At the beginning of June, 2016, the world's longest railway tunnel will be ceremonially opened. The final preparations for the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel and for the festivities under the title of «Gottardo 2016» are in progress. On May 10, 2016, the organisers - Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT), Swiss Federal Railways and AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd (ATG) - invited to an on-site preview.
While the first setting-up work operations for the great festival are being executed, inside the Gotthard Base Tunnel final tests and completion work are taking place. AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd is on the finishing straight – on June 1, 2016, it hands over the tunnel to Swiss Federal Railways (SFR) for operation. At SFR and FOT, work for award of the operating permit is in full swing, as those involved explained at a media orientation at the north portal of the Base Tunnel today.
At the official opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel on June 1, 2016, besides the entire Federal Council, also the heads of state and government of our neighbour countries, as well as the transport ministers of the countries along the Rotterdam-Genoa freight corridor, are expected. 1,100 guests and 300 media representatives will be present when two trains, one from the north and one from the south, open the Base Tunnel. First to travel through the tunnel will be 1,000 representatives of the Swiss population. The official opening event takes place on both sides, near the two tunnel portals at Erstfeld/Rynächt and Pollegio.
On the following weekend of June 4 and 5, 2016, there will be a big public festival on four Festivities Sites around Erstfeld/Rynächt and Pollegio/Biasca. Visitors can travel through the world's longest railway tunnel in special trains. Tickets for these special trains are available at the manned ticket sales-points, or in the online SBB Ticket Shop, of Swiss Federal Railways. In addition to the train trips, many further attractions await the visitors. The SFR maintenance and intervention centres at Erstfeld and Biasca open their doors. In the "Future Mobility" pavilions there will be self-driving vehicles, robots and drones to amaze. The «Gottardo 2016» partners, as well as the two host cantons, Uri and Ticino, will also be present with attractive offerings. In addition, on June , there will be big railway-station festivals at Aarau, Biel, Berne, Geneva, Winterthur and Zurich.
At today's media orientation, Artistic Director Volker Hesse and his ensemble gave a foretaste of the artistic dramatisation that is planned for the opening festivities. A total of around 600 artists will perform. The dramatisation takes place at both ends of the Gotthard Base Tunnel and combines ancient elements of the Gotthard legend with the state-of-the-art record-breaking tunnel that brings the north and the south closer together. The main performance takes place on June 1, there will be repeat performances during the public event at the weekend.