel was driven through the giant Cascade range from Scenic to Berne. Just on eight miles were completed within three years.
The westbound Oriental Limited was GN's first train to pass through its completed Cascade Tunnel, on January 12, 1929. A tunnel 7.79 miles long in the Cascade mountain range of Washington, was at that time it was built this hemisphere's longest bore. The Great Northern built it between 1925 and 1929 to replace a shorter, less efficient tunnel at a higher altitude, just outside which a snow slide had hurled a passenger train and other railroad property into a ravine, killing at least 101 people.
The Chicago Tunnel Company Railroad Home Page
This website tells the story about a 60-mile, two-foot gauge electric railroad that operated 149 locomotives and over 3000 freight cars in small tunnels forty feet below the streets of downtown Chicago.
The BART's tunnels and tubes
San Francisco was very congested. They needed a different mode of transportation to get people in there and BART, more specifically the tube, was its salvation. Construction began in 1965 with plans to build 57 sections of tube shells measuring nearly 48 feet wide, 24 feet high and about 330 feet long.
Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel - Whittier Tunnel, June 7, 2000
The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is located on the Portage Glacier Highway, and this highway connects the city of Whittier and Prince William Sound to the Seward Highway and the rest of Southcentral Alaska. The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is a landmark effort that boasts several "firsts": The longest highway tunnel in North America. The longest combined rail-highway use tunnel in North America.....
A unique tunnel design transforms a 1940s-era railroad tunnel into a 21st-century road and railroad tunnel. For the first time this summer, automobiles and trains will be able to travel through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to Whittier. Thanks to a unique design, the tunnel will allow a single lane of automobile traffic to drive directly over the railroad track - a design that saved tens of millions of dollars over the cost of constructing a new tunnel for vehicles.
The History of the Transcontinental Railroad
Historic articles about the First Transcontinental Railway. Information about trains and historic maps


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This page was last modified on October 25, 2012