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  • A general view shows the northern gates (L) of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland May 31, 2016.Reuters
  • A test train stands in front of the northern gate of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland March 10, 2016.Reuters
  • Journalists stand in front of mock gates of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel inside the event hall for the upcoming opening ceremony near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland May 31, 2016.Reuters
  • Swiss police officers stand beside of mock gates of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel inside the event hall for the upcoming opening ceremony near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland May 31, 2016.Reuters
  • Journalists stand on a platform at a multifunction and emergency stop station of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel during a media visit near the town of Sedrun, Switzerland March 10, 2016.Reuters
  • Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann (R) welcomes Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern for the opening ceremony of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel, near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland June 1, 2016.Reuters
  • Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann addresses guests during the opening ceremony of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel, near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland June 1, 2016.Reuters
  • Performers dressed as miners, take part in a show during the opening ceremony of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel, near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland June 1, 2016.Reuters

Switzerland's Gotthard base tunnel, which will provide high-speed rail connectivity between Northern and Southern Europe, witnesses the maiden train journey through it on Wednesday. The tunnel, situated under the Alps, measures 57 km in length and cost $11 billion to build and the construction was completed in 17 years. 

The project has been called "a masterpiece of timing, cost and policy," the Guardian reports. 

Economic benefits of the tunnel include easier movement of goods and passengers, and increase in tourism. The rail network will be open to the public in December 2016. It would also enable 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains to pass through the two-tube tunnel every day in 17 minutes.

Through this tunnel, the journey between Zurich (in Switzerland) and Milan (a province of Italy) would take about two hours and 40 minutes, the BBC reported. 

"Today is an historic day for our country: We have completed the Gotthard Base Tunnel, an epic feat of engineering, a project that has involved generations, from the first sketches, to the planning and construction of the tunnel. I feel extremely proud, but also quite humble," Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann said.