The Gottardo, or Gotthard Base Tunnel, opened on June 1, 2016 as the world’s longest railway tunnel as part of the AlpTransit project. The AlpTransit project under which the Gotthard Base Tunnel was constructed, gained majority approval of Swiss citizens during a 1992 vote, and construction began in earnest in 1996. The Gotthard Base Tunnel was built to help increase transport along a north-south path through the Alps that is considered one of most important routes through the mountain range. It took 14 years for workers to drill the 35.47-mile path through the Alps, making the Gotthard Base Tunnel some four miles longer than the Chunnel rail tunnel that takes passengers beneath the English Channel between Folkestone, England, and Coquelles, France.
Not only is the Gotthard Base Tunnel the longest railroad tunnel anywhere on the globe, but it is also the first flat route through the Alps or any other mountain range in the world. It is also the deepest railway route anywhere, with a maximum depth of 7,500 feet. Without ventilation, temperatures inside the tunnel can climb to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Interestingly, the climates at either end of the tunnel differ from one another, and the air temperature is often five to 10 degrees higher on the south side of the portal as compared to the north. 17,400,000 cubic yards of rock were excavated in the $12.5 billion (USD) project.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel isn’t the only such local viaduct through the Alps, The predecessor 9.5-mile Gotthard rail tunnel opened on May 22, 1882 and the 10.5-mile Gotthard Road Tunnel opened in September 5, 1980.
The obverse of the Gottardo Base Tunnel silver 20-franc coin shows the sleek opening portal in Erstfeld, Switzerland, at the north end of the Gotthard Base Tunnel at three-quarters angle on the left side of the coin. On the right, a Gotthard express train, capable of traveling at speeds of up to 155.3 miles per hour, is seen facing forward, parallel to the tunnel opening and toward the viewer. The Swiss Alps rise mightily in the background. On the bottom of right two-thirds of the coin near the lower-right rim is a rectangular inset within which are found the inscriptions GOTTARDO and the coin’s date, 2016, in two lines of text; a vertical line stands just to the left of the date.
Atop the design in a vertical orientation from top to bottom are the characters S<N, which signify the tunnel’s apparent orientation on the obverse, which looks from north to south; southern portal of the tunnel, unseen on the coin, is located in Bodio, Switzerland. Inscribed within the Alp scene near the rim at the two o’clock position is F. TRÜMPI, which refers to the coin’s designer, Fredy Trümpi.
The clean-looking reverse design mainly showcases inscriptions, including two lines or arcing text with Switzerland’s official name, CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA, staggered in appearance across both lines of curved text near the upper three-quarters of the rim. The coin’s year of issue, 2016, sits in the outer arc of text near the four o’clock position along the rim. A large 20, referencing the coin’s denomination in Francs, is located on the center bottom of the coin, above the coin’s tiny B mintmark (Bern).
At the center base of the reverse is FR, which refers to the coin’s 20-franc denomination. The nation’s iconic cross symbol is located near the upper center of the coin just below the “H” in HELVETICA.
The smooth edge of the coin features the Latin inscription DOMINUS PROVIDEBIT (“The Lord will provide”).
Designer(s): Fredy Trümpi is a Swiss graphic designer. His experience includes advertising and design for several internationally-active Swiss corporations and the design of 14 postage stamps for the Swiss Post. He is the owner and operator of design agency Trümpi & Partner AG since 1988.
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|Mint Mark:||B (Bern)|
|Mintage:||30,000 (Uncirculated), 5,000 (Proof)|
|Edge:||Smooth / Inscribed|
|OBV Designer||Fredy Trümpi|
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