Swiss Make Headway in Longest Tunnel

SEDRUN, Switzerland -- Swiss engineers have smashed through the last stretch of rock to create the longest tunnel in the world.

A gigantic drilling machine broke the remaining wall 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) below the imposing Piz Vatgira peak in the Gotthard massif several minutes ahead of schedule Friday afternoon.

Miners, VIPs and journalists inside the tunnel cheered as Switzerland reclaimed the tunnel record from Japan's Seikan Tunnel.

The 35.4-mile (57-kilometer) Gotthard Base Tunnel is an important milestone in the creation of a high-speed rail network connecting all corners of Europe.

It will allow millions of tons of goods currently transported through the Alps on heavy trucks to be shifted onto the rails.