Simplon Railway Tunnel

One of the most extraordinary engineering works ever created has brought the Ossola Valley worldwide renown for decades: the Simplon Railway Tunnel, that still connects Domodossola (the entrance is in the village of Iselle, in the municipality of Trasquera) to Brig, in the Canton of Valais.

Constructed in just seven years at the turn of the 20th century, the Simplon Tunnel, which involved great difficulties and took a heavy toll on human life (106 people died during its construction and 58 of these deaths were directly related to accidents in the tunnel), was the last of the great tunnels of the era. This exceptionally complex structure, which extends for almost 20 kilometres and was the longest railway tunnel in the world for 75 years, was the result of an innovative project that required the experience and tenacity of over 3000 miners, who managed to extend it at an average daily rate of 7 metres.

Its construction involved the creation of two parallel tunnels built 17 metres apart, which are joined every 200 metres by transverse connections. This highly innovative operation enabled the miners to rapidly proceed with their work and guaranteed hygienic and sanitary conditions that were considerably better than those of previous construction sites. Despite this, the construction of the Simplon Tunnel presented many difficulties that exceeded the expectations of the technicians who designed the project, especially due to the high temperature (up to 56°C) and enormous rock pressure.
Work began in August 1898: the original project, which should have lasted five years and a half, ended up being two years delayed.
In the presence of the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III and the President of the Swiss Confederation Ludwig Forrer, the Simplon Railway Tunnel’s first tunnel was officially inaugurated on 19th May 1906.
Today, the tunnel, together with the road that links Domodossola to Briga via the Simplon Pass, offers a rapid connection between Italy and Switzerland, between Ossola Valley and the heart of Europe.

Ideal for
Couples
Families with children
Everybody
You will discover
Culture, traditions and folklore
Not-to-be-missed
History and art
Ideal for
Couples
Families with children
Everybody
You will discover
Culture, traditions and folklore
Not-to-be-missed
History and art
IAT di Domodossola
Piazza Matteotti
28845 Domodossola (VB)
See map

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