TIME: Switzerland Celebrates World’s Longest Railroad Tunnel


Successful Breakthrough: Federal Councillor Leuenberger Congratulates. Image via AlpTransit.

Pride and euphoria swept through Switzerland last week when a gargantuan drilling machine emerged through the rocks deep under the Alps to join the two ends of the world’s longest railroad tunnel. The 35-mile (57 km) Gotthard Base Tunnel is an extraordinary engineering achievement: over 12 years, 2,600 workers battled dust, noise and heat beneath up to 1.5 miles of mountain to remove 23 million tons of rock — the equivalent of moving five Grand Pyramids of Cheops. When the $12 billion project is completed in 2017, a high-speed rail link will run through the mountain base, slashing journey times across the Alps by an hour.

But the tunnel is more than just a monument to human ingenuity. It is a response to the environmental and logistical problems of our time. By creating super-fast rail links through mountains, Switzerland and the rest of Europe hope to boost trade and travel while cutting emissions and congestion. (See pictures of the tunnel.)

via Switzerland Celebrates World’s Longest Railroad Tunnel – TIME.

This is way to cool not to mention here or anywhere. I cannot wait to sit down with my boys to see the documentaries on this project…

Okay, how does this relate in any way to a blog that primarily concerns itself with the issues of faith? Well, it was God who gifted man with the will and intellect to overcome such obstacles through the identification of mutual needs and the ability to create the machinery necessary for such a task.

Man’s inventiveness is an intangible beauty that often manifests itself in tangible ways; in this case a massive drill used to burrow into the heart of the Alps. This is one of the many proofs for the existence of God. The machine, the plan and the teamwork are all evidence that reflects the Light of the Lord in us.

Although we did not create anything truly new, we exercised our rightful dominion over the earth and addressed a need in that region. I might even venture to equate this type of human accomplishment with our landing on the moon or continual exploration of the depths of the oceans.

The Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes (Latin: “Joy and Hope”) (the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) states the following concerning the Dignity of the Intellect, of Truth, and of Wisdom:

Man judges rightly that by his intellect he surpasses the material universe, for he shares in the light of the divine mind. By relentlessly employing his talents through the ages he has indeed made progress in the practical sciences and in technology and the liberal arts. In our times he has won superlative victories, especially in his probing of the material world and in subjecting it to himself. Still he has always searched for more penetrating truths, and finds them. For his intelligence is not confined to observable data alone, but can with genuine certitude attain to reality itself as knowable, though in consequence of sin that certitude is partly obscured and weakened.

The intellectual nature of the human person is perfected by wisdom and needs to be, for wisdom gently attracts the mind of man to a quest and a love for what is true and good. Steeped in wisdom. man passes through visible realities to those which are unseen.

Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser men are forthcoming. It should also be pointed out that many nations, poorer in economic goods, are quite rich in wisdom and can offer noteworthy advantages to others.

It is, finally, through the gift of the Holy Spirit that man comes by faith to the contemplation and appreciation of the divine plan (8: Cf. Sirach 17,7-8).


The verse cited in the quoted document above tells us:

[7] He filled them with knowledge and understanding, and showed them good and evil.
[8] He set his eye upon their hearts to show them the majesty of his works.  (Sirach (RSV) 17)


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